Three stewardship goals for your pastoral leadership in 2015

The New Year is almost here.  Busyness will continue for pastors.  And, yes, this piece is mostly intended for my friends, these pastors, whose schedules with all of their breakfasts, meetings, lunches, and everything in between, are planned and full for quite a while.  I shall be brief, and in so doing, share some forecasts for church stewardship development in 2015 and highlight where you should consider giving your time and energy in this activity within your congregation.  I am basing each of these directives on a psychological observation, a spiritual practice, and a encouragement regarding the holy Scriptures.

  1. People will respond favorably to well-designed appeals for gifts.  Psychologically, people have warmed up again to financial giving.  The capacity has always been there, but in many minds, the recent economic depression is in the rear view mirror and the scarcity mentality is not as pervasive.  The stock market is up and the housing market is doing better.  These too are signs of a positive response to appeals in 2015.  Finally, some organizations have experienced growth in their giving this year which builds the confidence of those organizations’ potential for continued growth in 2015 and also encourages other organizations to believe in their own potential for giving growth.   Takeaway:  2015 should be a good year for making asks.
  2. The number of church communities utilizing stewardship education curriculum grew this year. All of the interaction I have had personally with churches informs me that more and more churches are discerning how they can incorporate more financial discipleship learning opportunities for their congregants.  One of my clients utilized a curriculum this year and was astonished when there was actually a waiting list of members desiring to attend the sessions.  In response to this demand, the number of curricula in circulation will increase next year and the number of churches implementing these educational tools will as well. This is good news for all pastors and stewardship leaders, as this hike in selections to choose from creates a more likely opportunity that you will probably find one that is aligned to your congregation’s current need for the stewardship journey.   Takeway:  2015 will be a good year to begin researching stewardship curriculums and to implement one.  If already implemented, try to recruit a new leadership team to lead a separate class and create more room for new participants.
  3. An accelerated emphasis on Biblical literacy has been noted in mainline churches in the last couple of years. This will keep accelerating in 2015, as many sessions, councils, etc., have offered more classes to help further congregants’ experience with the Scriptures.  I have no anecdotes to add except that I obviously think this is a good focus for clergy and church leaders to engage.  The Scriptures—if one reads, prays, discusses, and interprets them rightly with the help of God’s spirit—can be a powerful catalyst for financial discipleship.   Takeaway:  2015 will be a good year (like any year) to lead congregants to embrace the reading of the holy Scriptures as a spiritual practice and to read/discuss it in community.

What do you think of the above takeaways?  How are you actively leading your congregation in these three areas?  If you would like to take the next step in developing your 12 month financial stewardship ministry plan, visit my contact page and let me know.  I will be helping other church communities next year and would welcome a discussion regarding how I might be able to resource your church leadership as well.

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