Blog post by Rev. Amy Shanholtzer
I was about ten when I asked my dad, “So how much do you get paid anyway?” He didn’t answer. I could tell by the look on his face that I shouldn’t ask that question again. Money can be a touchy subject in some families.
Sometimes it’s a touchy subject in church too. We’ve criticized the church for talking too much about money, or heard someone else say it. We don’t talk about what we make, how we spend it, or even what God might think about what we do with what we have.
Honest conversations as disciples about how we use our financial resources are rare.
So it surprised me when I heard a pastor describe a stewardship training workshop as having a very pastoral approach. It surprised me even more when Rev. Jim Scovil said that he and another clergy colleague agreed that they finally had the tools that they needed to affirm the ministry and gifts of church members.
After completing Turning Tippers Into Tithers, Rev. Scovil asked himself why he hadn’t done it before. “This program offers a healthy, pastoral approach to stewardship and giving. Our congregation, which averages 80 in worship, experienced a 50% increase in giving after learning and implementing this program last fall,” he said.
Members of Wollaston Congregational Church in Massachusetts found the information presented in the training provocative. “It really smashes some assumptions,” said Peter Johnston, who serves as Minister of Music. “The training gives you a sense of where your church is and where it should go. It really helped us to put together a thoughtful stewardship program for our church. This program isn’t a magic bullet and it does require some work.”
Six years ago this congregation had 25 people in worship; this summer they received and celebrated their 102nd member.
The Rev. Marlayna Schmidt described her congregation as a small church with dwindling membership and money. “They hadn’t done a stewardship campaign in 25 years,” she said. The team didn’t have high expectations going into the training but felt they had little to lose. “Afterwards they said ‘This was the best church workshop I’ve ever attended,’” she said.
Your church has the opportunity to participate in this stewardship training event on Saturday, September 25, 2010 at Christ Church United Methodist in Charleston, WV. You can register your team of 3-5 (pastor and/or Treasurer, Financial Secretary, Finance Chairperson, Stewardship Chairperson or others designated by your church) by September 7, 2010 for $125.00. This includes training materials, 2 books and lunch for the team. This event is sponsored by the Congregational Development Team in partnership with the United Methodist Foundation of WV, Inc.
More information and registration materials are available at wvumc.org. We hope to see you there!
Rev. Shanholtzer is the Director of Evangelism and Congregational Development for the WV Conference of the UMC. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.