Help for the dreaded Annual Stewardship Campaign

Annual Stewardship Campaign.

Are there words that strike more fear in a pastor’s heart than these? Probably so. But of all the ways that a pastor serves her or his church, the annual pledge campaign is the one activity for which the pastor has received the least preparation and training.

Now it’s June and time once again to start planning this year’s campaign. Below I’ve listed some resources available from various denominations. Before we get into the details of how to run an effective campaign, let’s put our annual effort into the broader context of Christian discipleship, stewardship and generosity.

All of life is a gift from God, and our generosity and stewardship is a direct expression of our gratitude.

Generous giving is a foundational practice within Christian spirituality. The biblical writers assumed that faithful people would be generous – to the Temple and to the poor (here are some New Testament scriptures to review). Billy Graham believed that the use of money was an indication of one’s spiritual state: “A man’s heart is closer to his wallet than almost anything else.” Generous givers discover that giving leads to spiritual growth and development.

Generous giving should be grounded in the ongoing story of God’s mission in and beyond the local church. An annual stewardship campaign isn’t a substitute for year-round program of mission development and interpretation. Christians need to explore the “why” and “how” of the Church’s purpose, and congregations need to develop a creative and challenging plan for their own place in Christ’s work of reconciliation. A Missional Budget would be a good start.

Generous giving doesn’t happen automatically when someone attends or joins a congregation. As Christians, we need our congregation to challenge us to grow in our generosity and stewardship of God’s resources. We need a carefully crafted plan in which our church asks us to give money, not because God or the Church needs money, but because we need to give. The methods available to the Church to encourage generosity are not difficult. See the websites below for more information.

Please be in touch if you want to help inspire greater generosity within your congregation.

American Baptist
Disciples of Christ
Lutheran Church ELCA
Lutheran Church Missouri Synod
Presbyterian (USA)
Roman Catholic
United Church of Christ
United Methodist

The Stewardship of Finances Year-round Ministry Campaign Start-up Basics (Episcopal)
Stewards of God’s Love (ELCA)
Stewardship Nuts and Bolts (LCMS)
Stewardship Manual (PCUSA)
Inspiring Generosity (UCC) 
Eight Planning Components for an Effective Annual Giving Campaign