MMFA is pleased to share the following list of summertime stewardship strategies and tips for pastors and stewardship leaders.
Steps for continuing to nurture generous stewards during the summer
We often relegate stewardship to a four-week focus in the fall that helps church leaders prepare a budget for the coming year. Stewardship is much more than this; it’s a way of life ALL YEAR LONG. So, if you normally don’t take any stewardship steps during the summer, start now.
In her “Seasons of Stewardship” model, Deborah Rexrode (the associate for stewardship for the Presbytery of the James) identifies summer as a season of development. How can you develop new ways to encourage faithful giving of time, talent, treasure? Perhaps it’s through a:
- book study
- church or neighborhood cleanup day
- community garden
- collection of canned goods for a food bank
- postcard campaign to stay in touch with one another
Focus on your ministry’s core mission and values.
In her article External Shocks, Meredith McNabb of the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving, shares:
“The first response to seeing participation and/or giving numbers that have nose-dived cannot be simply to say ‘But the congregation has needs!’ and to plead for members to show up and open their wallets and keep the enterprise afloat. The focus has to be on the core mission and values: why does the congregation exist? What is the spiritual, transformational, life-giving, and meaning-making work that caused the congregation to gather in the first place?”
No matter the season, your church’s mission and core beliefs are still the same; they are still your foundation. Focus and build on that solid foundation over the months ahead. OR begin revisiting and reaffirming the mission and values if you haven’t done so in a long time.
Do people understand the impact of their stewardship?
If not, experiment with new ways to share it this summer, such as, “Here’s how your financial gifts are making a difference in our community” or “Here’s how our church is helping others with gifts of time and talent.” Remind people that their monetary contributions do more than just enable the church to pay its bills; they also provide vital funds to shared ministries such as our Moravian camps, agencies like Sunnyside Ministry and Moravian Open Door that help vulnerable populations, and much more.
Promote recurring giving.
Whether someone is present for worship or not, they can support God’s work through the church by setting up a recurring gift. AND anyone can set up a recurring gift to their church and/or favorite Moravian ministries through MMFA’s Moravian Giving Portal. Even better, MMFA covers the fees for online gifts made through the Portal, so if you set up $100 to go to your church each month, your church will receive $100!
This summer, be intentional about encouraging people to set up an online recurring gift or automatic drafts from their bank. For more information, visit our website here.
The Rev. Melvin Amerson of the Texas Methodist Foundation wrote, “God has never taken a vacation. Let’s support God’s church while we’re on vacation.” Thankfully we have the tools to do so!
Early in the pandemic I frequently heard people say, “We’re building the planes while we’re flying them!” In many ways that is still true today. But the good news is that the Good News of God found in Jesus Christ has not changed. We face more uncertainty ahead, we are experiencing grief and loss, we are continuing to have hard conversations, and we are making tough decisions as individuals, families, and communities of faith.
But we’re also living into a new future, where there is room for imagination and creativity, and where there is also plenty of hope and promise. God is with us in the midst of it all, calling us to be and become. As we begin moving through this summer season, let us remember God’s hand is always in ours. May we trust in God’s promise to always provide for us so that we can strive to be faithful stewards and the hands and feet of Christ in all we do.
(If you would like to speak with someone about how MMFA might be able to help with stewardship in your ministry context, please contact Laura Watson, Director of Stewardship Services (firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-725-2589). We offer tools such as a stewardship health assessment, language that can be used in your ministry’s communications and much more.)