Everyone knows that it takes money to start and sustain a vibrant, life-changing ministry, and yet many congregational leaders resist talking about money. A stewardship ministry built on biblical principles and planned in a commonsense, even-handed manner can break down the barriers and cultivate a culture of generosity. These resources can help!
Monthly Stewardship Resource Kits
Here is a great all-in-one resource for your congregation’s monthly stewardship communication and education needs. You’ll find short “Stewardship Snippets” for every Sunday’s bulletin and articles for your monthly newsletter or website – ready to cut and paste! There’ are links to resources and more!
February 2022 – Love Yourself as Your Neighbor
Here is a PDF of our synod’s articles on tithing in the September 2016 issue of Living Lutheran (please reprint them in your congregation’s publications!).
Here are some great websites for general stewardship education
The Stewardship of Life Institute: Headquartered at United Lutheran Seminary, Gettysburg campus, this ELCA-affiliated nonprofit is devoted to inspiring, educating and equipping Christians to see stewardship as a key element of their walk as Christians. Lots of resources and links for personal and congregational use.
Center for Stewardship leaders: This is Luther Seminary’s stewardship website, full of articles, sermons, study guides and other resources to help underscore stewardship in your congregation.
ELCA Stewardship: Our denomination’s Stewardship website has a trove of resources for your congregation to use for education, inspiration and practical purposes.
The Episcopal Network for Stewardship: This organization gathers together leaders and agencies from the Anglican Communion to help teach and encourage stewardship. Lots of good resources.
Here are some free or low-cost stewardship programs
Walk With Jesus: You may remember Chick Lane as the speaker at our 2013 Bishop’s Convocation. An ELCA pastor, author and stewardship expert, Lane has become a trusted source for congregations looking to advance their giving. This is a very easy-to-use resource, and probably best for a congregation that has not done an annual giving campaign in recent years. Written with small membership and mid-size congregations in mind. The four-week program contains everything needed to conduct a biblically based stewardship program in your congregation. Included are a bulletin insert, letter and worship talk guide for three consecutive weeks. The materials for each week focus on the theme for the week: Walk, Listen, or Give. Commitment Sunday materials, including an estimate of giving card, and extensive follow-up helps are also provided. Download it at the ELCA link above for $10, or borrow a copy from our synod resource center.
Stewards of God’s Love: This 2013 ELCA provides a prophetic framework for a year-round stewardship plan, with spiritual emphasis on discipleship and understanding God’s abundance. The 58-page guide and inserts is available for free PDF download.
Make it Simple: This is the ELCA’s major stewardship campaign offering from just a couple years ago. You’ll find everything you need to launch an education and annual response campaign in your congregation.The ELCA’s online version is a mess, but our synod office has copies of the DVD set for free. Email Rob Blezard if you want one.
The Celebrate Generosity Stewardship Program: Here’s a free four-week program you can implement in your congregation. Written by author retired ELCA stewardship leader Eugene Grimm, Celebrate Generosity makes it easy to get going with an annual stewardship emphasis.
Here are some books that can help with your stewardship campaigns and ministry
How to Improve Financial Stewardship: This resource outlines the six most popular financial response models used by ELCA congregations. An easy-to-follow guide for new stewardship leaders.
Step-by-Step: Fostering Financial Stewardship in Your Congregation: From the ELCA, a 50-page guide that lists 17 steps your congregation can take to increase giving.
The Breadth and Depth of Stewardship: The breadth and depth of stewardship theology leads us to appeal to one another to discover lives of meaning and purpose, stewardship lives. This happens as we engage in worship of God and as we honor God’s plan; as we gather to encourage and support one another in a living organism, the Body of Christ; as we make a difference in the world through service to people and care of creation; and as we teach behaviors that free us from bondage to money. This is how ELCA Pastor Michael Meier begins a powerful exploration of the theology of stewardship.
Here are some resources on tithing
Try-a-Tithe Sunday: If you’re introducing the concept of tithing to your congregation, invite them to take the plunge just for a week — or for one week a month. This handy guide will explain not only how to plan a “Try-a-Tithe Sunday,” but the biblical foundation of tithing. From ELCA Stewardship Resources.
Here are some resources dealing with stewardship of creation
Lutherans Restoring Creation: Here’s how they describe themselves: “LRC is a grassroots movement promoting care for creation in the ELCA.” You’ll find lots of ideas for sermons, discussion, worship, education and more.
Creation Justice Ministries: This is the cutting-edge program of the National Council of Churches that used to be called its Eco-Justice Program. By whatever name, the program has a trove of ideas and free resources.
God’s Call to Earthkeeping: Help people understand environmental stewardship through classes, temple talks, seminars and other educational activities. And this is the perfect resource: “Awakening to God’s Call to Earthkeeping” is a free 50-page resource includes four complete lessons – each with a leader guide and participant materials. Lessons include Rediscovering Our Place in Creation, God’s Presence Fills All Creation, and The Biblical Foundations for Earthkeeping. Bonus sections include a theology of creation care, a congregational survey and a template congregational covenant for creation care. It’s from the ELCA, and it’s free for PDF download.
An abundance of additional stewardship resources are available on the web!
Brainstorming: Deep explorations
Free Ebook: A Theology for Christian Stewardship: T.A. Kantonen’s classic book “A Theology for Christian Stewardship” is still considered one of the best explorations of the topic and a go-to resource. Kantonen was a prominent theologian who taught at Hamma Divinity School (now Trinity Lutheran Seminary). Download a free PDF copy, posted on LC-MS’ FaithAflame website.
Jumpstarts: Ideas for ministry
The Pastor’s Role in Stewardship Ministry: Along with frank discussions of sex and politics, honest conversation about money is a huge taboo in many congregations. According to this great article by Pastor Chick Lane — author of “Ask, Thank, Tell” (among other things) and noted stewardship speaker — the taboo harms not only the financial life of the congregation, but also faith life of the congregation that is prevented from exploring a major element of discipleship: generous giving. As the spiritual leader of the congregation, the pastor must shatter the “conspiracy of silence” by talking about money. The pastor must do this for the spiritual health of the people in the congregation.