The Parish Stewardship Program: An Overview, part I

The Parish Stewardship Program: An Overview, part I

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STEWARDSHIP AND THE STEWARD

Orthodox Christian Stewardship is a way of life which acknowledges our responsibility before God. A primary goal of Stewardship is to promote our spiritual growth and strengthen our faith. We become Stewards when we believe in God and begin to act on our beliefs. As Orthodox Christians, we affirm that every aspect of our lives comes as a gift from Him. By our faith, we are called to cheerfully offer back to God a portion of the gifts with which we have been blessed.

Parish leaders are called to lead the people to a new way of seeing things – a new way of life – with words that echo the greatest commandment to “love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength,” calling others to commit their lives to Jesus Christ in such a way that leads to the joy of knowing Him personally and profoundly.

An Orthodox Christian Steward is an active participant in the life of the Church. The parish encourages all who accept the Orthodox Faith to become practicing Stewards. Each year the Steward is expected to carefully review his or her personal circumstances and make a commitment of time, talent, and treasure to support the Parish and her Ministries, which in turn support the National Ministries of our Archdiocese, Metropolises, and related institutions.

MAKE YOUR PARISH STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM A YEAR-ROUND EFFORT

Through creative understanding of the specific make-up of your parish, the Parish Stewardship Team should tailor the Parish Stewardship Program to have the greatest impact on as many parishioners as possible. Stewardship goes hand-in-hand with outreach as we engage new & existing members into the life of the parish. It is also critical that we continue to strengthen the connection of existing members to the parish. As people feel more connected to the parish, they also want to offer their time, talent and treasure in support of her ministries.

Though many parishes designate one month as stewardship month, the parish Stewardship Committee, in consultation with the parish priest should plan a year-round calendar for stewardship ministry. Awareness and understanding of the importance of stewardship can be increased throughout the year in the Sunday sermon, speakers of all ages sharing the importance of the Church in their lives, Sunday bulletins, newsletters, Stewardship literature, Stewardship PowerPoint presentations, slide shows or videos of parish life, community luncheons, and much more.

STEWARDSHIP AND BUDGET

A successful Orthodox Christian Stewardship Program should provide for the entire Parish Ministries and Operating Budget as well as the growth of those ministries. The parish, in time, will not find it necessary to depend on festivals and other events to meet its financial responsibilities. When a parish first enters into the Orthodox Christian Stewardship Program, proceeds from such events supplement Stewardship revenue shortfalls in order to meet the parish budget. After a few years of concentrated effort and a positive attitude, Stewardship revenues should completely support and provide total coverage and even allow for growth of the budget. Once this has been achieved, festivals and other events may be seen as community events and outreach opportunities, with proceeds going to capital improvements and/or the philanthropic work of the Church.

 

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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