August 1, 2017 by Presbyterian Foundation
Providing Stewardship Resources to Shape Your Generosity Program
Everyone has heard the saying, “If you only have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” Many a venture has been ruined for lack of the right tools. One of the joys of being a Ministry Relations Officer is the opportunity to visit so many churches to learn what they are doing, what they have tried, and what they long to do. With every visit, I gain more tools for my toolbox and hopefully leave a few new tools behind.
I’ve read books and articles that promote a single program, often ‘guaranteed’ to increase giving in the church. No doubt each of them has merit and success in many churches. But I’ve learned that there is no silver bullet; there is no single program that will fit every church and its unique culture. Further, what worked for several years may not work this year. Pastors and church leaders need to develop a toolbox of options. The Presbyterian Foundation website features a collection of stewardship tools and resources, and the Ministry Relations Officer in your region is always ready to meet with you as well. Both have many great ideas and can help you shape a generosity program for your church.
As you approach the beginning of a new program year, many churches are thinking of the annual campaign, which in so many cases focuses on meeting next year’s budget. Others may be thinking about a capital campaign, or a smaller (but major) gift project, or longer term, about legacy gifts and planned giving. Each of these campaigns will benefit from having a full toolbox and some specialized tools.
That said, there are some basic tools that will serve you throughout, and resources available online:
- Stewardship is not just about money, nor is it just about the annual budget. Christian generosity fits in every liturgical season. Preaching about our use of the resources entrusted to us by God is a year-round responsibility and opportunity. [Sermon CDs, videos]
- Your members want to know how their gifts make a difference in people’s lives. Don’t assume your members know this. Tell stories and numbers, explain what happens in the missions you support. [Narrative budget, Minutes for Mission, videos]
- Different people support different projects for different reasons. Age, race and ethnicity, region and occupation make a difference. Non-givers have excused themselves from previous requests. A universal letter will not motivate all recipients. [Generational giving, Stewardship Newsletter, Online Giving, MRO]
- EVERY gift should be acknowledged with gratitude. We all learned to write thank you notes as children. Dust off those notecards and do it!
Register by September 1
Explore the many colorful dimensions of stewardship at the 2017 Stewardship Kaleidoscope. If you are a pastor, church leader, presbytery staff or someone who dreams of cultivating generosity in life and ministry, make plans to attend – September 25-27 – in St. Pete Beach, Florida.
Caring for God’s creation
The Presbyterian Foundation joins countless Christians seeking to care for God’s creation. Through practices of impact investing, corporate engagement, and use of positive and negative screens, the Foundation seeks to manage all aspects of the funds entrusted to us in accordance with God’s call for faithful stewardship. See how the Foundation’s approach to environmental stewardship shows how investments can be used for good.
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