Friday, September 19, 2008

Question for the Community: Stewardship Season

This is my first post on the PCUSA Blog, so I will begin by introducing myself.  My name is Rob Monroe and I live just north of Washington, DC.  I am an Elder at Laurel Presbyterian Church in Laurel, Maryland (as well as the web site admin, so hop on over there so that I can up my hits for this week!).  I am also on the staff of National Capital Presbytery - so I have a slightly different view of the denomination.  Instead of working for one church, I get to work for all of our churches.  It's truly a blessing for me.  I also blog HERE about my family, kidney disease and life in general.

I am one of those that believes that we should be here to learn from one another and have converstation, so I plan to blog about things in a question-asking format. 

So - now onto my post:

In my role in my congregation I have been asked to help out with our annual Stewardship campaign.  Last year, for the first time in over a decade, we made a real effort to challenge people and make visits to homes and have honest conversation about the budget.  For years people were simply given a pledge form and asked to give what they could, without any suggestions or reality of what it costs to keep the church in operation.

Our committee has met a couple of times and we are unsure of how to approach things this year, in light of last years big push as well as the slowdown of the economy.  We're in the Nations Capital and I know that the slowdown has not hit our area as hard as others, but we know that we need to be careful not to push too hard.  I think that we decided to proceed as we did last year - a nice narrative budget with targeting specific giving units to increase their pledges.

I have a question for you all:
What are you doing in terms of a Stewardship drive this year?  Are you simply asking people to give?  Are you asking people to give specific amounts?  Are you being reserved in what you ask of your congregation?  Are you using a standard curriculum or do you start from scratch each year?

Please Discuss!


Joan Calvin said...

I believe that if you begin from the perspective of how much the church needs, you have already started down the wrong road. I believe we should begin with how much God has blessed each one of us and how much of God's blessings are we called to return to God. I believe that we are called to tithe and as a pastor, I give 10 percent of my earnings to the congregation. (Besides that I contribute to local charities, the local Habitat for Humanity, Heiffer, my seminary and a few other charities.) If the pastor and the session are not giving appropriately, we cannot ask the congregation to give appropriately. I have pastored small churches. I generally preach on giving during the fall (and at other times).

I am convinced if we are doing what God wants us to do, the money will be there. I believe money is the least of our problems. Yep, even as our economy is in the worst crisis since the great depression.

Sarahlynn said...

Our last pastor had an interesting line about stewardship that dovetails with what Joan said. Our new members go through a Getting Connected class, one week of which involves meeting the pastor and hearing him talk about giving.

"I'm not going to talk to you about money," he'd say. "I'm asking you for your lives. The money will follow."

That's about all I have to contribute to the conversation, because finances are an area where we struggle in our household. Not because we don't have enough, but because we are chronically unable to manage what we have. So instead of the regularly scheduled giving we plan for each year, we end up dropping erratically timed chunks as we're able month-to-month.

Mark Smith said...

We're using the Consecration Sunday curriculum, for the 2nd year.

I absolutely hate stewardship season. It's the season where we ignore the trinity of Time, Talents and Treasure and concentrate on the 3rd item. And then we have the gall to trot out a chart listing incomes and percentages, as if each family were identical and able to give a particular percentage. I'd attend another church for 5-6 weeks if I could avoid this, but all of the local churches do the campaign about the same time.

I'm particularly dreading this year's campaign because I'm out of work. I fully expect to have to tell that to the person assigned to contact me, then the followup person. I'd give if I could.

Stushie said...

Welcome Rob!

I write short M-F daily devotional leaflets about stewardship for the entire congregation and place them in the worship bulletin for five weeks. It keeps our people in God's word and each year, they rise to the challenge by giving more.

If anyone would like to see a copy of past devotionals, send me an email to and I'll be happy to send you a pdf. Mark the subject line Stewardship Leaflet, please.