R3 Generosity Resources


Workshop 1 Materials

FIRST HOUR: Intro to Stewardship

Workshop 1 Bible Study – The Rich Young Man, Mark 1-:17-27

Biblical Stewardship 101 – Key stewardship ideas and selected Bible verses with “think about it” questions. Easily adaptable to a class, workshop or devotion.

“Martin Luther’s Pastoral Teachings on Money,” Kathryn D’Arcy Blanchard, Word & Witness, 2006. From Luther Seminary’s publication, a good overview of Luther’s teachings.

The Bible’s Faith & Money Lessons — This Bible study series will keep your adult Christian education classes busy for a month — or just use the lessons individually. Amazingly simple, the studies ask participants to prayerfully read key Scripture passages organized around a weekly theme, and then discuss thought-provoking questions. From the United Methodist Stewardship Foundation.

Stewardship as a Lifestyle – This brilliant and insightful workshop by former ELCA Presiding Bishop H. George Anderson helps bring church members into a fuller understanding of holistic stewardship. “Stewardship is like a magnet passing over the jumbled pins and needles of our life, organizing them into a meaningful pattern. Stewardship is the Christian lifestyle.”

Four Gospels, One Way to Live – Here’s a free online course on biblical stewardship that you can really sink your teeth into. “Four Gospels” pays attention to the stewardship-of-life underpinnings of the four Gospels as it provides a scholarly overview. From the Rev. Dr. Mark Vitalis Hoffman at United Lutheran Seminary.

Mark Allen Powell, “Faithful Living: A Biblical Ethic of Financial Stewardship,” in The Journal of Lutheran Ethics, June 2007. In this article Powell outlines some of the key concepts he explores in his book “Giving to God.”

SECOND HOUR: Your Congregation’s Money Culture

Your Congregation’s Money Autobiography – How does your congregation think about, talk about and teach about money? This exercises explores  the spoken and unspoken concepts that shape your congregation’s giving.

From Gloomy Givers to Cheerful Givers – What are the ways that we can nurture cheerful givers?

‘God Loves a Cheerful Giver’: Paul’s characterizing of God’s attitude towards givers is certainly insightful, but the bigger is us is this: Why are so many of our congregational members such grudging givers? Part of it is we don’t understand why people give in the first place. This handout suggests gives four solid reasons.
8 Reasons Why People Give To Your Church: This article by Rick Warren, author of The Purpose-Driven Church, gives insight into the motivation for Christian giving.

The Top Three Reasons People Give: This author summarizes J. Clif Christopher’s top reasons into a concise, easy-to-read article.

Workshop 2 Materials

FIRST HOUR: Streams of Giving and Three Pockets of Giving

Bible study for Workshop 2

Streams of Giving Powerpoint, by Rob Blezard

Make Giving Easy: This article from the United Methodist Church communications office outlines some of the ways congregations have entered the digital giving world. It also reviews some of the vendors that congregations are choosing. A nice overview.

Four Myths about Online Giving: Despite the fact that less than 7% of transactions in the United States are conducted via cash and check, many thousands of churches continue to count on cash and check donations for 100% of their annual budget. Online giving options can help modernize a church’s revenue stream, but many congregations are hesitant. This article from ChurchMag explores – and explodes – four myths. There are also some helpful links to get your congregation going.

QR Code Flyer: An example of how one congregation publicized online giving through a QR code

Points to Ponder: Review this checklist to see where you need to go.

ELCA Press Release: ELCA Enters Special Arrangement with Tithe.Ly for digital and online giving.

SECOND HOUR: Planned and Legacy Giving

Why Your Church Needs Planned Giving: It’s been estimated that as the Baby Boomer generation advances to life eternal and triumphant, they will initiate the largest wealth transfer in world history, all in the next 40 years or so. A planned giving strategy will assist your congregation in helping members to understand the benefits of remembering their congregation in their financial planning. This article from Circuit Rider explains!

Starting Planned Giving from Scratch: Dont’ know where to start? This helpful article outlines a strategy, but you’ll have to research resources to get you there. Perhaps one of the following two. From the Episcopal Church Foundation.

Stewardship Newsletter Articles: Acknowledge bequests, invite contributions, keep the issue fresh

Local Church Planned Giving Manual: This is your quintessential resource!  Produced by our brothers and sisters in United Church of Christ, this free, online guide for congregations is designed to aid pastors and lay leaders in developing a congregational Planned Giving ministry. It includes sections devoted to establishing and promoting a Planned Giving program, congregational endowments, wills emphasis, how life-income gifts work, and more. How can you set up a Planned Giving program in your context?

How to Develop a Planned-Giving Program: Here’s a site for you if your congregation has been intending to get busy with planned and legacy giving. From the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, this site covers the issue well and provides solid resources to get you going with a planned giving program. Check out its link to the PDF “Planned Giving Guide for Congregations.”

