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Talking About What is Close to the Heart

By The Rev. Ozzie Herlong
Director for Stewardship

When we talk about treasures, we are able to talk about what is closest to the heart. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” [Matthew 6:21] This is one of the principles to cultivating generosity in Stewardship for All Seasons (SAS). Rev. Mike Ward, author of Abundance: Creating a Culture of Generosity, Fortress Press [2020], leads our South Carolina Synod cohort groups.

One congregation, after two years, found themselves with fewer worries during the COVID-19 crisis. Pastor Nathan Rice, St. Luke, Summerville, said “Because of our work with Gronlund Sayther Brunkow, our congregation is in a very strong financial position. We had a surplus last year that we could add to our reserve fund, and it takes worry away from us in this time. The stewardship work we have done has made this not as worrisome as it could have been. Our first three months this year put us well ahead of where we were before.”

Pastor Shannon Mullen, St. John’s, Beaufort, shared his experience and appreciation for the “no gimmicks” approach after being in Stewardship for All Seasons for one year, “St. John’s in Beaufort found Mike Ward’s wisdom about growing generosity to be invaluable. Despite already having a history of healthy giving, following his guidance led to dramatic increases. For 2020 we received 34 new commitments and 65% of renewed commitments increased, by an average of more than 50%. There are no gimmicks in SAS, just helpful support for inspiring, encouraging, and directly asking for growth in generosity.”

Another congregation is looking forward to thinking stewardship development. Pastor Rachel Hoffman, Grace, Rock Hill, shared her excitement, “In my first call, our congregation enrolled in Stewardship for All Seasons to explore a year-round, mission-focused stewardship approach. I’m now serving in my second call, and we will be joining the synod’s SAS cohort this spring. However, we have already been using the SAS principles to guide our stewardship process, and this approach has made a significant difference. We started our 2020 stewardship conversation in January 2019 by asking, “What has God given us?” and “What is God calling us to do this coming year?” This starting point allowed us to consider the abundance God has already provided as we reflected on where we were… We are looking forward to sharing the story of abundance and saying thank you as we work toward implementing our missional goals this year, and we are excited to be joining the SAS program officially this spring.”

The purpose of Stewardship for All Seasons is to guide pastors, deacons and congregation leaders to learn tried and true basic principles and effective methodologies to carry out productive stewardship programs. SAS is an opportunity to learn how to do year-round, on-going stewardship resulting in more money for ministry, more energized stewards, and develop a culture of generosity. SAS is an opportunity to rely on more than the annual stewardship appeal and think stewardship development.
Congregation fees are reduced for participating congregations because of the South Carolina Synod partnership and financial support given. Financial support for SAS is a Growing in God’s Mission Appeal initiative offered to all congregations.

The kickoff for Stewardship for All Seasons cohort groups, is scheduled on May 18, 2020

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