In order for your congregation to have an effective stewardship campaign/emphasis, you need a plan! Now is the time for you to make a plan for the fall. There are many methods for conducting a stewardship emphasis and collecting financial commitments in your congregation. The perennial question is, “What should we do this year?”
Every method has strengths and limitations. To decide which method best suits your congregation’s situation, you should begin by asking the following questions:
>> What methods have been used in the past few years?
>> When was the last time we did an Every Member Visitation?
>> How much time, energy, and money do we have to invest in the campaign?
>> How well do our members attend worship and other events?
>> What is the focus of our campaign?
>> How much do members know about the mission of the church?
The most effective method is the “Every Member Visitation” method but it needs to be well planned and takes a great deal of time, effort, and organization. However, it does generate enthusiasm in the congregation that carries over into many other areas of the church’s life. It is recommended that you only conduct this type of campaign every 3-5 years. Any program you decide to use should have variety to maintain excitement, intensity, and effectiveness.
Some of the most common types of annual stewardship campaigns are:
- Every Member Visitation Campaign – involves making personal contact with all members of the congregation in their homes.
- Small Group Meetings Campaign – depends on enlisting each member to attend a meeting in another member’s home.
- Sunday Worship Campaign – focuses on the commitment invitation and a reception during Sunday worship.
- Direct Mail Campaign – an effective mail appeal with a series of carefully written letters and a commitment card that is mailed or brought to worship.
- Congregational Dinner Campaign – the dinner is the main event with an outstanding presentation, and commitments are received at the dinner.
- Telephone Approach Campaign – similar to the Every Member Visitation but contacts are made by telephone rather than face-to-face.
- Consecration Day Campaign – this program is concentrated in a single 24- hour period with a highly charged worship service followed by the consecration.
- Personal Delivery Campaign – involves organizing the congregation into chains of families who pass on the commitment information to one another.
Your congregation is unique, and some of these plans may not fit into your culture. If you are looking for some new ideas to implement, maybe one of these appeals to you or could be adapted to your setting.
Albert Einstein is widely credited with saying “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” I think a better quote might be, “The definition of excitement is doing a new thing and getting new results.”
Associate for Stewardship Presbytery of the James