Local Church Stewardship Plan Guideline


Stewardship bookWritten for the CA-NV United Methodist Conference

Instant Connection, 7/30/2015

The 2012-2016 U.M. Guideline, Stewardship: Nurturing Generous Living, is now available. This nuts-and-bolts booklet, written by the Rev. Betsy Schwarzentraub, former California-Nevada Conference Director of Stewardship, is written for a local church stewardship team to build a generosity plan for the congregation. The forty-page booklet moves from three core stewardship practices, to ten possible plan components, to ways it can support other congregational ministries. To order the Stewardship Guideline, visit http://www.cokesbury.com.


Building a Plan for Generosity Worksheet


                                     Building a Plan for Generosity For                      U.M.C.

Desired Outcomes or Results:
For example:
1. Growing vibrant, faithful stewards (personal growth)
2. Maturing as a vital congregation of gospel stewards (congregational growth)
3. Building a local church of generous hearts and lives
4. Strengthening the stewardship of the church’s full ministry (mutual support with other ministries of the congregation)
5. Empowering our worldwide mission connection (our Apportionments covenant)
For our congregation:

                                             In These Next 12 Months We Plan To:

Stewardship Vitality – 3 Aspects of Sustainability and Growth:

1. Celebrate how well we are doing this one of the three aspects:
Initial ideas of how we might do this:

2. Strengthen how we are doing this one of the three aspects:
Initial ideas of how we might do this:

Moving from Fundraising to Stewardship:
Ways we can help our congregation make this shift:

Church Behaviors that Show Extravagant Generosity:
1. Support for Mission – How we can communicate our mission more clearly as a congregation, and celebrate it intentionally:

2. One thing we will do to strengthen the personal joy of giving among our people:

3. Percentage Giving and First Fruits Living – How we will emphasize percentage giving and teach, practice and model first fruits living:

The Small-Group Study we plan to have in the next 12 months

(not linked to the annual funding program):

What Impacts Giving Behaviors
1. Using the Offering time as a “teachable moment:”

2. Making it Easy to Give:

Working in Collaboration
1. How we can support the work of different ministry areas of the local church:

2. What we need in support from other groups and persons in the congregation, to develop and implement a Generosity Plan:

                                       Ten Things We Will Do in the Next 12 Months:


Generosity Plan Essentials Checklist


Essentials:                                                                  Our Plan for Our Congregation:
Who did/is doing:               Done/Date:

1. Vision – “God-Sized Goals”

Compelling Vision Statement

“Scope of Ministries” or “Narrative
Budget” that focuses on changed lives

2. Ministry-Centered Budgeting Process

3. Vital Connection to Mission

Opportunities for Participation

4. Leadership

Pastoral Involvement

Generosity Team

Lay Leadership

5. Effective Communication

Verbal Updates


6. Strong Stewardship Education for All Ages

For adults

For youth

For children

Small-Group Study

Building a Generosity Plan


You don’t have to be a left-brain thinker to get a multiple-step project done. Whether you’re personally a natural list-maker or a spontaneous doer, you still need a plan to affect positive change in the church. Especially if you want to work as a team, or even just get along with the other church leaders.

Not that every great idea requires a plan. If it’s a single event, you may be able to pull it off spontaneously. But if you want to change the congregational ethos – to shift the mindset from fear of scarcity to trust in God’s abundance, for example – it takes a long-term perspective and multiple ways to address it.

So how do you get started on a plan? Begin by looking for people who have a personal passion for reflecting God’s generosity by the way they live. They model generous-hearted living, whether it’s with their time or involvement, their prayer life or advocacy, money, relationships, or possessions. Choose people of different ages, backgrounds and cultures. Then make individual visits to invite them to join a Generosity Team. After you have no more than six people, get them together to share some common resources and develop a plan for your congregation.

The new United Methodist Guidelines booklet, Stewardship: Nurturing Generous Living (from http://www.cokesbury.com), gives your team a common basis from which to work, a process to follow, and some Scriptures and questions to discuss as you explore your common understandings of holistic generosity. The booklet will help you start with two key ingredients for your plan: teaching first fruits living, and helping people get control of their family finances. (Don’t worry; some outstanding resources are listed from which you can choose.)

Then work your way through ten essential elements for building a Generosity Plan that suits your unique congregation. Your approach will be a design that fits your local church, as you think about each of those factors. You can start small and add to your plan as you learn from your experiences.

If you have any questions or would like to share how it’s going, please contact me (the author). Let me know how it goes! I’d love to share your successes and learnings with other congregations.

Betsy Schwarzentraub, consultant

Written 2/2013 for Susquehanna Conference (PA) UM Stewardship Foundation
Building a Generosity Plan by Betsy Schwarzentraub is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.