by Lisa Meeder Turnbull
Diocesan Stewardship Consultant
The Diocesan Stewardship Initiative has now been underway for nearly a year, offering consultation and resources in all aspects of stewardship: time and talent, love and compassion, effort and dedication, and funds. It is exciting to see the many creative ways that congregations inspire and celebrate offerings of prayer, presence, gifts, and service.
As we become more intentional about cross-pollination, sharing successes and challenges, the question I hear most often is, “Who else is facing this same challenge? How are they approaching it?” With that in mind, let me share some examples of the creativity that is coming to the fore as we take a fresh look at stewardship:
- A small congregation offers a successful weekday fellowship program for families with young children. Maintenance thinking used to ask, “How can we get them to come back on Sunday?” Mission thinking now asks, “How will we be a church with the congregation that is emerging?”Perhaps it will be Noonday Prayer prior to the established fellowship, or a relaxed late-afternoon service. The answer is still emerging, but the question is exciting.
- A stewardship committee stretched the Consecrating Stewards model to engage a year-round conversation around the many ways that members are in ministry together.Twice-monthly, a different ministry or committee is highlighted. During worship, a member talks for a moment about the ministry and what it has meant to his or her spiritual journey. This both engages the community in the church’s breadth of ministry, and it makes conversations about church finance more tangible.
- In a congregation with strong seasonal membership, the rector’s weekly e-mail creates an on-going sense of community. This is part of a larger approach that includes a June Homecoming, an August annual meeting, and a Blessing on Your Way in September.Through this intentional structure of communication and celebration, seasonal members arrive already “up to speed” as a reunited body of Christ. They also have a tangible sense of their support for mission and ministry: They understand that their faithful, year-round generosity doesn’t just pay for heating oil, it provides year-round warmth for program, worship, and community presence.
If these stories resonate, if you would like to bring fresh thinking about stewardship to your congregation, consider these opportunities:
- On Saturday, February 11, St. John’s Bangor will host two stewardship workshops.
From 9:30-12:30, Money and More will explore holistic stewardship and offer some practical approaches for engaging stewardship in the congregation.
From 1:00-3:00, Organs and Boilers and Roofs, Oh My! will talk through the ins-and-outs of capital campaigns and legacy and endowment giving.
To register for either or both of these sessions, click here.
- Share resources, successes, and your own challenges or questions by subscribing to the Stewardship Listserv at email@example.com.
- Visit my blog at www.mainestewards.com for stewardship-related reflections, many linked to the week’s lectionary readings.
- To host a regional stewardship workshop or plan for me to visit your congregation, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.