CHICAGO, IL (October 14, 2011) – Ask anyone in a local church who works with budgets and is responsible for encouraging faithful financial support from members, and they will tell you that finding helpful and effective resources to support that effort can be challenging.
In response to requests from local Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) congregations, the Stewardship Commission has developed a new Stewardship Starter Kit containing an array of useful resources covering a wide range of topics, from creating a culture of generosity within a local congregation to suggestions for creating meaningful budget presentations and even samples of pledge cards.
But, it is about more than just financial stewardship – it is a whole-life perspective on managing all of the gifts God has given to us, including use of our time, the importance of Sabbath, caring for our own health and good stewardship of the earth.
The new kit – “Stewardship and Generosity: Resources for Whole-life Stewardship” – will be mailed to local Covenant churches beginning next week, with one copy directed to the pastor and a second kit directed to the stewardship chair.
“Covenanters are called to follow Jesus into lives of radical generosity,” the kit folder text begins. “Knowing that all we have belongs to God and knowing that we are all called to be generous with those gifts are both essential. This resource seeks to help churches equip their people to carry this knowledge into action. It is the journey from knowledge to practice to transformation that leads to good stewardship and creates a culture of generosity.”
Included in the kit is the “Loving and Giving” brochure that shares some of the biblical understanding that underpins a healthy stewardship lifestyle. A unique stewardship calendar is provided, which addresses the seasons within the annual church calendar, offering lectionary texts and stewardship ideas for each season.
“Imagine a future when your community identifies your congregation as a place and a people that consistently models the generosity of our Savior,” begins another helpful resource tool, “How to Create a Culture of Generosity in Your Church.”
What is a narrative budget, and why would a local congregation want to create one? Those questions and others are addressed in a tri-fold resource that also is part of the kit. “A narrative budget is an excellent way to communicate the ministry that has been accomplished through your church,” it explains. It does not replace the traditional line item budget, but instead tells the story of what is being accomplished, how contributions are making a difference in the wider community, and in what ways the congregation is supporting mission and ministry.
The kit also includes bulletin inserts, a stewardship committee job description and much more. Additional kits will be available through Covenant Bookstore.