Pastor Laura Heikes shares strategies for making stewardship season something people don’t dread, but to which they look forward. “It’s not impossible,” she writes. “Dream a little, try some new things, and don’t be afraid to talk boldly about giving. After all, Jesus did.”
Who says stewardship has to drive people away? Last year during our stewardship drive, 14 people joined our church, four of them by professing their faith in Christ. Try doing it a new way, and you may find it’s so wonderful that visitors can’t wait to be a part of a church like yours.
Focus on the positive
One of the best changes we ever made was to stop talking about what was lacking and focus on what was going right. How many prayer shawls have you given away this year? How many kids are in the church nursery? Have you built a home with Habitat? Gone on a mission trip? That’s not a victory just for the people who were there, but for the church.
We call the final Sunday of our Stewardship Emphasis “I Love My Church Sunday.” Two or three members share how our ministry has changed their lives. The result is a Stewardship Sunday that has become a service people look forward to all year.
As leaders, look for what is good, the ministry that is changing lives, and talk about it. Take pictures and share in newsletters, sermons, and casual conversations. Before the offering each week, don’t talk about how the budget is short; talk about the $200 the youth raised to feed 500 homeless people this weekend. Then fill your yearly stewardship materials with stories and pictures of the impact your ministry has had in your community.
Many churches try to recruit an influential public figure as their “stewardship speaker,” to come in and tell people they really need to give more money. Use special speakers from within the church instead. Don’t ask them to tell their neighbors to give. Ask them to share their stories. How has being part of your church changed their lives? Some of our best speakers haven’t necessarily had a track record of generosity, but they always have an amazing story of the impact the congregation has had on their lives.
We call the final Sunday of our Stewardship Emphasis “I Love My Church Sunday.” At each worship service, two or three members share why they love our church and how our ministry has changed their lives. The result is a Stewardship Sunday that has become a service people look forward to all year.
Don’t be afraid! Money was one of the things Jesus talked about most. For years, I skirted the issue, thinking it was too tough for most people. But then I realized: God promises to throw open floodgates and pour out blessings so great that we won’t have room for them (Malachi 3:10). Which of us wouldn’t want that for ourselves and others? Present tithing invitingly and boldly, and help people work towards it with joy.
What if people looked forward to stewardship time? It’s not impossible. Dream a little, try some new things, and don’t be afraid to talk boldly about giving. After all, Jesus did.
- 50 Ways to Improve Your Annual Stewardship Campaign
- Optimizing Annual Financial Campaigns Video Tool Kit
- Crafting Better Commitment Campaign Messages by Ann A. Michel