10 Ways to Develop a Stewardship Culture at Your Church
- Pray for Guidance and Discernment in Stewardship Practices
The most powerful place to start when developing a culture of stewardship is to ask for God's grace and guidance.
- Reaffirm the mission of the church
Use the art of storytelling to clarify and explain who you are as a church community. The goal of your stories is to focus on the strengths of the church, the people of the church, its connections to the local community around the church, and to deepen relationships.
A critical component of stewardship is reaching out to congregants via phone, e-mail, and text message, before they give. Communicating to the group is important, and then touching base with individuals can deepen relationships even more.
- Show gratitude
Thank people for their service and generosity as they serve the church. Share your expressions of gratitude with the whole church, to inspire others to find ways they can live generously.
- Inform and Guide
Be transparent about where the church stands financially and how parishioners can help.
- Handwritten Notes
The age-old tradition of handwritten notes of gratitude and care demonstrate your willingness to take extra time to focus on one person. This makes the recipient feel valued and deepens connections for you both.
- Weekly Offertory Reminders
Remind congregants about the options to give as part of the service announcements (virtual or in-person), as well as in newsletters and on social media with a link to give online.
- Affirm Stewardship in Action
Ask parishioners how they are serving others. Use the word stewardship to describe their care for others and discuss how it reflects God’s love.
Ask parishioners what they need right now from their church. During this time of COVID-19, the needs of members may be unique and very different than their status six months ago.
- Affirm Our Blessings
Even when life feels complicated, money is tight, and we are riddled with concern, we are blessed. Create a space during worship services, or throughout the week, for parishioners to express their God-given blessings.
Stewardship Reading and Resources
Many of the following resources may not be written for church stewardship, but they share valuable principles for general stewardship and fundraising.
- Blog: "The Fundraising Landscape in the Midst of COVID-19," Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, written August 17, 2020 by Andy Ware
- Webinar: "Reimagining Your Fundraising Strategy," San Antonio Area Foundation, presented August 27, 2020 by Carrie Gray
- General Resources: The Episcopal Network for Stewardship (TENS) - provides excellent resources to clergy and lay leaders who are looking to develop a stewardship program. To access Member Resources, contact Anne Spears, Director of Development, for login credentials.
Written by Anne Spears, Director of Development for the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas. The diocesan Stewardship & Development Office provides resources for stewardship that will equip all churches and supports local, church development projects.