For leaders at the Center for Faith and Giving, stewardship is about far more than raising money to pay the bills or develop a project.
“It’s about living the vision,” says Rev. Bruce Barkhauer, minister for faith and giving. Since 2010, Barkhauer has worked to engage our Church in conversations about transformative generosity and stewardship.
In 2019, the Center will take that work a step further, with the launch of the Generosity Plus consulting program.
The program was developed by the Center’s standing committee, says Barkhauer, “as a way to bring the resources from the Center more deeply into the Church’s life…with customizable services that provide a generosity coach to walk alongside a church and talk about how they can unleash their full potential.”
President of the Christian Church Foundation and member of the standing committee Rev. Gary Kidwell explains, “Those of us that have been charged with stewarding this ministry see the vast needs of the Church. We wanted to find ways to deepen and broaden the reach of the Center for Faith and Giving to reach more churches and people in the Church we all love.”
Plus, says Kidwell, “Giving is fun! We’re all very excited about this new project. Church leaders that are afraid to talk about money have not experienced the joy of giving.”
Leading this new program with Barkhauer is Rev. Dr. Janet Long, a retired Disciples minister with 40 years of congregational ministry. She has also served as a past moderator of the General Assembly and member of the Pension Fund and Christian Church Foundation boards, among others.
Long sees this new position as a natural fit for her. “I’ve always thought stewardship is critical to life of discipleship,” she says.
Thanks to an Oreon E. Scott Foundation grant, Generosity Plus will be launched in the Ohio region in the spring of 2019, with an initial group of about a dozen congregations.
As the program expands to serve the whole Church, all congregations are encouraged to contact the Center to work together in new ways.
“This is not a program that the general Church is taking to congregations,” Kidwell explains. “This is a gift of partnership to help congregations deepen their stewardship and their spirituality.”
“This is a step above [current resources from the Center],” says Barkhauer. “This is a step deeper for congregations who want to engage in serious self-reflection around stewardship and increase the ways they’re serving their communities.”
Long agrees. “Sometimes it is helpful to have someone who’s objective, who can notice patterns, and help you navigate new options, to result in some significant growth.”
As the Center prepares to launch the new program next year, Barkhauer says, “Part of our job is to help congregations imagine a different future…help them imagine what God has called them to be in place that they are.”
If you are interested in more information about Generosity Plus, contact Rev. Barkhauer.