By Bruce Barkhauer, Center for Faith and Giving
That is the question! Is this the right time to have a stewardship emphasis, or should we wait until things return to “normal”? Let’s address the second part of that question first. Things are not going back to the way they were in February of 2020. There will be a new normal, and it is going to take a while for us to discover just exactly what that will look like.
Whatever is next, claiming our existential role as a steward fashioned in the Divine image is that which will form and influence the future direction of our lives together on this planet. Managing our resources for the greater good will be necessary and will be a mark of faithfulness.
For the church, resources “time talent and treasure” will continue to fuel the mission we are called to engage in within our congregations, our communities, and the world at large. So, the answer to the first part of the question is “Yes!” We should offer a way for people to make ministry happen.
And the biggest benefit of any well-done stewardship emphasis is the opportunity to tell our story. How are we living faithfully as a community called to bear witness to the transforming power of the gospel? This is THE moment to share how money becomes ministry and mission. Inspire people not just with the “numbers of ministry”, but with the stories behind the thousands of pounds of food you collected, the hundreds of blankets you bought, the dozens of angel tree gifts you distributed, or the half-a-dozen special worship services you offered.
Good campaigns are
- biblically based and theologically grounded. They teach the faith-discipline of generosity.
- are filled with gratitude for every gift, and every desire to give.
- highlight the vision toward which the congregation is drawn, and they invite people to embrace and fulfill that sense of God given purpose.
- challenge us to higher levels of faithfulness and deeper commitments to follow Jesus.
- are not about guilt or obligation, but rather about joy and opportunity.
- focus on relationships and seek to build on connecting people, one to another, and each one to the larger work we have joined to accomplish.
- acknowledge that not all of our donors are created equal or respond to the same message – they are intentional about what and how they communicate by understanding who they are talking to and what they are asking for.
- are led by generous leaders – people who already practice what they are asking others to try.
Good campaigns provide the resources for good ministry. Now is a good time to run a good campaign. For resources on how to run a “good” campaign, visit the Center for Faith and Giving website.