As we approach the completion of the FORTH stewardship development demonstration project, several elements of success have been discerned. Among the findings, we have determined that the chances of successfully implementing a stewardship development program are improved when there is one committed lay leader with a big picture understanding of stewardship development. The successful lay leader has an understanding that raising money for the annual operating budget is but one of at least five stewardship components; stewardship education, joyful giving, ministry and good works, the annual budget drive, and planned giving.
Further, we have learned that chances of success are improved when the lay leader receives consistent guidance from an external coach. The role of this coach is different from the traditional consulting arrangement in which a consultant uses her expertise to tell a congregation how to “do it right.”
A coach, on the other hand, works collaboratively with a client (a Champion of Change lay leader in this case) as a partner to define the lay leader’s goals. Through the coaching alliance the coach and the leader discover appropriate actions, compatible with each lay leader’s values and desires for their particular congregation. In this partnership, the coach and the lay leader work together to find each lay leader’s own answers, to facilitate personal growth, and to help move their congregation forward.
Five lay leaders from the Beyond Fundraising course at the recent Southwestern District Conference have been selected to become champions of change. Each leader is teaming with Wayne to create and implement an 18-month personal plan for leading change in their congregation. Wayne’s role is to guide and coach. The five leaders are doing the heavy lifting. Each has committed to twice monthly phone conversations with Wayne. The five participants have each identified their individual growth goals, indicated below:
April Chase: A member of First UU Church of San Antonio, TX (382 members), April chairs the stewardship campaign. Her goal is to get congregational approval to move their annual campaign from early fall to late winter. She plans to recruit a stewardship co-chair and additional committee members, host their first lead givers’ reception and conduct an every member canvass.
Kimberlyn Crowe: A member of the UU Church of Oak Cliff in Dallas, TX (77 members) since 2003, Kimberlyn serves as treasurer and annual budget drive chair. Redefining vision and mission statements are key to her goals of a fully funded program budget and a stewardship level of generosity resulting in the donation of weekly cash collections to local charities.
Eric Gribble: Eric is a member of the UU Church of Little Rock, AR (213 members). He sings in the choir and is the annual budget drive chair. By the end of this pilot program, he wants to incorporate an appreciative annual budget drive as one integral part of a larger stewardship program.
Rob Sartin: Rob is the vice president and stewardship co-chair at Live Oak UU Church in Cedar Park, TX (164 members). His stewardship goals for the next 18 months are to have Live Oak grow its membership, engage in year-round stewardship, fund all programs, and build capital replacement/expense reserves.
Gaye Webb: Gaye is a member of the UU Church of the Brazos Valley in College Station, Texas (93 members). She is currently the treasurer of the congregation and member of the finance committee. Her goal is to successfully complete the annual budget drive for FY12, receiving financial commitments from 98% of the pledging units and reaching their financial goal.