What needs to be said before church pledge cards are mailed

Many mainline churches still run annual stewardship campaigns to inspire pledging.  I believe, if run well, these campaigns have the potential to raise commitments, but most importantly to make disciples.  Yes, it is 2016, and I consider these campaigns as still relevant.

There are several initiatives that can assist leaders in their efforts to run successful pledge campaigns.  One initiative I hold as particularly important that often gets overlooked by stewardship leaders is remembrance.  The spiritual act of remembering is encouraged in the Scriptures, both in the Old and New Testaments.  The poets, prophets, preachers, teachers, and storytellers all beckon for the listeners to be mindful of their mission, renounce the worship of idols, serve God alone, and be a community practicing love and hope.

What exactly interferes with our ability to stay focused on discipleship, and quite possibly, still not turn in the annual stewardship pledge card?  By and large, it is simply preoccupation with other things.  Busyness, the worried mind, cynicism, and the bombardment of temptations to be a greedy people distract us from the mind of Christ.  These distractions trigger our forgetfulness–our inattention to our true identity as the hands and feet of Christ in the world.  We are the body of Christ, and before you ask those in your faith community to complete their pledge card, you need to remind them who they are.  Remind them to be mindful of their mission, renounce the worship of idols, serve God alone, and be a community practicing love and hope.  Help them remember.   A remembering people are a generous people.

Here are some steps to follow when launching a remembrance initiative at the start of your pledge campaign:

  1. Practice remembrance yourself.  This initiative is not just for everyone else in your faith community.  This needs to impact your personal journey as well.
  2. Challenge other church leaders to practice remembrance.  Utilize devotion time at the beginning of meetings for this purpose.
  3. Utilize sermons, videos, social media channels, discipleship classes, and other outlets to convey the remembrance message.
  4. Create a campaign theme that reflects the remembrance message.  Yes, it is 2016, and I also believe campaign themes are relevant.  And I am a GenXer!

Think of remembering as a spiritual discipline.  Practice it yourself and adopt the goal that you will help those in your congregation practice the discipline as well.  Remind them who they are.  Do it again.

Then ask them to complete the pledge card.

One Comment

  1. Lisa Strandberg says:

    Wish I had read this when you first posted it, Sean. Good stuff! I’ve shared it with our campaign strategy team.

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