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Preparation for the Stewardship Year
Prior to launching the parish stewardship year, a number of initial steps may be taken to inform and inspire parish members regarding the vision and mission of the parish. These activities may include some or all of the following:
- Stewardship sermon or series of sermons given by the Priest;
- Mailing of the stewardship brochure and a cover letter encouraging members to consider their blessings and to welcome the visit by a member of the stewardship/outreach team (the letter should personalized by computer merge with the Steward’s name, address and greeting, producing a personalized letter for each Steward); and
- A reception, luncheon, or other special fellowship activity highlighting the ministry and mission of the parish – both past and present.
In all of these steps, care must be taken to maintain a positive approach. People are not motivated to respond to Jesus Christ and to seek deeper levels of devotion through fear or pressure. The focus should be the individual’s engagement with Jesus Christ. Connect the individual to Jesus Christ and encourage devotion, love and commitment to follow His will.
The Stewardship Commitment Form should be preprinted with the Steward’s name, address, and a place for the amount to be offered. The name and address should be merged onto the form or labels may be prepared and placed in the designated area. A sample Commitment Form is provided in this booklet. Visit www.Stewardship.goarch.org for an editable version. Prepare additional blank Commitment Forms to be made available in the church office and in the welcome packets for new members.
Sharing the Vision
It is critical that we share the vision of the parish and include all or part of the parish mission statement (if one has been formulated) or aspects of the mission statement of the Archdiocese:
The mission of the Archdiocese is to proclaim the Gospel of Christ, to teach and spread the Orthodox Christian faith, to energize, cultivate and guide the life of the Church in the United States of America according to the Orthodox Christian faith and Sacred Tradition.
The Archdiocese sanctifies the faithful through the Divine Worship, especially the Holy Eucharist and other Sacraments, building the spiritual and ethical life of the faithful in accordance with the Holy Scriptures, Sacred Tradition, the doctrines and canons of the Ecumenical and local Synods, the canons of the Holy Apostles and Fathers of the Church and of all other Synods recognized by the Orthodox Church, as interpreted by the Great Church of Christ in Constantinople.
The Archdiocese serves as a beacon, carrier and witness of the message of Christ to all persons who live in the United States of America, through Divine Worship, preaching, teaching and living the Orthodox Christian faith. As to its intra-Orthodox, intra-Christian and inter-religious activities, the Archdiocese follows the positions and guidelines established by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
In all communication, an effort should be made to highlight at least three major accomplishments in ministry of the past year and three ministry goals for the coming year. People are more likely to respond positively to a vision that produces results. It is suggested that those ministry goals and accomplishments include youth ministry and ministry to seniors, as well as some form of outreach or service to the community as well as mission work.
“…every tree is known by its own fruit. So also is love known by its own fruit and the love of which Christianity speaks is known by its own fruit – revealing that it has in itself the truth of the eternal.” Soren Kierkegaard, Works of Love, (19th century)
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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