In our previous blog, we spoke about creating a culture of giving. We recommended that leaders create an intentional plan to explore the meaning of giving. We suggested that by initiating conversations about giving, you can introduce the topic and reinforce the concept until it becomes a part of your congregation’s life. In this blog we will talk about initiating these stewardship conversations.
Conversations about giving can be initiated in many ways. Use the pulpit, guest speakers, the newsletter, the website, the worship service, and committee discussions. Convene small groups before or after the Sunday service for several weeks. Invite the finance committee to participate in a conversation with congregants about the meaning of spiritual stewardship in contrast to the meaning of fundraising. Make “giving” a major theme at annual budget drive orientation workshops. Prepare visiting stewards (the term we prefer instead of canvassers) to discuss the concept of giving during their conversations with donors.
You may also want to invite a fundraising consultant to facilitate a Mission and Giving Retreat. Focus on these questions during the retreat: What is the difference between stewardship and fundraising?
- What relationship can we construct among giving, compassion, and community?
- In what ways can we grow and invest the gifts we have received?
- How can we return and restore our gifts?
- What does generosity mean to us? How do we define the term? How will we know if we are being generous? What will it look like?
- What will we do with increased giving? What difference will it make?
- How can we make spiritual stewardship a year-round conversation?
- How can we frame conversations to focus less on the need for money and more on giving as a way to implement our mission?
- How can we help our society move away from an increasing culture of materialism?
Helping congregants discover their own personal generosity will create joyful givers. Joyful givers will help create healthy congregations that view spiritual stewardship as a vital component of their ministry and that believe that sharing one’s gifts, call, and spiritual vocation is an act of worship.