Below you will find some stewardship response resources to assist you in planning your congregation’s stewardship response emphasis. These resources are well-written response programs that intentionally provide a way to invite members to grow in their giving and share their gifts for ministry.
First, We Give of Ourselves is a three-year stewardship response program designed for congregations that wish to help members grow in their understanding of stewardship as a faith and discipleship practice.
Generosity and Mission
A video stewardship message from Bishop Jeffrey Clements (September 2016).
Because of God’s Great Mercy
If you have completed the three-year First, We Give of Ourselves program and are looking for another option, you might consider a resource produced by “Embracing Stewardship” entitled “Because of God’s Great Mercy.” You can order this resource by going to www.embracingstewardship.com
This resource contains helpful information about stewardship ministry and contains a financial stewardship response program that you might choose to use in your annual stewardship response program.
For a copy of the magazine contact Rev. Kurt Nordby, Assistant to the Bishop or visit this website.
This is an annual ELCA publication that is a helpful resource as you share the stories of our ELCA ministries. Articles, stories of ministries, and other helpful information help our members see the “big picture” of our ELCA’s participation in God’s mission. This resource can be ordered through the ELCA and are free of charge. You do have to pay shipping however. “Stories of Faith in Action” can also be accessed through the ELCA website where you can download the articles and information in the magazine for bulletin inserts, newsletter articles, displays, and the like.
Suggested Stewardship Response Programs
- New Consecration Sunday – Herb Miller
- – Eugene Grimm
- Walk with Jesus – Charles Lane
- “Found Faithful” – 2013 “Giving” magazine
Ministry Touching Lives in the Northern Illinois Synod
- benevolence (noun): the disposition to do good; good will; charitableness; love of mankind, accompanied with a desire to promote their happiness
- benevolence (noun): an act of kindness; a good deed done; charity given
- benevolence (noun): a species of compulsory contribution or tax, which has sometimes been exacted by arbitrary kings of England and falsely represented as a gratuity
A reflection by Virgil Gibson, an ELCA member from Gettysburg, Po.
I've been thinking about this lately, and it caused me to look back at my orientation and education as an adult convert to Christianity and Lutheranism. I had an intuitive sense that someone paid to get that Navy chaplain in that place to meet me at the right time. I knew that all the really remarkable work that went on in Jesus' name in the world required money to make it happen, but nobody seemed interested in telling me about it. When I first experienced a stewardship campaign, most of the talk was about the congregation's needs, so I still didn't make a full connection that we had partners "out there" in the world. I wondered about the budget line that said "District Fair Share," which later became "Benevolence Apportionment," but it didn't ring any bell for me.
So let's look at what Webster says:
Webster's Dictionary: benevolence
So that's it! Compulsory contribution- if you want to play in the game, you have to bring some of the chips! Didn't have much appeal did it? If that's how we speak of the wonderful opportunity to participate in Jesus' mission in the world, I'm afraid it will leave many folks flat. So what's in a name you may ask? I'd say it is everything.
So, let's hear how the ELCA describes it:
Mission Support frequently asked questions
Q: What is Mission Support? I've heard this term used, but I'm not sure what it means.
A: As members of the ELCA, we do mission together through our financial giving. We do God's work in ways that no individuaL congregation or synod can do alone. Mission Support is the portion of your weekly financial offering that your congregation shares with your synod and the churchwide organization, the other two expressions of this church.
"Mission" is a broad term used to describe all the ministries of this church. not just those involving ELCA missionaries who work with our Lutheran partners around the world. "Support" is the portion of members' offerings that makes all ELCA ministries possible, here at home and abroad.
Mission Support is the way that Lutherans experience sharing Jesus' message of love around the world; it is the lifeblood of the work that God does through the ELCA. providing almost 80 percent of budgeted support for our ministries.
Now that sounds more like it!
Maybe we need to be telling our friends how they can be part of Jesus' undying message to the world. From my viewpoint, it is part of the great, good news that Jesus has come into the world and that it needs to be boldly proclaimed at every congregational budget meeting, every new-member class, and every confirmation class. This is how we are making known the marvelous news that God is among us.
Facts and Figures for the Northern Illinois Synod
This is an updated resource reflecting ministry in our synod.
Q: What is Mission Support?
