There are many reasons a congregation may not be giving to their full potential. In the case of St. John Lutheran Church in Luverne, Minn., “It appeared that they may have been giving to the budget instead of giving to the Lord,” said Consecrated Stewards Guest Leader Rev. Evan Schiller. “[Going through] Consecrated Stewards encouraged members to give ‘as the Lord had prospered them’ and to recognize the need of the giver to give and not the need of the church to receive. It really is a journey of discovery.
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod defines Christian stewardship as the free and joyous activity of the child of God and God’s family, the church, in managing all of life and life's resources for God's purposes. Stewardship is not just a matter of money, but also a sharing of the Good News of Jesus, using our time and talents for ministry, and taking care of God's creation and our own bodies.
For a whole-congregation approach to stewardship, LCEF offers the Consecrated Stewards (CS) program. For smaller groups in Bible study, consider ordering the six-week Bible study, "Journey of Discovery."
St. John’s, Luverne Results
St. John’s journey through Consecrated Stewards began on August 24, 2014. St. John has nearly 600 baptized members and have 215 in weekly worship attendance, according to lcms.org. When the congregation celebrated Consecration Sunday on Oct. 12, 2014, “There were approximately 60 more commitments than the year before which is an indication that many were receptive to the CS message,” said Schiller. “Increased Bible study was one of the goals of the CS Committee. They asked volunteers to host Bible studies in their homes using the CS Bible Studies and they were blessed by a good response. The number of individuals attending weekly Bible studies more than doubled during the CS emphasis. And the special CS Guest Leader Bible Study that I led was very well attended by two to three times the number who normally attended Sunday large group Bible study,” said Schiller.
When asked for an example of an “ah-ha” moment, one in which a better understanding of Christian stewardship really seemed to ‘click’ … Schiller responded, “For some in the congregation this really took place on Consecration Sunday as members brought forward their commitments, and then celebrated God’s goodness as they rejoiced at the Celebration Sunday Dinner. In fact, they are already talking about offering the next CS phase in 2015, “Consecrated, Lord to Thee!”
Consecrated Stewards is designed to energize your congregation members in their on-going giving. It is not tied to the church budget but to the need of the giver to give. Most congregations that participate report increases in annual commitments of 15% to 35%.*
> Ties the commitment process to the Sunday morning act of worship.
> Does not have members asking other members one-on-one for a financial commitment.
> Can be used any time during the year.
Going beyond the New Consecration Sunday Stewardship Program, it provides:
> Solid Lutheran Bible study materials and sermon outlines.
> Guidance for stewardship witness talks.
> A process to celebrate congregation ministries.
> Publicity and communication aids.
> An optional workshop for leaders.
> An LCEF trained and certified Guest Leader.
To learn more how Consecrated Stewards can help energize your members, contact LCEF Ministry Support at 314-885-6444.
* Individual results vary. Increases in amounts committed to annual envelope giving typically range between 15% and 35%. A congregation's results could be more or less. LCEF cannot guarantee results in a Consecrated Stewards program or the fulfillment of the commitments. Success depends upon the cooperation and participation of congregation members.