What Church Stewardship Leaders can Learn from Authors

Years ago I wrote a book.  Since then, I have spent a lot of time working side by side with church leaders for the purpose of designing strategies to foster giving.  I now have an idea.  This thought may help the stars align for those who are stuck struggling to take the next step, or even just the first one, in hopes of building the structure for a new church annual campaign or generosity project.  The idea comes from what I have learned from writing a book and writing campaigns.

The idea is both authorships have a lot in common.  Book writing and fund campaign development involve similar disciplines.  They require a lot of patience, help from others, and time management.  The world needs both authorships. We need good writers who will inspire us with good sentences and stories, and our churches need well-planned and prayerful stewardship teachings and invitations to give.

Go into a bookstore and pick up a newly released book.  It will be ready to read when you get there, but so much went on behind the scenes to get the book into the store and into the hands of a potential reader.  The process of book authorship and production may be a helpful guide for those in church stewardship roles who are trying to structure a generosity campaign.  Here are some correlations and guide posts:

  1. Writers begin writing usually with some rough notes.  An idea comes to mind and they put those ideas in front of their eyes on paper.  Keep in mind, these are very rough notes.  They often appear nothing like the finished product will be.  The ideas will evolve, but they begin the process.   Lesson:  You need to begin.  Write the idea down.  The sermon title or content may not be anything like you have ever preached on stewardship, but write it down and work with it.  The person that comes to mind to lead the generosity initiative may be younger than previous stewardship leaders, but take this note.  Start. Take notes and your notes will lead to decisions.
  2. Outlines create organization for writers.  This is where strategy and patience come into play.  Every successful writer is patient and methodical.  They may go through several drafts to get to the final product, but they value outlines because they know the structure is what creates the platform for the art.   Lesson:  Give yourself plenty of time to plan and implement your generosity initiative.  Don’t rush the process.  Take your time building the generosity team.  Give the team plenty of time to outline a good campaign.
  3. Every good story has an antagonist.  The hero is a hero because he overcomes the villain.  You know the point.  Without the dark side, Star Wars would not be Star Wars.   Lesson:  Your campaign will have antagonists—things will contend with the effectiveness of your campaign.  The time of year you campaign could be a contender.  Poorly designed communications pieces could actually hinder potential.  Choosing a leader for the wrong reasons can create a hindrance for campaign advancement.  Think like a writer.  Identify your antagonists and deal with them.
  4. Writers need editors.  They may be good at telling a story, but they do need criticism to take the story from good to great.   Lesson:  Campaign teams need editors, too.  Take your ideas to a few fellow church members and glean their input.  Put together a think-tank and run your campaign ideas through other minds.  Your ideas will improve because of this exercise.

Like writers who believe their stories need to be told, believe in the work of generosity development.  Believe in the causes your campaign will support.   Believe in your leadership.  Take some risks with your work.  Start.  Take the next step.  Keep writing.  Your campaign needs a writer.

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