I’m always happy to consult about stewardship, in person or via Zoom, or help with workshops and classes. Here is a menu of workshops I’ve given. Interested? Let’s talk!
Intro to Biblical Stewardship:
This workshop underscores the biblical and theological foundations for stewardship in its financial and non-financial dimensions. We explore selected texts from the Old and New Testaments using five key principles that help us categorize the texts and discern a biblical understanding of stewardship.
Cultivating a heart of generosity
Generosity is NOT a genetic trait, passed on to lucky people who are “born to be generous,” but rather a virtue that can be cultivated and strengthened through prayer, practice and commitment. In the process of practicing generosity people find themselves transformed into “generous-hearted” souls whose cups run over with blessings of love, joy and strength.
Much to their detriment, many congregations have a “wall of resistance” protecting them form honest, grown-up, healthy conversation about money and stewardship. It’s often a wall that’s been expanded and fortified over the years through unhelpful attitudes and practices. This workshop explores how to break through the wall by small steps taken consistently over time.
Our rich tradition has a lot to say about stewardship not only of our wealth but also our lives. For Luther, how we understand and use all the blessings with which God has enriched us is closely connected to the greatest commandments to love God with all our being and to love our neighbor as ourselves. We will look at selected writings of Luther and the Lutheran Confessions.
Understanding (and Changing!) Your Congregation’s Money Culture:
Congregations don’t invent how they understand money, how they talk (or don’t) about money, how they use money. They’ve inherited their attitudes and understandings from their predecessors. In this segment we will look at the underpinnings of how the church looks at money. We will explore strategies to change the conversation.
From Gloomy Givers to Cheerful Givers
We could build a new sanctuary if we had a dollar for every stewardship campaign that pulled out Paul’s old chestnut from 2 Corinthians 9:7b, “God loves a cheerful giver.” Fact is, many of our congregations face gloomy givers, and here’s the truth: It’s not entirely their fault. Givers and potential givers are often turned off by our ham-fisted campaigns that push the buttons of guilt and shame and duty. In this workshop we look at what really motivates givers and how to craft campaigns that will encourage cheerful giving.
Streams of Giving:
For most congregations, distributing envelopes and passing the plate on Sunday comprise the only organized stream for giving. In our age, when many people don’t carry cash or checks, they are missing out on some very important ways to invite people into their church’s financial stability. This workshop will talk about expanding the giving streams, including electronic giving via web, automatic bank transfers, QR codes, text giving, and giving kiosks.
Legacy and Planned Giving:
As Baby Boomers age and go to their eternal reward, our nation is at the beginning of the biggest wealth transfer in the history of the world. Will God’s people leave some of their money to their church – or will it go to the colleges, the foundations, the arts groups and other nonprofits that are aggressively seeking legacy gifts? This workshop would look at the necessity for congregations to establish a planned- or legacy-giving program that tastefully, politely and intelligently invites people to leave the church in their estate planning.
People ask, “How much should we give to our church?” Too often they get an unhelpful answer: “Give what you can.” It’s unhelpful for the person who wants to make a faithful gift, but it’s also unhelpful for the congregation that might be foregoing potential income. In this workshop we look at tithing as a benchmark – but not a rigid, legalistic requirement – for faithful giving.
Making the Ask
It’s been said that stewardship is a “contact sport” – we have to contact people. This segment will look at making an intelligent, thoughtful, invitational ask in its many and various forms: Solicitation in correspondence and mailing, in-person asking to groups of people (for instance, addressing a congregation) and the oh-so-dreaded person-to-person ask.
For lots of congregations, “Stewardship” is a captive concept they release from its cell for three or four weeks every fall to beg for money. No wonder everybody hates it. This workshop encourages congregations to free stewardship from both its autumnal confines as well as it shackles that restrict it to purely money. We will look at the many dimensions of stewardship – care and proper use not only of wealth but also creation, health, relationships, time, talents. We will explore strategies for lifting up stewardship themes on a monthly or seasonal basis.
Planning and Running an Annual Campaign
Even for congregations that have year-round stewardship emphases and education, an annual campaign is the yearly crescendo. This workshop looks at the pros and cons of different approaches to an annual campaign, as well as putting in place a team that can plan, execute and perform a post-mortem on an annual campaign. We will examine some specific resources available.