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Responses from Stewardship for All Seasons Cohort 4 - 2020-21
•Re-oriented congregations approach by focusing on outcomes--impactful ministries--instead of budget.
•Asking people to make a decision--to whatever extent they ultimately choose to support the church's ministries--keeps the question/issue firmly in front of each person.
•The most-recent session held on Saturday, Jan 9, 2021, I found to be superb because it moved us into the 'All Seasons' dimension of SAS; particularly impactful is how GSB exposed the 'insider' aspect of the congregation's communications, and its suggestions to re-orient how the congregation can change from 'going through the motions' of its old ways of getting the information to the people, to communicating actually.
Learned that we focused on scarcity vs generosity. Totally changed how we look at stewardship and the way we talk and think about money at church.
SAS provides a year-round plan with a number of (potentially) interlocking methods and creative ideas on how to bring stewardship into a year-round effort, including especially how to help members / supporters live and give generously. While some of the suggestions require a fair number of Stewardship Team volunteers to actually implement, many ideas can be carried out with only a few (like 3 or 4). While a number of the items can be used simultaneously, and / or in an interlocking manner, most can be individually implemented, as time and volunteer support enable. We have already implemented year-round thank you letters to be sent concurrently with the quarterly financial statements, plus we've implemented year-round, hand written thank you notes that are sent to all members.
Development of stewardship initiatives, structured step by step process, professional materials, and follow-up led us to a successful campaign even with the pandemic. Paul and Evan's experience, guidance, and encouragement through the process was invaluable to our success. They were always available during the process to answer our questions when they arose whether during meetings or when off-line. We now have a program structure to continue using and to build and improve on as we go forward.
SAS gave our congregation focus areas for our generosity. Instead of it being the "what we've done before" and "here we go" giving to the general budget, members could relate to the fact that our generosity culminated in both "giving to the budget" and giving to a need in our community at large. We are excited to get our teams up and running this spring to begin thinking ahead to what our next focus will be for 2021. The biggest impact besides giving members a clear focus, was that the process was much easier than it has been in other years. The GSB guidance and the timelines kept us on track. I would say what was most helpful was having a dedicated steering team that met on Zoom for an hour each week starting in July. This was quick and easy for us to do and enabled us to keep the teams moving and allowed us to divide up the tasks so that no one person had to do it all. I was surprised at how smoothly the process went and we also had fun at our meetings. The Zoom aspect would never had occurred to us, but because of the pandemic it worked especially well and saved each of us time lots of travel time.