The 98 stewardship conference participants who attended Inspire! Ask! Thank! the diocesan wide event held at the Synod Office, April 16, 2016, learned about Bishop Melissa’s personal leadership in the abundant life we live in our diocese. Quoting John 10:10 “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly”, she spoke about actively pursuing her personal generosity. It was gratifying when several people joined her by the end of the day.
Beyond the theology and personal commitment, attendees learned practical skills including communicating effectively, utilizing databases, asking people for gifts, personal and liturgical forms of thanksgiving.
There is a new attitude about stewardship. As one commented: “Thank You. The attitude behind everything is very inspiring.”
For example, they learned the importance of giving before you ask, and that God is already working in the lives of those you ask. Asking is about doing God’s work, accomplished through the ministry of the church. Being prepared with information for givers, and thanking them frequently are also keys to successful financial stewardship.
A typical response in the evaluations was “Enjoyable, refreshing, educational and learned lots!” Another said they were “filled with hope by acknowledging abundance – not scarcity!”
A planned workshop about Stewardship with Children was cancelled at the last moment; many were disappointed. It will definitely be added at a future conference.
People suggested other topics too. They’d like to hear more about the theology of stewardship, the stewardship of buildings, crowd funding for projects, more about effective use of social media, stewardship in multicultural and multilingual contexts, planned giving and the use of narrative budgets. The plenary and workshop presentations are available on the diocesan website.