Some churches have their stewardship campaign all set for this fall. Others haven’t even started planning. Whatever your situation, big church or small, early planning or last-minute effort, here are seven things to remember.
- Ask yourself, “What do we want for this campaign?” A dollar amount, a specific number of pledges or new pledges, a spirit of gratitude, celebratory worship around stewardship? You’re more likely to get what you want if you are clear about it.
- The pastor needs to ask. If you’re the pastor, don’t hesitate to specifically ask people to support the ministry in your stewardship sermons, articles and letters. If you’re a lay leader, tell the pastor you want him or her to clearly ask people to give.
- Highlight vision, not maintenance. People don’t want to give to keeping the lights on; they want to give to ministry. Find a few stories and photos of a youth mission project, worship celebration, or other events during the year, and use them. Even if your plans are in place, find some new stories or photos between now and the time you kick it off, the more recent, the better.
- Have more fun with it. Stewardship sometimes seems like a dreary duty, but it doesn’t have to be. If you are still forming your committee, choose someone lighthearted to be a part of it. And see if you can be lighter about it yourself. What can you celebrate about stewardship this year?
- Consider providing a way for people to give electronically. Younger folks, and many older ones as well, are used to paying their bills online. Provide options for giving.
- Give thanks and celebrate. Make sure you report results and celebrate along the way. And thank those who pledge individually, ideally with a handwritten note from the pastor. The pastor doesn’t have to know the pledge total to do this, if that’s a big issue in your church. And if the pastor can’t or won’t, find another way to thank people individually, not simply in the newsletter or bulletin.
- Think of stewardship as a ministry. You are helping people to experience the joy of giving and to develop a new, freer relationship with their resources. This is God’s work.
Which one (or more) of these would you like to try this year?