2 (Free) Things Your Stewardship Drive Must Do

2 (Free) Things Your Stewardship Drive Must Do

2 Puppies (yep). Image courtesy of RealMichael @ flickr.com
CC BY-SA 2.0

I refuse to believe it. Summer is almost over. But I guess I know it’s true because there is nothing, I mean nothing to watch on TV. The Republican and Democratic National Conventions are over and so is the international-athletic-event-that-happens-once-every-four-years (three more days and I can use the “O” word in print again).
I mean just last night I was watching reruns of “House Hunters International.” That’s how bad it is. 421 channels (we do not have expanded cable, pity us) and I’m watching HGTV reruns. I know you’re thinking, “Cesie, just start a Go-Fund Me campaign so you can get HBO.” Great idea! I just might.
However, all is not lost. Last night I also – for the third time – watched the most-awesomely-named Rev. Dr. William James Barber II’s fabulous sermon from the Democratic National Convention. Watching Rev. Barber is like drinking three Red Bulls simultaneously. After spending ten minutes with him you will be ready to go out and change the world. Really. Preach it, Brother Barber!

The closing of summer also means one more thing: it’s time to plan your stewardship campaign. Lord knows there are lots of resources to choose from – all laid out with step-by-step instructions on how to have a successful drive. There are the old standards like New Consecration Sunday or newer campaigns by Adam Hamilton or Mike Slaughter or even the newest one, Tom Berlin’s, Defying Gravity. These all-in-one campaigns can help you shape your message and (perhaps) make your job easier by providing templates and suggestions to get more people to participate in giving.
However, from my years of working with non-profits and stewardship campaigns, there are two things you must do to have a successful stewardship campaign and…it won't cost you a dime:
1.  Look Behind: People want to know the good their money did in the past year. What did you accomplish? Hopefully throughout the year you have been celebrating all the ways God has been using you and your ministries. Now is the time to add it all up and let people know, “We have been good stewards of the money you gave to us in faith last year.” Let your congregation know that they have made a difference – and let them know how they made a difference.
2.  Look Forward: People want to know what your goals are for the next year. What three things do you hope your congregation will accomplish? Hint: your goals should not be “To keep the doors open,” or to “Pay salaries,” or to “Keep the heat on.” Go watch Rev. Barber (again) if you want to be inspired as to what a preferred future looks like. For example, your goals could be “Make our building warm and wonderful to the 23 groups that use it,” or “Welcome 15 new disciples into the life of our congregation,” or “Partner and be in ministry with two new community non-profits.” Your goals will take some work but they may not necessarily cost more money to accomplish.
By looking behind and looking forward, individuals might feel called through faith (as Jesus nudges them) to actively support your church’s stewardship campaign. You will feel pretty good too as you celebrate your previous wins and look forward to the ones yet to come. And maybe, it’ll keep you from watching HGTV reruns. Lucky you.
Bonus Video: Here’s a way one coach from Bend, OR talked to his struggling pitcher (who just happened to be his son) during the recent Little League World Series. If only everyone could experience this kind of compassion.
And, here’s one more example of a thank you letter written by a non-profit. Once again, you can adapt it for your church or organization pretty easily.
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over $2.5 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. It’s a sad state of affairs, but she is happy to watch reruns of “Property Brothers.” She was the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.