A major trend among our denominational leaders these days is to look for measurable outcomes for our life together. That’s easy to do for some quantitative measures – what some people call “bodies and bucks” – but how can we measure our ministries qualitatively – for example, in our stewardship and generosity as a congregation?
The 2013-1016 United Methodist Guidelines booklet, Stewardship: Nurturing Generous Living, lists five possible outcomes or results we might choose to transform people’s lives. Here are fifteen possible actions you might take toward each of them, as part of a Local Church Generosity Plan:
Growing vibrant, faithful stewards
1. Involve an increasing number of attendees in financial management classes (e.g., Good $ense Ministries’ Freed-Up from Debt, Freed-Up in Later Life, Raising Financially Freed-Up Kids; and/or Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University).
2. Have a growing percentage of the congregation who are first fruits givers and tithers.
3. Offer youth-class sessions on building and using a personal budget.
Maturing into a vital community of gospel stewards
4. Regularly invite people to practice first fruits living.
5. Increase attendance and participation in our Community Involvement Fair each year.
6. Create a Generosity Team and initiate a plan to strengthen a culture of generosity at FUMC.
Building a local church culture of generous hearts and lives
7. Write and use a Scope of Ministry report to link the “how” with the “why” of what we do.
8. Hold small groups to explore Extravagant Generosity: The Heart of Giving.
9. Develop prayer partners for mission trip participants and intentional mission follow-up.
Strengthening our support of the congregation’s ministries
10. Hear a quarterly sermon affirming some aspect of generosity with one’s time, abilities or relationships.
11. Have a small group study the book 29 Days or another book on daily gifts or thank yous.
12. Experiment with four ways to creatively express the Offering time in worship to involve the congregation.
Empowering our worldwide mission connection
13. Strengthen a system of “ask, thank, tell” to acknowledge and thank givers as a regular part of our ministry.
14. Grow in our congregation’s percentage paid of our Apportionments (UM shared mission ministry).
15. Increase the amount of our giving to God’s work through additional mission giving (UM or other).
Ways to Measure Generosity in Our Local Church Life by Betsy Schwarzentraub is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.