Think about this: every congregation in North America practices stewardship. The question is whether they do so well, or not so well. For various reasons, credible information that informs that question is challenging to find. But for the last several years, Indiana University’s Lake Institute on Faith and Giving has been conducting research about how congregations receive, manage, and spend their financial resources. I encourage you to read their findings at nscep.org. The three aspects of the Lake Institute’s research summarize well the best practices that should shape a congregation’s stewardship ministry, and they all should happen year-round.
Generosity grows through a better understanding of the gifts and the givers. Consider how to make the offering moment a time to dedicate yourselves and all you have to the service of God and God’s people instead of focusing on paying for clergy and space. Explore best practices for inviting annual gifts and conducting a major gifts campaign. Get insights about donor groups such as those with significant resources and younger generations.
Financial management is a matter of integrity. Learn how to reconfigure your stewardship team to better reflect the functions of a comprehensive stewardship ministry. Review best practices for financial accountability. Reflect upon why what you say and think is just as important as what you do when it comes to stewardship ministry.
Just like our personal bank accounts, how your church spends its resources shows your congregation’s priorities. The first priority should be how your church’s spending connects with its mission. Take a look at one congregation’s experience with implementing a narrative budget. Discover why a mission-focused church is different than a program church. Think about how a shared passion for mission circles back to generosity and receiving.
Giving Magazine vol 22 no 1 focuses on year-round stewardship and provides thoughtful, practical, and inspirational articles on all these topics and more. Subscribe today and receive not only this issue, but three more on faithful generosity, hopeful generosity, and loving generosity—a great companion to our Faithful, Hopeful, Loving Stewardship Resource.
The results of this faithful receiving, managing, and spending are changed lives, growing disciples, and doing God’s work. Get Giving Magazine today and practice stewardship well—all year round.
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