Generosity and Stewardship

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. John 3:16

Often people think that stewardship involves asking the congregation for money every so often – particularly if there is a financial crisis in the parish.  However, there is much more to stewardship than money. 

Everything we have comes from God – our families and friends, the world we live in, all our possessions and money as well.  God even gave his own son, for our salvation and is an example of his unbounded love and generosity.

Stewardship isn’t about money. CartoonChurch.com
It is about generosity.  It is about faith and discipleship.

It’s God’s generosity that demands a response -  to say thank you, to nurture those gifts and to give something back to God, our neighbours, communities and environment.  Generosity is rooted in our relationship with one another and with God.  That generosity gives everyone an opportunity to share in the mission of Christ and the ministry which supports that mission.

I am the vine, you are the branches.  Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.  John 15:5

PCC Giving Review

The PCC giving review is a resource to empower PCCs to think about their giving.  This is based on a national resource but adapted for use in the Diocese of Rochester.

There are three parts to it:

  • A series of questions to encourage your PCC to think about why people give, and about generosity in a broader sense than money. 
  • A series of tick boxes, which should show where your gaps in good giving practice are.
  • Three simple actions to make a difference.

You will find the review here

Why a card reader?

Over the last few months, while churches have been closed, we have focused on getting online giving up and running.  Our churches are starting to open again now, and we hope to return to something like normal over the spring and into summer.  This might be time to look again at accepting donations using card readers.

People carry much less cash than ever before, and increasingly payments for just about everything are made by card or online.  You can use a card to pay for raffles or concert tickets and refreshments.  People attending weddings or funerals but haven’t thought about bringing cash might be glad to make a donation by card.  You could have a unit secured in your church for visitors to donate.  You can even pass it round during the offertory.

Most card readers will need either wifi or a good 4G phone signal to work, which can be problematic in some places, but there are some options where you have no wifi or phone signal.

Many of our parishes have been using card readers for quite a while, and along with online giving the amount of money being is increasing all the time, and there are a number of new readers which are now available.

Information about options for card readers can be found at: www.parishbuying.org.uk/giving-and-payments

Online giving – going digital in an age of isolation

While no one is in church at the moment, most of us are online.  We are shopping online and surfing the internet.  Providers like Zoom have enabled us to work virtually, meet one another and socialise and, of course stream our church services.  We can also give online, and the evidence is there that churches which are enabling online donations are getting more money coming in.

  • Setting up online account: The video in this link will take you through setting up an online account, step by step.
  • Encourage online giving: The Parish Resources website has plenty of information about how to encourage online giving.
  • Parish Buying service: You set up your online giving through the Parish Buying service.  There is more information here and here

For a table showing all the online giving providers, including the costs, look here

Ecclesiastical Insurance has great resources on fundraising Click here for more details

Why do people give to Church, what will stop them and how can we encourage them?

If you want to encourage your church family to give, remember to:

  • tell them where the money will go,
  • show them that you can manage their money,
  • lead by example with your own generous giving,
  • make it as easy as possible to give.

Here’s a checklist of things to do to mitigate the worst effects of COVID-19:

  • Communicate to your parish the impact that COVID-19 is having on the financial situation of your parish, clearly and transparently – if people don’t understand the need they can’t respond.
  • Make sure you are set up for online giving, encourage people to use it and keep all your avenues of digital communication up to date.
  • Encourage envelope and plate givers to move to standing orders (even if it is just for now).
  • Provide an opportunity to give in an online ‘offertory’ during streamed services.
  • Encourage one-off donations in addition to regular planned giving.
  • Think about how you can make up lost income from fundraising events.
  • Check that your Gift Aid and GASDS claims are up to date.
  • Make the most of the excellent resources to be found on the Parish Resources website.www.parishresources.org.uk

Run a virtual stewardship campaign

A giving campaign in your parish church can be a very effective way of increasing your income, and as we increasingly work online it is important to adapt our stewardship practices accordingly. 

We've put together some ideas on how to run a virtual giving campaign. Click here

Thanks!  And what next?

Things will still be difficult for a while, and being shut out of our churches is really tough.  It is worth asking however where God wants us to be at the moment.  Where is this leading?  What does the Bible say about generosity and giving and are we, as a parish, living up to that?

What we are doing with the gifts that God has given us, whether it is our time, our money or our skills; are we giving with a joyful heart, a real joyful heart.  Not from leftovers.

Remember to thank your donors, individually, letting them see the difference which their money has made.  Just as we appreciate the gifts which we are given, our givers really need to feel appreciated at this time, and we can look forward to being together again soon.

