This Month in Stewardship: January

December 13, 2018 by Robyn Davis Sekula

How did your year in stewardship conclude?

Chances are, you haven’t had much of a break since Christmas to really consider it. The last half of December is usually among the busiest of the entire year, as church activities and personal activities take all of the energy and time that we have.

After you’ve caught your breath, January is a good time to bring your team together and take a look back at 2018 and forward to 2019. If you didn’t make follow up calls to those who did not pledge for 2019, you can still do that, and it is advisable to do so. You can read the piece we published last month for tips and thoughts on what to say when you make those calls.

This is a good time to review 2018 and ask some questions. Evaluate these with your entire stewardship and generosity team:

  • Did your congregation meet its stewardship goal?
  • Was the timing for pledge Sunday appropriate? Should it be adjusted?
  • What printed materials were used for stewardship in 2018? Do they need updating?
  • Are there populations within the church that were not involved in stewardship that could be invited to participate in 2019? Think of children and youth, for example. You may also find that if your church has two services, one service doesn’t seem to have very many people who are regularly contributing to the church. Why is that?
  • Did your pastor speak about stewardship in sermons and provide theological grounding for stewardship and generosity?

Most congregations have a fall stewardship emphasis, so evaluating your stewardship program well ahead of that time frame is ideal. The earlier in the year you evaluate your church’s giving and generosity, the better. You can adjust your timeline, materials, emphasis and make better plans for 2019.

Adding online giving

One change you can make right now is to add online giving as an option for your congregation if you do not have it already. The Presbyterian Foundation offers a very easy way to get set up with online giving through our Online Giving Funds. Your church treasurer, business administrator, pastor or whomever has access to financial information fills out some paperwork, and we will take care of the rest. You only need to add a “donate now” button to your website and it will link through to our payment processor. There is no setup fee.

Keep in mind you are adding online giving as an option; it won’t replace any other ways that people give. It simply allows people to give any time they’re thinking about your church, 24/7, instead of during that 5-minute timespan on Sunday morning when the offering plate is passed.

Churches who use online giving tell us that it is an option that some members of the congregation use who don’t give any other way, as younger members don’t typically own a checkbook, and few of us carry cash. Online giving gifts tend to be larger, and your members can set them up as recurring gift as well.

The Foundation’s Ministry Relations Officers are always ready to assist you with your church’s stewardship needs. If you’re ready to add online giving as an option for your congregation, they can help you with that, too. Find your MRO here.