This year for our stewardship campaign, we decided to try something different. Our congregation has never been much for traditional stewardship pledges, especially since many of us now do our giving through automatic electronic transfer.
But we still wanted to bring attention to stewardship, especially to how much it actually costs for some our basic church functions on a regular basis. So we decided to try a stewardship giving tree. The idea is similar to that our Christmas giving trees that will be going up in many other congregations as the holiday season approaches, but instead of hanging items needed by adopted family members (e.g.s – boots for a 9-yr-old girl or a book for a 4-yr-old boy), we’ve hung envelopes with our various monthly expenses on them as well as a few other regular expenses:
- Natural gas
- Copy machine
- City water
- Bi-monthly Upper Room subscription
- Snow plowing ($XX per event)
As we progress through our 5-week stewardship series, we are encouraging people to take envelopes from the tree – items/bills they wish to “sponsor” for a month or two. They should put their contributions in the envelopes themselves so we can both know what the contribution is for and track how well this experiment is going. The beauty of the envelopes is that even after we’ve taken down the tree and moved on from our stewardship campaign, we can keep a basket of the envelopes out throughout the year.
We are pretty excited about this new endeavor. It keeps people aware of what our necessary expenses are (without shoving an often-confusing spreadsheet in front of their noses), and it is more interactive than a basic pledge campaign. Plus, it gives congregation members a little bit more ownership of what’s going on in the church building itself. The hope is that they’ll feel even more engaged when they can say, “I’m sponsoring the electric bill this month,” or “I’m sponsoring the snow plowing today.”
Since we just started yesterday, we don’t have much of a gauge on how effective this will be yet. But we’ll let you know how it goes! 🙂