This month in Stewardship: August
July 10, 2018 by Robyn Davis Sekula
In June’s column, we touched on selecting a theme and other activities that need to be completed ahead of the stewardship campaign for your church.
This month, we’re expanding on one part of that post: capturing and telling stories of how your church changes lives. We wrote:
A better way to start the conversation is to discuss as a group what your church means to each person in the room. At its heart, what does your church do? How does it help members? How does your church serve its community? Your stewardship campaign should be a celebration of what is wonderful about your church. You want to invite people to join you in supporting an organization that is a key part of the community.
How do you share those stories of all of the ways your church exemplifies Christ? There are many options, but one of the most important ways is to have them share from the pulpit. Plan for Minutes for Mission year-round, perhaps once a month, that are simply sharing stories from the heart. During your stewardship drive, have an individual, couple or family share their story from the pulpit each week.
The key to a great story is emotion but also spiritual and community impact. When inviting people to share their stories, think through who may connect with different audiences within your congregation.
Here are some examples of people who may have great stories of impact to share.
- Youth who have attended a great camp or experienced the love of Christ through their youth pastor, confirmation classes or fellow youth.
- Seniors who feel the love and care of the congregation extended to them through meal delivery following a hospitalization.
- Families whose children are learning about generosity and Biblical teachings through Sunday School classes.
- A choir member who worships God through song each week.
- A young adult who found the church during their college years and has a life-giving story to share.
How you can share these stories
If your church has more than one service, the minute for mission should be given at both. For a typical stewardship campaign season, four or five consecutive Sundays building up to pledge commitment Sunday should have a Minute for Mission that is stewardship focused.
Beyond a presentation from the pulpit, the central message can be summarized and placed in the bulletin for each week.
This week’s Minute for Mission is from Barbara Smith. Barbara has been a member of our congregation for 30 years, and presently participates in Presbyterian Women and sings in the choir. Barbara is grateful for the nurturing relationship her two sons had in the congregation. Both have now graduated from college. “I support First Pres because it has been home to me for the past three decades, and it always has been an essential part of my spiritual life. I love the way the church reaches out into the community and am grateful for our refugee ministry.” You can join Barbara in supporting First Pres with your pledge. Pledge cards are available in pew racks or you may e-mail the church administrator at (email address).
Snap a photo of Barbara, and use that same text, summarized, for a Facebook post. Shorten it a little bit more and post it on Twitter. If your church has a blog, and Barbara prepared any written remarks, you can post that text on your church blog, and link to it from your church website.
If your church has the ability to create a short video, ask Barbara if she would be willing to be videotaped giving a short version of her presentation. You can add that to YouTube and share in other forms of social media.
If your church’s stewardship program has a fall emphasis, you need to begin the process of lining up presenters for Minutes for Mission now. Minutes for Mission are the public face of your plan, and it can take time to find the right people who feel called to publicly speak about their experiences with the church. Not everyone loves public speaking, and you may get a “no” from someone who surprises you. You will also need to work on schedules with those presenting, and that takes time. Working on this aspect of the campaign now is crucial to helping your congregation understand how they can support the work of God in the world, alive through your church!