The ELCA Foundation: This ministry of our denomination provides advice, resources and support for congregations and individuals exploring planned and legacy gifts. On this page you’ll find authoritative information, including:
Getting Started on Your Gift Plan
Giving from a Retirement Plan
Giving from Life Insurance
Gifts through a Charitable Remainder Trust
Gifts through a Donor Advised Fund
Gifts through a Charitable  Gift Annuity
Wills & Trusts Workbook

Workshop 3 Materials

FIRST HOUR: Making a Personal Invitation; Tithing

Bible Study for Workshop 3: Malachi 3:8-12

In Person: Asking for Contributions: It’s the most nerve-wracking part of stewardship for most people — inviting people to give generously. This resource is a workshop for training your leaders, but using it for self-study is also highly useful. Check out, especially, pages 5 and 6,  “Soliciting Contributons: Principles and Guidelines for Asking.”

All About Tithing, Living Lutheran Insert: What is tithing? How can you teach it, present it, invite people to practice it? The Lower Susquehanna Synod prepared this four-page insert to give you a great start. You’ll read:
-How to make tithing a benchmark for giving.
-Bishop Jim Dunlop’s personal testimony on tithing.
-Pastor Stan Reep’s story of how he brought tithing to St. Paul, Springettsbury.
-Invite your congregation to take the “Malachi Challenge.”

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.

Carpe Tithing: Invigorate Your Faith Life: “The tithe as a spiritual discipline is vastly underappreciated by modern Christians. I believe that if we boldly reintroduce the challenge to tithe, personally embrace the conviction of its worth, and then do it, we will provide abundant resources for God’s work in the world as well as invigorate our experience of life in Christ. “ So writes the Rev. Margaret G. Payne, retired bishop of the New England Synod, in The Lutheran Journal of Ethics. She makes some very good points. Click above to read more!

Tithing Flows from Prayer: Ten years ago First United Methodist church in Enderlin, North Dakota, began a process of spiritual renewal that began with prayer but also included a challenge for members to participate in an experiment involving tithing. The result was a renewed spirit and better finances. Read about how they did it — and how it might help your congregation! From UMC Communications.

FAQ on Tithing: What’s the deal about tithing? Is it a biblical mandate, a generous response or an outdated measure for giving? This FAQ from the Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis provides answers

SECOND HOUR: Year-Round Stewardship.

51 Ideas for Year-Round Stewardship: This is the kind of resource you need to keep handy for every brainstorming session of your stewardship or finance committee — a wide assortment of ideas that can keep your congregation on top of things 365 days a year. Some of them will be simple reminders of things you probably are already doing, but others will stretch your ideas and imaginations. Compact. Simple. Accessible.

ELCA Year ’round Planning Calendar for Growing Stewards:  Here’s a full-color sheet that gives ideas for keeping stewardship alive in your congregation 365 days a year.

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.

A Manual for Year-Round Stewardship: Stewardship author, consultant and former ELCA stewardship leader Eugene Grimm prepared this wonderful 76-page guide for congregations to use. It’s chock full of ideas, hints and resources to guide your efforts!

A Guide to Year-Round Stewardship Planning: 46-page guide from the Presbyterian Church. Includes samples of many of the elements you need, such as pledge cards, bible studies and letters.

Workshop 4 Materials

FIRST HOUR: Planning and Running an Annual Giving Program, Part 1

Bible Study for Workshop 4: – Luke 12:15-21

Annual Giving Response Programs: Powerpoint: Overview of the seven most common methods. Powerpoint by Rob Blezard

2018 Giving Magazine: Produced yearly by the Ecumenical Stewardship Center of which the ELCA is a member, this publication is chock full of helpful articles about every aspect of congregational stewardship. It also offers an outline of an annual giving program that you can adapt for your own context — or buy the whole detailed program. Good stuff.

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.

How to Improve Financial Stewardship: This ELCA resource outlines the six most popular financial response models used by congregations. A 36-page PDF download, it’s a easy-to-follow guide for new stewardship leaders.

A Guide to Year-Round Stewardship Planning: This 46-page guide from the Presbyterian Mission Agency includes detailed instructions and samples of many of the elements you need, such as pledge cards, bible studies and letters.

Because of God’s Great Mercy: 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. Here is a new, relatively low-cost program from Chick Lane that will give you what you need for a stewardship program this fall. The bad news is that people rarely give (or give more) unless they are asked. The good news is that people often respond affirmatively when they ARE asked. This program provides everything a congregation needs to make a direct, respectful request, along with a simple way for people to calculate an increase of 1/2 of 1% of household income. The cost is $20, and it gives you a download of instructions and a full set of documents in both PDF and Word.

Walk With Jesus: Another Chick Lane resource! 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.

First, We Give of Ourselves is a three-year stewardship program which will hopefully help change the conversation about stewardship from bill paying to gift sharing, and from budget-centered to Christ centered. This program is designed to help congregations dig deeper into a lifestyle of discipleship and growing as stewards. Contains instructions and written materials for all three years. Cost: $59.95. You can preview a copy from the Synod Resource Center. For ordering information contact it’s author, the Rev. Kurt Nordby, who is on staff at the ELCA’s Northern Illinois Synod. knordby@generositycoaching.org

SECOND HOUR: Annual Campaigns, Part II, and Wrap Up