It’s been almost a year since we’ve launched FORTH: A Stewardship Development program, and we now have over 50 partner congregations. If your congregation doesn’t know about the FORTH Program, please take a look at our website and learn more about it. Below you will see some data from FORTH Partners who have taken our Congregational Stewardship Self Assessment.

Each bar represents the average scores for each question in Section 1 of the assessment.  The highest possible score for any question is 25. As you can see in the middle bar, the average FORTH Partner believes that their congregation is welcoming to people from varying socio-economic situations. Do you think that your congregation is welcoming to all? What techniques have been especially helpful?

While scoring for welcoming is relatively high, many Partners indicate there is a hesitancy to talk about money in their congregation (see the third column from the left). How does your congregation approach conversations about money? Do you have any gems to share?

Let’s start a dialogue about the two issues of welcoming and money.

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  1. Laurel Amabile

    This is really helpful to see how congregations rate themselves on their welcoming of newcomers of all socio-economic backgrounds and engage them in stewardship. Thanks for posting!

  2. Ellen Cooper-Davis

    Seems to me that the two are related. We claim to be highly welcoming, although many critiques, statistics and people’s experiences have demonstrated that we think we’re more welcoming than we are. Similarly, we think we’re more generous than we are. I suspect both issues have something to do with discomfort about confronting the gap between our pictures of ourselves, and the reality of who we are…and then doing the difficult, transformative work of closing that gap.

  3. Nizar

    This is a good article. Maybe I say that bcuaese it supports my feeling of dismay for the current condition of the American church dysfunctional and outdated. Can’t get much more blunt than that. Sort of reminds me of the US auto industry (howevere, if I were the church I would not be expecting a bail out anytime soon).As far back as I can remember the Pastors have been preaching that the church is not the building yet continue to pour resources into it like it is the one and only thing that makes us legitimate. And yet these same buildings often repel the very people that the church is trying to attract.This piece is obviously more than just about the church building. It appears there needs to be a wholesale change to our American church. As a whole we are lethargic and ineffective in carrying out the great commission. The church is dysfunctional, congregations are comfortable and the non-Christian world no longer takes us seriously.One of the lines Mr. Meade uses really stuck out for me, the churches should be a source of innovation and creativity, not the last lingering bastion of a dying way of life. This could not be more accurate and yet we as congregations, elders and leaders continue to hold on to the past holding on to an outdated and quite frankly not that impressive model if compared to the church of Acts. I’m not comfortable with the notion that God is going to let this continue to fade gently into the sunset. Something radical will happen whether the church is ready for it or not. It’s always better to be leading the change than scrambling to adapt to it.Thanks for sharing Keith! As I read this essay I could not help but think that Walter Russell Meade should have been speaking at the Verge Conference 2 weeks ago.


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