A: Mission Support is your congregation’s financial weekly offering that is shared with your synod and the churchwide organization. It is an undesignated gift to ELCA ministries that go beyond your congregation. These gifts are used where the need is the greatest, and they also make it possible for the ELCA’s 65 synods and the churchwide organization to keep ongoing commitments to ministry partners.
Q: What guides the churchwide organization in its decisions regarding Mission Support?
A: Churchwide Assemblies – this church’s highest legislative authority – guides and directs the work of the churchwide organization. The ELCA Church Council functions as the interim legislative authority between assemblies. The churchwide organization’s two strategic priorities are to accompany the nearly 10,000 congregations as growing centers for evangelical mission and to build the capacity of this church for evangelical witness and service in the world to alleviate poverty and to work for justice and peace. We are a church that believes God is calling us into the world – together.
Q: How does my congregation benefit from Mission Support?
A: Every congregation benefits as an active partner in the ELCA’s mission to share God’s love with the world. Mission Support funds the work of synods, and some of the portion of Mission Support that is shared with the churchwide organization returns back to your congregation and synod in the form of services, programs, resources or grants. Typically, more than 90 percent of a congregation’s offering remains in the congregation to help pay for local ministries, outreach, salaries, utilities, and the building, ensuring your congregation’s vital presence in your community. We are a church whose unity is in Jesus Christ, who gathers us around word and water, wine and bread. Together — we can do more than any congregation or synod could do alone.
Make it Simple
is a stewardship resource that has its foundation in 2 Corinthians 9:8 in which Paul says: “God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.” “Make it Simple” seeks to be a resource in growing stewards by focusing on God’s abundance and how we might live simply, generously, and faithfully in using the blessings that God gives to us.
There are four programmatic themes of “Make it Simple:” Following Jesus, Mt. 6:25-33; Facing the Truth, Mk. 4:37-41; Acting Together, Jn. 13:34-35; and Sharing Enough, Philippians 4:11b-13. These themes along with a variety of resources will help to grow healthy stewards, a sense of generosity, and an understanding of how we live in God’s abundance each day.
“Make it Simple” is a web-based resource and is available on the ELCA website by visiting elca.org/makeitsimple. Also available is a DVD set from Augsburg Fortress, order number: ITEM000666.
Why We Share Gifts for Ministry
The primary reason we share our gifts is out of joy and thanksgiving for God’s blessings, especially God’s Son, Jesus Christ and God’s grace through him. This is the foundational reason for our giving as God’s people in mission.
Another reason we share gifts is from a sense of responsibility. We believe that all we have are gifts from God and are called to manage wisely the gifts God has given to us. God’s gifts are given as a blessing to others.
We also give from a sense of mission. Through our giving of gifts, we and our congregation share in God’s mission. Because of the gifts you share, one’s congregation is able to grow in ministry and boldly proclaim the good news of God’s transforming love in Christ.
One’s faith commitment is another reason why we share gifts for ministry. The sharing of gifts for ministry is a concrete expression of the faith we have in God’s promises and abundant grace in Jesus Christ.
Perhaps one or all of the above describe your motivation for sharing gifts. Perhaps you have another reason that is only yours. Whatever your reason, the generous sharing of gifts enable us to live a richer life of discipleship as we give of ourselves and resources as a blessing to those around us each and every day.
Resources you can download or purchase.
- Stories of Faith in Action
- Youth With a Hopeful Future
- Dancing to Make a Difference
- Food Truck Ministry on the Move
- Gently Growing a Congregation
- Preparing Faithful Wise and Courageous Leaders
- A Priceless Gift
- Young Adults Put Faith in Action
- Your Offering at Work
- Your Offering at Work Poster
- Your Offering at Work Poster Black and White
- Mission Support FAQ Sheet
- Bulletin Insert: Dancing in Bethlehem
- Bulletin Insert: Dancing in Bethlehem Black and White
- Bulletin Insert: Followers of Christ
- Bulletin Insert: Followers of Christ Black and White
- Bulletin Insert: In Search of Hospitality
- Bulletin Insert: In Search of Hospitality Black and White
- Bulletin Insert: The Granola Bar Pastor
- Bulletin Insert: The Granola Bar Pastor Black and White
- Bulletin Insert: The Power of Art
- Bulletin Insert: The Power of Art Black and White