In last month's Stewardship Matters, we discussed Stewardship activities that made the most sense for January, specifically focusing on what you can learn from the results of your most recent Annual Pledge Campaign. This month let's start to plan out an annual Stewardship teaching plan. You can take advantage of learnings from last month’s campaign analysis, and you have the benefit of both time and a bit of perspective.
Let’s take a bird's eye view of the year ahead. What would you like to see change in your congregation over the next year in relation to Stewardship? As a Stewardship leader in your congregation, you might say: “I would like to help our congregation see that their financial support of our church is how we are able to do different ministries.”
With that in mind as a goal, what you might do now is to make a list of different ministries that you’d like to raise up over the next several months, while keeping in mind that these ministries are forms of Stewardship. For example, make a list of six ministries that are top of mind at your church. For illustration’s sake, the ministries include Children’s programs; Outreach; Buildings and Grounds; Worship; Choir/Music; Pastoral Care. You then look at your church calendar and think of ways you might raise up those individual ministries (and their connection to the generosity of your members), slotted into upcoming months.
For example, taking the list above, in March, perhaps it is a time to raise up your outreach ministries; and in April (Easter!), ministries that involve children. In May, when the weather’s getting better, why not talk about the stewardship of your church grounds/Creation Care? In this way, each month of the year can start to build up an awareness of the work your church and its members are doing, making sure that the language you use to talk this work is the language of Stewardship.
A related communication strategy is to pick a Stewardship theme for 2022 that you you’ll start to use now, and all throughout the year. The Episcopal Network for Stewardship, TENS, (www.TENS.org) has announced their theme for 2022: “More Than Enough.” Perhaps that is a theme that makes sense for your church? Remember, as a member of the Diocese of Newark, you are also a member of TENS, and can access their materials any time. The password for TENS this year is Luke9:17.
And those of you who participated in Project Resource last fall will remember that we discussed campaign themes at some length in Week 3. Many of these could also work as a year-long theme, including : Shining Christ’s Light. Sharing Christ’s Love. Making God’s Love Visible. •: An Attitude of Gratitude • Love. Care. Give. • Made in God’s Image • More Than Enough • Embracing Joy • Loving Without Limits • A Journey of Generosity • GIFT: Growing in Faith Together • Living Generously • Strengthening Our Spiritual Home • Grateful Giving • Our Whole Heart • Expanding Branches and Deepening Roots • Together....As One • The Great Invitation • Inspired to Share • Growing in Generosity • Walking the Way.
When we think in terms of our church calendar and thematic language, we’re setting up a structure that can help parishioners start to see the connection between their own impulse toward generosity and how that generosity can be lived out in the life of the church. There are lots of communications channels available to you: Bulletins, eNewsletters, Sermons, Verbal announcements, Videos, Social Media, Posters, Banners, Ministry Moments.
It’s a story worth telling!