February 1, 2017 by Presbyterian Foundation
Ideas to Improve Annual Stewardship Campaigns
From engaging leaders and members and planning and structuring your campaign to effective asking techniques, the Lewis Center for Church Leadership offers 50 ways to improve your annual stewardship campaign. Read the article.
A Memorial and Life-Giving Ministry
The American Memorial Church in Chateau-Thierry, France is a living memorial to those who sacrificed it all in World War I, and a place that meets all kinds of human needs for its active and vibrant family of faith. Read More or Watch the Video.
The American Memorial Church in Chateau-Thierry, France, is a living memorial to those who died fighting for freedom in World War I, and is home to a thriving community of faith today. As we approach the WWI Centennial commemorations, the church seeks to restore, preserve, and upgrade its facilities for future witness and ministry.
A living memorial is a rare and special thing. The American Memorial Church in Chateau-Thierry, France, is just that. It is a beautiful edifice of stone and glass built in memory of the US soldiers and marines who were killed in the area in World War One. Yet it is also the home of an active congregation, a place where families have gathered for weekly worship since it’s opening in 1924; where the community joins for concerts and lectures; where all kinds of human needs are met; where the hurting find new life.
Stewardship Kaleidoscope 2017 is in September
This annual event offers workshops, networking opportunities and worship experiences to help ignite generosity and help participants explore the colorful dimensions of stewardship. Read more.
Myths About Millennials and Giving
BY CHRIS WILLARD WITH WARREN BIRD
I hear lots of conversations among U.S. church leaders who are trying to unlock the mystery of how to reach and mobilize Millennials (the group of people born roughly 1981 to 1997). When it comes to empowering the financial giving and generosity of Millennials, the conversation gets even more intense.
What are the keys to leading this passionate, cause-driven generation to open their wallets to greater kingdom potential?
I discussed this recently with Julie Bullock, a generosity coach with Generis. Julie blew up some misguided thinking about Millennials and giving. She also suggests how pastors can reverse those trending thoughts in the church.
MYTH #1: MILLENNIALS WILL GIVE ONLY TO DESIGNATED CAUSES
In her work with church leaders, Julie shares that it’s a mistake to think Millennials will give only to social causes and not to church-based initiatives. They currently may behave this way, but that is merely because they have not been led by church leaders to do otherwise.
“A lot of non-church organizations have done a fantastic job casting a vision that will engage Millennials and their giving,” Julie says. “The local church has taken more of an assumptive approach, however, assuming that they will give just because the generations before them did.” This doesn’t play out well, she shares, as Millennials have not been taught about the discipleship aspect of giving in the way their parents once were.
Julie says it’s important not to just “throw a few little social justice causes” into church campaigns or try to generate giving with occasional directed giving causes just to engage Millennials. It’s our role as church leaders to educate, inspire, engage and disciple Millennials to give as a “gospel response”—a response to what Jesus has done for us.
“It’s our role as the local church to disciple this generation in giving as part of them following Christ,” Julie says.
MYTH #2: A GREAT DIGITAL PLATFORM IS THE ONLY WAY TO ENGAGE MILLENNIALS
There are some fantastic online giving providers, and that space continues to grow. But we need to remember, these are just tools. A digital giving strategy in itself is not the key to engaging Millennials.
In fact, Julie tells me new research in church-based giving says most first-time gifts from young people are coming from cash. This sounds old-school, but using traditional envelopes works because cash is an entry point for this age group. They seek to be non-committal and unknown in the early stages of their giving to a church.
“You have to be pretty dialed in to the church to commit to basically a subscription-based deal online,” Julie says. “If that’s supposed to be my first step, I’m not sure I’m going to do that for a while.”
Julie adds that Millennials may toss in cash when the offering plate or basket comes around. However, without making an envelope available for them to write their name on, a church won’t be able to contact them with first-time giver communication and other touches.
“For those who do give digitally, we have to be sure we are still engaging them meaningfully to reinforce and grow their giving,” says Julie.
MYTH #3: MILLENNIALS DON’T GIVE BIG
Maybe it’s because of an age assumption or because we feel that Millennials are giving elsewhere, but Julie shares we tend to expect less from them financially — and we reap the results.
“It’s just like a child,” she says. “You don’t tell them they can’t do something; you tell them they can — and then they just might live up to that.”
So Julie says to engage Millennials just like we would older givers when we launch a campaign. Don’t leave those emerging givers on the sidelines because of low numeric expectations you might have for their giving.
“They might be your rising stars, your rising leaders,” Julie adds. “They need to be discipled so much more desperately than you even know. Believe big in your Millennials, and see what the Lord might do.”
Generosity Strategies and Tactics is an ongoing series brought to you by Leadership Network thanks to a grant from the Lilly Endowment. To learn more go to www.leadnet.org (http://www.leadnet.org/).
Contact a Ministry Relations Officer for assistance with stewardship in your congregation.