A healthy religious community is a source of spiritual sustenance and compassionate care for its members, as well as a center for civic engagement and a launching pad for social action. Underlying all these important aspects of its existence, a congregation is an institution, the life blood of which is the time, talent, and treasure that its members pour into it. A congregation relies on the generous financial support of its members to pursue its mission, and one of the minister’s tasks is to provide leadership in the area of stewardship and contextualize generosity within the framework of a meaningful human life.
A steward is someone who faithfully cares for something that does not actually belong to them. Stewardship in a religious community means that we recognize that the institution was built by others, that it is here to serve us today, and that we have a responsibility to care for the congregation for a generation of people who are yet to walk through these doors. For most of us, the church was waiting for us when we arrived, and it has been placed in our care as a sacred trust by those who came before us, that we might maintain it for those who will come in the future.
Since the very start of my ministerial career, I have studied congregational fundraising, educated myself about effective stewardship, and developed my leadership skills in this area. In addition to effectively supporting successful annual giving campaigns in congregations, I have done development work with Meadville Lombard Theological School and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. Fundraising and institutional stewardship are areas of strength for me and I recently helped the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair realize an 11% increase in pledging during their 2016 campaign.
The training video below was made in support of this years (2017) fund drive.