This Month in Stewardship: August
July 8, 2019 by Robyn Davis Sekula
If your church has a fall stewardship emphasis, August is a critically important time. This is the month to make sure all is in place. By taking time for a stewardship “inventory” in August, you’ll be ready to move forward in September with a theologically sound, well-organized plan.
Here are the elements to pull together in August:
- Your stewardship and generosity team
- Theme, including relevant scripture
- Any materials, pledge cards, or stories that support and celebrate stewardship at your church
- A meeting schedule that should increase in frequency as pledge Sunday approaches
- A goal for the amount that is needed
- A goal for the number of people (or percentage) you would like to see complete a pledge card
I’ve placed these in order of importance but also keeping in mind what’s realistic. Your church may not prepare a budget this far ahead; in fact, I think it would be rare for a church to have a budget prepared and ready by the end of July. But everything else on this list can be done in August to prepare. You do not need to know the amount the church decides is needed to complete God’s mission in 2020 to put all of the other pieces of the stewardship plan together. The theology is largely the same, whether you are a church of thousands or a church of dozens.
We’ve covered the specifics of many of these items in past “This Month in Stewardship Columns,” so I’ve linked to more in-depth articles on those topics above. If you’d like to dive deeper on any one of those, the information is there for you.
August may seem early to you, especially if you’re a procrastinator, which I confess I definitely can be when I’m working on volunteer tasks. And for many in our churches, leading stewardship is very much a volunteer activity with staff support. God bless each and every one of you for hearing this important call and being willing to serve.
The key for me personally to getting stewardship tasks done was to calendar it in whatever chunks of time I have available. If you are a working parent, like me, I had to set aside later evening hours. This means I was on my laptop after 9 p.m. sometimes sending emails and writing bulletin announcements. I would also schedule an early morning coffee or lunch with someone I need to connect with, which is particularly helpful if you’re recruiting volunteers for your stewardship team. Pull in as many members of your stewardship team as you can to help you check off the lists of activities and get everything ready for the fall season.
Most importantly, ensure that your pastor is involved and contributing to this process. You will want sound theology to guide your stewardship program, and this is the person to provide that guidance. Your pastor should be willing to preach on stewardship from the pulpit, and being part of the entire process helps the stewardship team and pastor form a cohesive and spiritually lead effort.
What are your church’s struggles with stewardship? How can we help? I welcome your thoughts and questions. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (502) 569-5101.
Robyn Davis Sekula is Vice President of Communications and Marketing at the Presbyterian Foundation. She is a ruling elder in the PC(USA) and member of Highland Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Ky.