Ideas and Resources to Support Parish Ministry, Part IV

Ideas and Resources to Support Parish Ministry, Part IV

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Weekly Offering Envelopes

A weekly envelope system works well as a collection vehicle for some parishioners, a reminder for others, and a way to send offerings when attending Church is not possible. A significant percentage of the offerings may be received through the mail.

Consider offering envelopes for Sunday School students and encourage teachers to instill in their students the Orthodox Christian principles of Stewardship.

Assistance and Additional Resources

Though we have made every effort to anticipate the needs of the parish stewardship team, the Department of Stewardship, Outreach & Evangelism is available to assist you in your efforts. Contact the Department by email (Stewardship@goarch.org), fax (646-706-0057) or by telephone (646-519-6160).

If I do not feel a sense of joy in God’s creation, if I forget to offer the world back to God with thankfulness, I have advanced very little upon the Way.” Metropolitan Kallistos Ware

 

Home Visitations & Small Groups

When Jesus visited Zacchaeus in his home, he was converted by Christ’s visit and acceptance of him. We are called to emulate the ministry of Jesus, visiting our parishioners, listening to them and seeking to re-engage them in the life of the Church. Personal, in-home visits are absolutely the most effective method of stewardship ministry. It’s PERSONAL!

Establish a Stewardship Ambassador Committee made up of dedicated stewards. It is critical that a large enough number of ambassadors is recruited so that no one has to visit more than 10 homes.

Conduct training programs for the ambassadors regarding vision of the parish, the Orthodox Christian understanding of stewardship, the importance of listening attentively, validating concerns, reflective listening and more. Practice answering objections / concerns / complaints in a positive manner. Encourage ambassadors to make a mental note of potential areas of involvement for the person(s) being visited, as well as special needs for which various ministries of the parish might be of assistance. Also, any pastoral issues should be referred confidentially to the priest.

Ambassadors should be given a list of stewards for visitation that is made up of people with similar interests, activities, circumstances and involvements. Geography should also be taken into consideration.

Optimally, all stewards could be visited over the span of a year. If there are not enough volunteers to do so, the process could be spread over 2 or 3 years.

Small Group Gatherings or Focus Groups are more effective than mail-only, but not as effective as individual visitations. To set up a small group or focus group, a formal invitation is sent to participate in a group meeting at a home or fellowship area of the church.  This program should include testimonials and allow for each individual to share their experiences and ideas for the church. These meetings must be moderated carefully to keep the tone positive and constructive.

Moderators should also be making mental notes as in the home visit for ministry needs and potential parish involvements of the participants.

The goal of personal contact is to engage the individual in the life of the parish. It is more important for the ambassador to be interested rather than interesting. People want to be heard and for their opinions and ideas to be considered. This will require effective and personal follow-up.

 

Source: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Stewardship Resources Handbook for 2017; for more information also see Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Stewardship Ministries.

As part of an on-going series on stewardship, OCN is pleased to share excerpts from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Stewardship Resources Handbook for 2017.  This series hopes to assist your parish Stewardship team in getting started and planning a full year of Stewardship Ministry. The handbook contains guidelines for preparation of a parish Stewardship Program, updated letters, a sample commitment card and new member card, various campaign formats and ideas for parish stewardship ministry.

Funding for news from this department is provided through the support of OCN viewers and by Leadership 100. 

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