Five steps to support giving: Step 1 Building a generous culture

First published on: 21st January 2022

Last week we suggested five practical steps to support giving in 2022. This week we explore the first step a little more: building a generous culture.

 

Just decide to do it

In the American TV series, The Newsroom, Charlie Skinner tells cable news anchor Will McAvoy, “In the old days, of about ten minutes ago, we did the news well. You know how? We just decided to”

The first step on our shared journey, to do stewardship well is to just decide to do it. Being intentional about stewardship does not magic up money or magic away the challenges. But it changes our money talk; it changes how we think, feel and act around stewardship. Here’s three suggestions where we can ‘just decide to’:

Decide to know our numbers.

Writing about the history of exploration Daniel J Boorstin comments, “The great obstacle to discovering the shape of the earth, the continents, and the ocean was not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge”. Parish finance can be like that sometimes. We think we know so we don’t look for what we need to know.

So get to know the numbers. If you’ve not got one then paint your ministry by numbers with a simple budget. If you have a budget share it creatively; they are numbers congregations need to know: simple presentations; infographics, leaflets; social media. Tell us what works for you. Dig deeper with some handy tools for financial analysis; explore options to maximise income streams.

Top Tip: Set up a team to oversee stewardship – or reset your finance team with a wider stewardship remit

 

Decide to Start a conversation.
 

Numbers matter but if we only do numbers we focus on problems and create a ‘find and fix it’ culture. Good shared stories build a generous culture so let’s start talking together. Our church is a community of faith so these are holy conversations: rooted in prayer and scripture; realistic about our challenges and capacity.

For a small finance group, a PCC evening or a weekend away-day try there are great resources. Here’s just two to get conversation going: Generosity Toolkit from the National Giving Team and the simple Sacred Spaces and Stewardship discussion starter. There’s more; just ask.
 
Top Tip: ask the Resources Team to help get the conversation started


 

Decide to plan for action.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “If I have six hours to chop down a tree, I spend the first four sharpening the axe” Our holy conversations help create a shared story of how things could be different, how things might look. Before rushing to action, sharpen the axe with a good, manageable plan.

There is more we could do than we have time and resources for. Stewardship is a culture building marathon, not a problem solving sprint; although sometimes we have to pick up the pace! So slowly and steadily work up a workable stewardship plan.

Top Tip: Start on a stewardship calendar: a date to start budget prep and one to share it with the congregation. A date for a PCC evening or away-day for some stewardship conversations. A date for the finance/stewardship group to do some forward planning.

 

In the old days, of about ten minutes ago, we did stewardship well. You know how? We just decided to”
 


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