Taking a Congregation’s Stewardship Temperature

If you follow this blog with any regularity, you know that I occasionally share thoughts, ideas and questions about stewardship. Today I am sharing about an in-progress idea with all of you. 

I am currently serving a congregation as its Intentional Interim Director of Worship, Music and Stewardship. This is basically a nice way of saying that I am doing a lot of work cultivating lay leadership, promoting collaboration and imagination, and helping the congregation see its ministries in new ways, while hopefully equipping the people in the congregation to be able to articulate “why they do what they do.”

In helping the congregation think about stewardship, I asked the people in the faith community to think about what they are grateful for.

After some thought, I invited them to take a piece of wood home and write, decorate, paint, or use however they see fit, to highlight something (or things) they are grateful for in life, faith and as part of the work and ministry of the congregation. The boards are slowly starting to trickle in, as you can see what have been returned so far in the picture below.

The beginnings of a Gratitude Wall
The beginnings of a Gratitude Wall

In looking at these and spending some time with them, the thought hit me that this really might be a good way of guaging the congregation’s stewardship temperature, or at least of measuring where they are in terms of their understanding of themselves as stewards. What do you think of the responses so far?

The responses are all over the board from the personal of naming an individual, to societal rights, to broadly used faith terms, recognition of generations and their gifts, the gifts of vocations and service, and even thankfulness and gratitude for the love of the community. There is thankfulness for God’s love in this, but its interesting how so far that hasn’t actually been stated as directly.

My hope is that ultimately all of these boards will be assembled together and put on a wall in the church called a “Gratitude Wall,” to help the congregation see what it collectively is grateful for. This might be a helpful place of reminder and grounding for mission and stewardship. It might also be a good starting place for helping the congregation go deeper in seeing themselves as stewards with many vocations, entrusted with different gifts and strengths to do God’s work in the world.

I wonder, as I share this in-progress snapshot with you:

Would this exercise work in your context? 

Would it have some value in helping capture the stories of mission, service, gratitude, etc. that exist in your community?

We’ll see how it goes for us. In the meantime, its a work in progress much like life and ministry.

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