2021 Encourage One Another Annual Stewardship Appeal
Therefore encourage one another and build up each other,
as indeed you are doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Dear Stewardship Leaders (that includes you, pastoral leaders!),
In the midst of challenging days, the New England Synod continues to move forward in hope and promise. We are still the church together. Food pantries and community meals in our congregations have actually increased their capacity to serve more people while adapting to social distancing requirements. Many congregations are reporting more online views of worship than they usually had sitting in the building for worship. People are recognizing new meaning in and through their church communities. The online format has encouraged some of our leaders to speak more directly and passionately about offering as part of our worship!
And, yet, this is a challenging time. Even while maintaining support for the restrictions that are in place, many are weary and struggling. The ongoing uncertainty and change make it difficult to stay grounded. The church community continues to do the work of caring for one another and encouraging one another through this time.
Paul writes to the Thessalonians: “Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
This set of resources for your fall stewardship program is designed to help you think about how you can tell the story of your church’s ministry in a way that reminds people of the deep work of the church: encouraging and building each other up. We all need the reminder, perhaps especially this year, that we are part of a community of support that also reaches out to the world.
This year as you think about financial stewardship, we invite you and your communities to take time to encourage each other with stories of God’s grace experienced in your congregation. This resource provides some ready-to-go templates with the opportunity to customize them for your context. At the heart of this resource is the encouragement to tell impact stories. Sometimes we are tempted to share a quick list of the good programs the church is doing. What would it look like instead, to share short statements and stories from people about the impact those programs had on them or someone they know? Provided here are some ways to start thinking about gathering and telling those stories.
If you’re new to putting together a stewardship campaign, check out an existing synod resource (put together pre-COVID) on 12 steps to creating a stewardship campaign: https://new-england-synod.teachable.com/p/leading-an-annual-stewardship-appeal (Create a free account to enroll in the video course).
Accompanying this introductory letter are the following resources for your use:
Stir It Up Stewardship Campaign Resources
Additional Stewardship Resources
Webinar on Electronic Giving from Hartford Seminary - https://youtu.be/eVZ9tIMRfPo
This webinar will help your stewardship leaders think about the benefits of online giving as well as some other general ideas around financial stewardship and member communication around giving.
ELCA Stewardship Resources - https://www.elca.org/Resources/Stewardship
ELCA StewardNET - https://community.elca.org/stewardnet-newsletter-subscribe
This link will take you to a sign-up page for a monthly newsletter from the ELCA Churchwide StewardNET program with a variety of resources for stewardship.
Generation to Generation - Click document here (10.52 MB) for powerpoint presentation on giving differences between the generations.