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Stewardship Matters: Looking ahead to Lent

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Cynthia McChesney, Missioner for Stewardship and Legacy Giving

Ash Wednesday (February 22) is coming up...And we know time will fly by, so if you've ever thought, "Wow, Lent would be a good time to offer special learning opportunities around Stewardship," let's get planning!

As a time for reflection and renewal, Lent can be an ideal season for providing stewardship-related educational opportunities for parishioners, such as:

  • A book study group could focus on what it means to be a good steward of the resources that have been given to us by God. One short and beautifully written book is A Spirituality of Fundraising by Henri Nouwen.  There's also a companion Workbook edition. Both are available through Amazon.
  • Helping people reflect on how they use their time, talents, & resources to serve others and make a positive impact on their community. One practice could be revisiting the Spiritual Gifts Assessment we went over at Convention a few years ago. Another opportunity: An Asset Mapping session. Check out the booklet Gifted, Called, and Sent from our 2019 Convention for more info.
  • What about intentionally breaking away from old thinking that limits Stewardship conversations to the fall? Some churches use the Lenten Season for Stewardship Minutes, helping to make Stewardship relevant and relatable to parishioners in their own lives at another time of year, not just around the pledge campaign.

Lent can be a great time for children to learn about stewardship and what it means to be responsible for the resources that have been given us.  Some ideas:

  • Helping children understand the concept of stewardship by using simple examples, such as taking care of a pet or sharing toys. An Advent Calendar, focused on service, could be adapted into a Lenten one.
  • Providing opportunities for children and their families to practice stewardship in their own lives. This might involve setting aside a portion of allowance to donate, or to take on a local neighborhood project.
  • Encouraging children to reflect on how they can use their time, talents and resources to make a positive impact in the world. One idea is to schedule a brainstorm session just for children where they think of ideas for ways they can help others, such as organizing a food drive or other ministry.

Another way that a church might help their parishioners to think about Stewardship during Lent could be to reflect in a meaningful way on legacy.  For example:

  • Make time to discuss the concept of legacy and how it relates to stewardship. Conversations might explore ways in which our actions and decisions today can impact future generations & how we can use our resources to leave a positive legacy.
  • Offering opportunities for parishioners to reflect on their own lives and consider the legacy they want to leave. This could involve providing guided prompts or questions, such as  "What do you want to be remembered for?" or "What values do you want to pass on to future generations?"
  • Holding informational sessions or workshops on planned giving, led by professionals in your community with expertise in the specific topics.

These are just a few of many ways to raise up Stewardship and Planned Giving during Lent. If you'd like to explore in more detail, reach out here. The Stewardship Teaching Team would love to help!