Stewardship Thoughts

Congregations and clergy across the country and around the world are navigating uncharted waters as we struggle to deal with the effects of COVID-19. Some are scrambling to implement new technologies related to connecting and giving. Others are advocating for a time of Sabbath rest.

I’m sure your email has been filled with many messages on how to cope, how to respond, and how to “be” the church in these uncertain and challenging days. Recently, one of the emails I received came from the Ecumenical Stewardship Center, and I found it to be inspiring and thoughtful. I have adapted it with my own thoughts and invite you to consider these timely aspects of faithful generosity.

1. Now is the time to consider best practices for keeping your community connected. 

If your faith community includes multiple generations, that means multiple ways of communicating. Most everyone has a phone and talking by phone seems almost like speaking in-person. Find ways to stay connected to those for whom this is the preferred way to communicate.

For your church to continue to be engaged in spiritual thought during this group gathering hiatus, you’ll also need to employ social media, text, and email, and dust the cobwebs off your website. How many ways do you have to reach out to your faith community? Do you have databases and lists created? Most importantly, how are you using them to stay connected?

Faithful generosity includes being good stewards of our relationships.

2. Now is the time to tell “the rest of the story” about your church’s mission and ministry that goes on 24/7/365 even during a crisis.  

If you have a good communication system in place it’s going to be easier to tell your story. Make sure your congregation knows how your pastor and others in the congregation are continuing to serve as needed.

And let’s add another layer. Are you telling your story to the community beyond your faith community? Give your people and your local media good news that might be arising from this crisis–volunteering, giving extra to those whose incomes are affected, inviting others to join your worship online.

Faithful generosity includes being enthusiastic about the mission and ministry to which we are called and sharing it with others. 

3. Now is the time to encourage your leadership and your congregation to give above and beyond in new ways. 

People are going to look for meaningful ways to spend their time. When they ask how they can help, be prepared to give them ideas for how they can serve. Every congregation could use people to make calls to shut-ins and older members of the congregation, people to write notes of encouragement to young parents who are at home full-time now and concerned about their work and financial obligations, and people to pack meals for people who are less fortunate.

How can your congregation provide acts of kindness and compassion and remain safe and healthy? How can you serve the vulnerable in your community?

Faithful generosity includes small acts of kindness that you can do from home and not be of harm to you or anyone else.

4. Now is the time to consider the ways technology can be an asset in our giving and connecting. 

If you don’t have options to give beyond Sunday morning worship, you can still provide that service with only a small amount of effort. Look at the Presbyterian Foundation Online Giving and let me know how I can help you if this is something you would like to pursue. Help your congregation learn what it means to remain faithful in our giving even when we are not together.

Communicate to the congregation how their giving is making a difference in supporting the pastor and other staff, continuing mission work in the community, providing new technology and services you have not done in the past, and “being” the church by seeing our abundance rather than our scarcity.

Faithful generosity includes a spirit of abundance that looks for opportunities, not obstacles.

“I sought the Lord, and the Lord answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. Look to the Lord, and be radiant; so, your faces shall never be ashamed.  This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord, and was saved from every trouble.” (Psalm 34:4-6)

Deborah Rexrode
POJ Associate for Stewardship

 

 

 

ARCHIVES:

Conversion from Scarcity to Abundance (February 2020)

Stewarding Congregational Wellness (January 2020)

Christmas Gift Giving (December 2019)

Practicing Gratitude (November 2019)

Giving to God (October 2019)

How Much is Enough (September 2019)

A Season of Numbers (August 2019)

Is the Church a Business (July 2019)

Tithed and Tired v. Storied and Inspired (June 2019)

Transforming Ministry, Mission and Money (May 2019)

Gracious Stewardship (April 2019)

An Opportunity to Give (March 2019)

A Culture of Thanksgiving (February 2019)

Telling Our Story (January 2019)

Stewards of the Promise (December 2018)

Ask, Thank, Tell (November 2018)

Stewarding the Church (October 2018)

The Currency of Money (September 2018)

The Currency of Relationship (August 2018)

Holy Currencies (July 2018)

Take Hold of Life that Really is Life (June 2018)

Giving Courageously (May 2018)

Budgeting our Time (April 2018)

Eat, Pray, Love (March 2018)

Sabbath Time (February 2018)

Celebration of Giving (January 2018)

Carols for Year End Stewardship (December 2017)

Teaching Stewardship to Children (November 2017)

Stewardship of Time (October 2017)

How Much is Enough (September 2017)

An Expression of Faith (August 2017)

An Annual Stewardship Emphasis (July 2017)

Defined by Generosity (June 2017)

Trust and Transparency (May 2017)

The “T’s” of Stewardship (April 2017)

Faithful Living (March 2017)

Embracing Stewardship (February 2017)

Making Stewardship Year Round (January 2017)

A Vision of Stewardship Ministry (December 2016)

Thanks and Giving (November 2016)

Healthy Congregations (October 2016)

Grace and Gratitude (September 2016)

Budgeting and Pledging (August 2016)

A Stewardship Plan (July 2016)

Things to Know about Stewardship (June 2016)

Summer Stewardship (May 2016)

Living Generously (April 2016)

People, Passion, and Possibilities (March 2016)

Imagining Abundance (February 2016)

Stewardship 101 (January 2016)

Our Christmas Offering (December 2015)

Living is Giving (November 2015)