A workshop series that can help congregations develop a foundation for stewardship

By The Rev. Ozzie Herlong

Has your congregation struggled to grow basic stewardship?

Do you need assistance with your annual response?

Is maintaining the momentum of year round stewardship a challenge?

Ventures in Growing Stewards is an effective four-part workshop series, created by the ELCA, that can help congregations develop a foundation for stewardship education, plan year round stewardship in the congregation, choose annual response methods and develop a Missional Spending Plan.

Workshops have been conducted across the South Carolina Synod. At the present time pastors and lay persons from eight congregations are participating in a Ventures cluster during 2016-17: St. David, West Columbia; Bethel, White Rock; Mt. Tabor, West Columbia, Pisgah, Lexington; Our Saviour, West Columbia; Mt. Hermon, West Columbia; St. Timothy, Camden; and St. Stephen, Lexington.

Ventures in Growing Stewards focuses on the work that a congregational Stewardship Team is doing to grow well-formed steward leaders and to also grow generosity. Congregations participating in Ventures workshops are introduced to current stewardship resources: Stewards of God’s Love; Giving to God, Embracing Stewardship; New Consecration Sunday; Ask, Thank, Tell; and Giving Thought to A Narrative Budget.

Congregations have experienced new excitement when they transform the line-item budget to tell the story of the congregation’s ministry through a narrative budget or, as some congregations call it, a Missional Spending Plan. It’s a great way to be stewards of the congregation’s story.

Conducting an annual financial response such as New Consecration Sunday by Herb Miller is bringing good results and has helped grow giving in congregations. Why not ask for growth in giving? If you believe your congregation is making a difference in the lives of people, ask people to increase their support so the congregation can expand for God’s mission in your community and in the world.

If you are interested in discovering more about these resources, or if your congregation or a cluster of four to six congregations in your area is interested in becoming a part of a Ventures in Growing Stewards workshop series, contact Rev. Ozzie Herlong at 803-360-1877 or email ovherlong@aol.com. Rev. Angela Jennings, Pastor, St. Timothy, Camden, is the Ventures Leader.

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