More giving and stewardship resources

  • The Diocese of Liverpool has a very comprehensive website covering just about anything you can think of in relations to generosity and giving.  It can be found at www.givingingrace.org.uk
  • The Church of England’s co-operative buying service negotiates good deals on everything from online resources to energy to stationery and fire safety:  www.parishbuying.org.uk
  • Stewardship is a charity which promotes generous and tax-free giving.  They produce some good free resources on different aspects of financial stewardship and discipleship.  You can find them at www.stewardship.org.uk

Generosity Week

Generosity is at the heart of our faith. We believe in a generous God and our own generosity is a testament and hallmark of our faith in action.

Every day we see generosity in our churches and Christian communities, reflecting the generous God we believe in. 

It takes time, support and above all prayer to grow a generous culture. Generosity Week is coming this harvest and will give us the time and space to reflect on God’s Generosity and celebrate God’s generosity within our church’s ministry and mission. 

By the end of The Generosity Week you’ll have a deeper understanding of God’s generosity towards us and how we can live more generously in our daily lives.

You can run The Generosity Week in your church to coincide with your Harvest Festival. As churches celebrate Harvest at different times this could be at any time between August to October. Resources will be available to churches from July, and there will be webinars during the summer to offer guidance on running a Generosity Week at your church.

You may wish to use all the resources available or just a selection. Resources for churches include:

  • A Generosity Service: Worship materials for two Sundays at the beginning and end of Generosity Week
  • Guidance showing how to engage the wider community with The Generosity Week
  • Activities to help your church discover and share its generous stories
  • A social media and marketing toolkit to help you promote your church’s Generosity Week.

Generosity can be shown through everyday acts of kindness that make a huge difference to peoples’ lives. To encourage these acts of generosity we’re also encouraging people to take part in The Generosity Week Challenge.

This includes:

  1. Eight podcasts exploring generosity stories from different churches across the country
  2. Daily devotionals on a Generosity theme
  3. A daily generosity activity to complete each day of The Generosity Week. 

 

Grant funding

The Diocese of Rochester has established a Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund to help parishes in difficulties over the current situation.  Information can be found here: 

Ecclesiastical Insurance has produced some very good guidance on grant funding.  As well as lists of trusts and advice on writing applications there are tips for churches fundraising during the COVID 19 crisis.  https://www.ecclesiastical.com/church/fundraising/

If you are running a church project which has been affected by Coronavirus a number of charities have made funding available to fill in the gap.  Most of these won’t be relevant to church groups, but for those running community based projects there may be something here:  https://www.grantsonline.org.uk/coronavirus.html

Stewardship campaigns

A giving campaign is an effective way to encourage people to review their giving, set up a standing order and sign up for Gift Aid.  They can make a real difference to parish finances.  Here is guidance on running a giving campaign:

Running a stewardship campaign

Here are some templates for brochures and forms.  You can use them as they are, or adapt them for your church.

At the centre of a giving campaign is a presentation to your congregation.  This is usually during the main Sunday Service, but can be done at other times, to suit your particular circumstances
Stewardship presentation

After the presentation it is important to follow up with people who haven’t responded.  It can be done tactfully, and will work wonders for the effectiveness of your campaign.  Here are some suggestions on how to go about it.
Follow up guidance

Worship Resources

There are well over 2,000 verses in the Bible about money, wealth and possessions.  You can find some scripture readings on giving and generosity here

For hymn suggestions relating to generosity and stewardship click here

Legacies

Our churches are very important to our congregations, and many people want to leave a gift to their parish church in their will. Every year PCCs across the country receive around £45 million from legacy giving – an average of £3,000 per parish each year, and these legacies make a huge difference to many churches’ mission and ministry.

There is also a spiritual side to leaving something to the church. We are reminded that everything we have in this life has been given to us by God, so we may wish to give something back.

Your church PCC needs to agree a policy on how legacy income will be spent. Many people will gladly leave a gift in their will if they know the money will be used for a mission project, or to improve the building or facilities, but would be less keen for their gift being used just to fund every day running costs.  There is a template policy, which you can use as a starting point.

It’s helpful to have some low-key leaflets available at all times in your church.  An example which can be altered to suit is here or the Church of England has produced some materials, available at https://www.churchprinthub.org/?cat=460, mostly for free.

https://www.churchlegacy.org.uk/ is the Church of England’s legacy website.

A Powerpoint presentation is available here, which can be used for further information.

Friends Groups

In many places people don’t go to church but really value the church building for its history, architecture and beauty.  They may not value the ministry which goes on inside the building (unless they want to get married there, or have a funeral), but if the church building was closed they would be up in arms. 

This is where Friends Groups are useful.  These groups exist to raise funds for the fabric of the church and in doing so take pressure off the small congregations whose responsibility it is to maintain the building.  Everything you need to know can be found at https://www.parishresources.org.uk/friends-schemes/

Get in contact

If you would like further support with your stewardship and fundraising, please contact:

  • Liz Mullins, Stewardship Advisor on: liz.mullins@rochester.anglican.org

(Please note Liz works part-time so may not pick up your email immediately)




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