Ventures in Growing Stewards 2018-2019
By Barbara Ware
Member, Bethlehem, Pomaria
There are times when the dark clouds of unfair suffering and death are overwhelming – and when all we can manage to say is “Enough, God, enough.”
Three congregational teams completed the 2017-2018 Ventures in Growing Stewards four-workshop series on November 11, 2018. Each team was challenged to develop a Missional Spending Plan and a year-round stewardship calendar and to explore appropriate annual response methods.
Typically, budgets and numbers are not very exciting, but sharing stories as God’s faithful servants can generate excitement, enthusiasm, and commitment to supporting mission.
Bethlehem, Pomaria shared their Missional Spending Plan and year-round stewardship calendar which included a summer mission trip for youth. Rev. Arden Hallman noted that youth began to understand that using their gifts and helping others is a key part of their faith journey. Their stories were powerful and generated excitement for future opportunities in touching the lives of others.
Summer Memorial, Newberry developed a missional spending plan and shared their experiences with electronic giving via tithe.ly, an app for online or mobile giving. Dallas Shealy pointed out that a plus for electronic giving is the consistency of offerings even when absent on a Sunday.
Grace, Prosperity discussed their year-round stewardship plan and the importance of sharing stories throughout the year. Grace also practices E-Giving as a means for first fruit giving. Rev. Michael Price highlighted factors to consider when pursuing electronic giving, expressed appreciation for the stewardship books provided and shared the hope that the other resources can be made available online to Ventures participants. Pr. Price said, “We now ‘thank and tell’ throughout the year to emphasize what ministry we have been up to and how regular gifts make that happen.”
Participants were given resources for developing best practices for growing stewards in their congregations. Included were: Giving to God by Mark Allan Powell; Embracing Stewardship: How to put stewardship at the heart of your congregation’s life by Charles R. Lane and Grace Duddy Pomroy; Stewards of God’s Love: A year-round guide to stewardship in your Congregation; and Giving Thought to a Narrative Budget: A starting point for Re-tooling the Church Budget.
Leaders for Ventures were Rev. Angela Jennings, Pastor, Lord of Life, Bluffton, Ventures Leader and Rev. Ozzie Herlong, SC Synod Stewardship Resources.
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Christ Community Lutheran of North Charleston is a mission congregation of the South Carolina Lutheran Synod.
The Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Ramp Ministry evolved from a project that was one of the early Inasmuch events about 11 years ago.