Last week Chick Lane introduced the new book, Embracing Stewardship. This week, his co-author, Grace Duddy Pomroy continues the conversation. As Grace wisely notes, though many church leaders are hungry for resources beyond our congregation, sometimes our best resources come from within, if only we have ears to hear. Wherever you are on your stewardship journey, you’ll likely find Embracing Stewardship a helpful companion.
Adam J. Copeland, Director, Center for Stewardship Leaders
Grace Duddy Pomroy
A few weeks ago I got an email from a friend who is the stewardship committee chair at a congregation. She asked me what new resources I knew of to help take her stewardship ministry to the next level. In just under five years she and her team have done a great deal to change the congregation’s perspective on stewardship. They have developed new stewardship materials, newsletter articles and worship activities which emphasize that stewardship is a year-round activity that involves all aspects of stewardship (not just money) and all ages (not just adults). They have even worked hard to incorporate electronic giving options. They have covered a lot of ground.
It was difficult for me to say where they should go next so I asked her for a phone call. When we chatted she said, “We’ve done a lot over the past few years. I think we’ve covered all of the stewardship basics. I think we’re ready for stewardship 2.0—what resources can bring us to the next level?”
I paused for a minute and said, “I don’t think there are any.” Once you become confident in your stewardship ministry to move beyond the basics I don’t think there are any specific “how to” manuals to guide you. Rather, this is a good point to step back and spend some time listening to the folks in your congregation and ask them, “how can we accompany you on your stewardship journey?” This is not to say that you cannot gain inspiration from the work of others, but now is the time to listen to the unique challenges that people in your pews are facing as they embrace stewardship in their own lives.
In our new book, Embracing Stewardship: How to put stewardship at the heart of your congregation’s life, Chick Lane and I challenge readers to approach stewardship in your congregation differently—whether you are just starting out or trying to take your ministry to the next level. Instead of giving you another stewardship manual, we equip you with practical tools, ideas and inspiration to help you listen deeply to your congregation members, discover their unique needs and experiment with new ways of embracing stewardship together.
In the beginning of Embracing Stewardship, Chick and I invite you to name some of the critical challenges that your congregation faces and learn practical tools, like Design Thinking, that can help you tackle these challenges in creative ways. In the second part of the book, we give you eight ideas for your stewardship team to consider as you listen and experiment. Based on what you learn, we invite you to try one to two of these ideas this year. We hope that this book will help you connect more deeply with members of your congregation who need your help on their stewardship journey so that you can grow to embrace stewardship even more together.
Returning back to my friend, I think too often we look for resources from outside of our congregation to help us find the next step, and yet the next step is right in front of us in the minds and hearts of those who haven’t even been asked yet. As my friend and I continue our conversation about stewardship 2.0 I will continue to connect her with new resources and relationships that might provide inspiration for her team. However, I’ll also continue to stress that the best indication of where step two lies for her team is sitting in the pews on Sunday morning. Having the vulnerability to ask people at all levels of engagement in the congregation how you can walk with them on their stewardship journey and taking the time to experiment with new ways of doing stewardship ministry isn’t easy. But, I believe it is the work God has called us to do.
Grace Duddy Pomroy is co-author of the recently published book, Embracing Stewardship, and author of the 2013 ELCA Churchwide resource “Stewards of God’s Love.” She worked as student assistant and Assistant Director of the Center for Stewardship Leaders from 2010-2013. She is currently the Financial Education Specialist at Portico Benefit Services.
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