Together, let’s reimagine the abundant gifts of God…
What is Stewards of Abundance?
Stewards of Abundance is a strategic leadership program for Local Church leaders (pastors, councils, trustees, stewardship committees, etc) to celebrate the joyful generosity in their own communities. Over the course of a year, leaders will engage in an assessment of their financial strength, be coached in modern philanthropic techniques, and develop a strategy for year-round stewardship – including annual campaigns, capital campaigns, and planned giving.
A pilot of seven churches will begin their work in August with shared reading; a discovery session with the pastor, moderator, treasurer, and other pertinent leadership; and a financial trend and capacity assessment. Leadership will participate in personal reflections that impact their own giving stories, as well as explore teachings of stewardship, generosity, and abundance from our Christian tradition. Leaders will further discover best practices for giving, and create goals for their year-round stewardship program.
In September, the church will kick off its year-round stewardship program, creating a pattern that celebrates abundance, inspires ministry, and enables generosity. Leaders will begin inviting congregants to reimagine the gifts of God present in their midst.
Depending on the fiscal year of the church, an approach to annual giving that intentionally considers and invites total church participation will be crafted, and leadership coached to achieve its goals. (And, of course, a successful celebratory gathering will be shared!)
Armed with the financial trend and capacity assessment, leaders will also be coached in considering and creating strategies for both planned giving and capital campaigns. In the spring, a time of reflection and evaluation will be shared between the church and their coach in order to move into the new year with the appropriate support and structures to continue being stewards of abundance.
Associate Conference Minister Daniel Ross-Jones staffs this endeavor, with support from other individuals along the way. In addition to his ministerial qualifications, Daniel holds a master of public administration degree in nonprofit management from SF State and a certificate in religious fundraising from the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving at the Lilly School of Philanthropy of Indiana University.
Local churches selected for this exciting pilot are underwritten by contributions to Our Church’s Wider Mission and Friends of the Conference. The only additional cost to participate is a commitment by the participating church to increase its OCWM contribution by 10%, as well as a modest $15 per person fee for meals and supplies at in-person gatherings (fall and spring).
Application Details & Program Requirements
Local Churches interested in applying must complete the application form located on the NCNC-UCC website no later than July 5, 2017. The application must be endorsed by the pastor and moderator/president; invitations to participate will be extended to the pastor, church council/consistory (including treasurer), and stewardship committee.
Be sure to have copies of your 2014, 2015, and 2016 budgets. They will be uploaded during the application process. Additionally, you will need to provide the budgeted amount of pledges for each year, as well as the projected number of pledging units. You will need to identify whether or not your goals for each were met.
If your church operates on a fiscal year that is not aligned with the calendar year, consider the fiscal year that ended in each year. (For example, answer 2014 information with the 2013-14 fiscal year.)
Applications will be received from all interested and qualified Local Churches. Successful applications will demonstrate an eagerness to engage in an intensive, yearlong process of self-reflection, strategic planning, and change management.
Selected churches will reflect the diversity of our Conference from within the applicant pool. Finally, churches that are not selected for the pilot may find support from the National Setting or the Center for Progressive Renewal. Conference Staff will be pleased to make a warm introduction to appropriate individuals.
In order to be considered for the pilot, Local Churches must have actively contributed to OCWM Basic Support in at least two of the prior three years.
Additionally, Local Churches must be served by a Settled pastorate, or a Designated Term pastorate with at least two years remaining in the term. Unfortunately, Local Churches served by Interim or Supply pastorates, or in Designated Terms with less than two years remaining in the term, are not being considered at this time.
Following the pilot period, Conference Staff will discern with the Philanthropy & Stewardship Committee and Conference Council as to the possible expansion of Stewards of Abundance to the entire Conference in 2019.
To apply, click here to complete the application form by the priority deadline of July 5, 2017. Ensure you have all materials outlined uploaded and submitted by that time. Applications following the deadline will not be accepted. Incomplete applications will be considered late applications, and not accepted.