Stewardship Resources

Posted: Jan 19

FORMING THE STEWARDSHIP TEAM: A GUIDE FOR PRIESTS

Annual Giving,Environmental Stewardship,Generations & Stewardship,Stewardship Formation,Year Round & Holistic Stewardship

FORMING THE STEWARDSHIP TEAM:

A GUIDE FOR PRIESTS

 

Why: We form a stewardship team for four reasons:

  1. An effective team will raise more money to fund the church’s mission.
  2. They engender support and appreciation for all the other parish ministries.
  3. The project is a chance for the members of the team to form or deepen relationships that are the lifeblood of the congregation.
  4. They spread a spirituality of grateful generosity, thereby enriching the lives and enlarging the souls of the congregation.

 

How: The priest identifies the best people for the project and personally -- phone is ok but not email – asks the person to serve. Do not send out a general solicitation: Call someone up or take him or her to lunch and say, “I need you to do this.”

 

When: If the stewardship team is formed and meets by March, you will have a strong campaign. Otherwise, you are behind the 8-ball. If a core group is meeting and thinking about stewardship early, the vibe changes.

 

Size:  Usually, team members give more money than they would if they were not on the team. Their friends are also more likely to give. So if you want more money, put more people on the team.

 

Who: You need “the right people on the bus.” So who are the right people?

People who know people: The team’s strongest influenceis on their friends. You need people who are connected. Diversify the team according demographics like age and race.  If the congregation has more than one worship service, include people from the different worship services on the team.

People who love the parish. The stewardship team represents the congregation to the congregation. How they feel about the congregation and its leadership, both lay and clergy, will come across.

People with a heart for stewardship. A lot of folks have emotional issues about money.  Others have such issues about God. It is not easy to find people with a healthy attitude. So look for them.

People who know stewardship. You need at least one, preferably two or so, members who have been to The Episcopal Network for Stewardship (TENS), so they will have a sense of the best practices today.

People with skills. The chair needs organizational skills to get the job done – like running a meeting, ending with action steps prescribing deadlines, and setting up accountability.

People with credibility. Who you appoint to the team tells the congregation whether this is important or not. You need someone on the team who has the respect of the congregation.

People with time. Of course, no one has time. But you don’t want to overburden anyone with church work. So choose someone who can be freed up from some of his or her other church work for a year. Do not choose your wardens, your treasurer or your finance committee. Counting money and raising it are usually incompatible.

People who can give themselves. These do not have to be your wealthiest members, but the team needs to be able to set an example of generosity.

What about the priest? Ideally, the Stewardship Team should be lay led, but the priest should be an active participant, sharing resources and using pastoral skills to help the group relate well and stay on task. If the circumstances of the parish dictate that the priest needs to lead the team, that is an acceptable second best.

 

A well formed stewardship team becomes a microcosm of the congregation. Its energy and vitality vibrate out into the congregation, enlivening worship, formation, evangelism, fellowship, and every aspect of parish life.

 

The Rt. Rev. Dan T. Edwards