What if churches engaged in a practice of year-round stewardship education and promotion? A little emphasis year round, rather than a few weeks once a year can help people grow in faith as they relate to their resources--and help develop greater support for the ministry of the church in the world.
Here are some advantages to year-round stewardship:
Church leadership gets in the habit of considering stewardship as an integral part of the ministry, rather than a once-a-year task (or burden...).
You can talk about money at a time when you are not asking people to make a commitment.
It takes the pressure off that "stewardship sermon," because you know it won't be the only one all year.
The actual stewardship enlistment program will be easier. You won't have to gear up for it as much.
It's more in line with the emphasis on giving throughout both Old and New Testament.
- You might actually raise more money for your ministry.
Won't people get tired of hearing you talk about money all the time? Well, if you are providing some genuine help for them, both spiritual and practical, in thinking about their money, they may actually thank you for it.
Won't it be hard to enlist yet more volunteers to work on this? It doesn't have to be a lot more work, and a couple of interested people can make it happen.
Here's a simple outline of a possible annual plan, which could fit into what you are already doing in preaching, worship leadership and adult education:
- Quarterly sermons on stewardship
- Monthly giving testimonies (given at the time the offering is taken).
- An annual adult education series on some aspect of stewardship (personal finance, stewardship of the environment, spiritual gifts), done at a time different from your annual campaign.
- Your usual annual campaign
When I was a pastor, I actually found it easier to take a year-round approach to stewardship. I appreciated having ongoing support from the team, rather than feeling like I was going it alone - or recruiting a new committee for every fall campaign. It was a huge relief to work on it together through the year. It was far easier to preach about stewardship quarterly than to gear up once a year. I felt lighter about the process. And in addition, giving increased every year.
What might you do to experiment with talking about stewardship more often?
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