Based on “Growing Generosity: Identity as Stewards in the United Church of Canada,”
a 2009 United Church of Canada study, by Barbara Fullerton
What best practices in the local church correlate with increased financial giving? A six-year study of the congregations in the United Church of Canada revealed six essential behaviors:
1. Operational management with sound fundraising methods including mission clarity, a narrative budget, an annual giving program, donor appreciation, and multiple opportunities for financial giving;
2. Integration of stewardship in worship: using stewardship worship resources in worship planning,1 preaching stewardship almost every week, nurturing young stewards through children’s messages, and celebrating the offering as an act of worship;
3. Stewardship formation creates a culture of gratitude and generosity, including stewardship education with youth and adults through classes, confirmation, Vacation Bible School, Bible study and small groups, legacy giving seminars, and personal finance training;
4. Stewardship leadership by clergy and laity through involvement in wider church roles and stewardship training;
5. Opportunities for spiritual nurture through Bible study and small group ministries, encouraging a shift of self-image from consumer to steward;
6. Engagement in social justice concerns that reveal a clear congregational DNA and mission as the basis for an effective stewardship strategy, resulting in community outreach opportunities.
“Stewardship connects to all aspects of church life,” says researcher Barbara Fullerton. “It is an ongoing conversion process of daily decisions that relates to all that we are, do and have, both individually and in community.”
1 = Find an excellent resource in Radical Gratitude, offertory prayers, stewardship nuggets and more, on the “Stewardship In Worship” tab at http://www.gbod.org/stewardship.
Questions for Discussion
• In which of these six core practices can your congregation engage more intentionally?
• How can you weave these components into your church plan and evaluation process?
Written 4/6/2011 for the General Board of Discipleship
of the United Methodist Church