Month by Month
This month we
look at financial commitment programs. It is very helpful to select
the one you plan to use four to six months before you plan to use
it. This lessens the anxiety level for the stewardship committee
and lets you plan formation activities that support this work in
the months leading up to it. It gives you time to be creative, well-organized,
and even have fun doing it. The following outline provides some
basic essentials to help you choose.
commitment programs that work
Goals to be Achieved by a Commitment
Provide a conversion
opportunity. This will most likely involve a confrontation with
or comparison of the messages of the culture versus the invitations
from the Kingdom of God. This is the most important goal.
Provide a "round
trip" for the commitment device. In other words, deliver a
commitment device (pledge card) to members of the congregation and
get it back to church leadership.
Provide an estimate
of income that enables church leadership to plan activities for
the coming year.
that Work Well
- Canvassers call upon prospective givers/pledgers, talk about
the mission and work of the congregation, its role in the lives
of those being visited, the canvasser’s own witness, and
invite a financial commitment. Twenty years ago this was the most
effective method. Today it is less so, but still a powerful strategy.
Training for canvassers required.
Banquet, Festive Meal, Deuteronomy Feast -
Whatever you call it, it is a meal for the congregation complete
with special activities for the children, an engaging speaker,
time for witness to the value of the mission and ministry of the
congregation in the lives of members and the community, and an
invitation to give as God is calling us to give. Training for
table hosts required.
Meetings - These small group meetings in membersíŽ homes
provide opportunities for conversations about the work God is
calling the congregation to do. They are an excellent idea for
congregations engaged in vision/mission review and future planning.
They can be disastrous for congregations experiencing conflict.
Training for hosts and discussion leaders required.
Notes - Think of it as an every member canvass on personal
stationery. These are personal notes, written by members of the
congregation to other members, not to be confused with the letter
composed by the rector or senior warden mail merged through the
computer (or, even worse, copied on the copier) and sent to everyone.
Letter writers tell why they give and ask others to respond to
their own call from God. Training for letter writers is critical.
Kept Secret to Commitment Program Success - Worker Training
to Engage the Gospel - a specific type of Bible study
for workers to examine their own reasons for giving to God
to reflect on what it is that God would have them do
- A challenge
to do what it is God would have them do
to make their commitment first
Secrets to Success
commitment programs that further the vision, mission, and plan
for your congregation.
- Design commitment
programs that further the vision, mission, and plan for your congregation.
- Use a different
commitment program every year.
- Teach something
new every year.
- Write a
new stewardship prayer EVERY YEAR.
- The best
materials are those that your congregation invents for itself.
This includes the commitment device (pledge card).
- When recruiting
a committee, recruit skills, not just people you think will say
resources, check out the bibliography on the stewardship website
Terry Parsons, Missioner, Stewardship & Discipleship, Episcopal
Church Center 815 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10017. 1-800-334-7626