Where do you go to get information and resources for your Stewardship ministry in your congregation or your non-profit organization? How do you organize and implement your Stewardship plan? Where do you go to get your questions answered? How do you get new and creative thinking for this year’s Stewardship activities? For many, there are stewardship leaders in your regional or national denominational offices who are available to provide answers to these questions. They are people with a passion for generosity, stewardship and the mission of the church. But not all denominational leaders engage in this work equally.
We recently had the opportunity to attend the Stewardship Kaleidoscope gathering offered by a joint collaboration of the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Stewardship Kaleidoscope is an annual gathering of stewardship leaders from these two and a few other denominations who work in stewardship ministry. The annual event is held in various locations around the country. It provides the opportunity not only for stewardship leaders, but also for local pastors and lay leaders to engage in stewardship conversations and presentations.
This year the event was held in Minneapolis and was attended by over 300 people in person, and another 125 plus people participating online. People in attendance were from the PCUSA, the ELCA, the Presbyterian Church in Canada, the United Church of Canada, The United Church of Christ, the United Methodist Church, the Disciples of Christ Church, and the Episcopal Church. The three-day event included 4 Plenary speakers, 4 Workshop sessions with 40 different workshops for participants to choose from, and Opening and Closing Worship Services.
There were 21 sponsors who had booths with information about their particular work and resources available for stewardship ministry. The wide variety of experience, stewardship ministry work, people filled with passion for the ministry of the church and the work of non-profit organizations was amazing to see. To be emersed in the knowledge and years of experience, for the three days of the event was amazing. The workshops ranged from the “How-to’s” of an annual stewardship campaign, to worship resources. There were workshops on generosity, stewardship committee work, Capital Campaigns of all shapes and sizes, and some that were more theoretical in nature wondering about the future of giving and generosity.
Along with the excellent plenary presenters, the wonderful workshop presenters and the inspirational worship experiences, one of the greatest aspects of an event like this, is the opportunity to have conversations with folks from a wide variety places and situations during breaks, meals and free time opportunities. There is so much to learn from those conversations. And it is the opportunity to make new acquittances and friendships that can extend into the future. For those of us who have attended these events in the past it is often the opportunity to catch up with former colleagues and friends. For those attending for the first time, there may be people who you have met before or worked with in a previous setting. And there is always the opportunity to meet new folks and to learn from their experience.
What events like these prove over and over again is that we are not alone. There are folks out there who have been through what we are going through. There are those who have found their way through the situations that you may currently be facing. And there are those who have the expertise and skills to help you maneuver through your particular situation to find new and excellent ways to grow in your congregation or non-profits generosity and fundraising. Gatherings like Stewardship Kaleidoscope provide the occasion to share and to receive creative resources that enhance the ministries that you have been called to be involved in.
Scott Jacob, Sr. Program Director
The James Company