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Stewardship for All Seasons Stories

Cohort 2: 2018 - 2019

The SAS program provided good materials and mentoring as we worked through this different approach, but the key is to have full buy-in from top leadership.  Our pastor provided strong leadership & we were consistent in presenting our goals from not just a financial need but as a direct connection to our mission and ministry.  While the number of pledges (at about 73% of active family units) did not significantly increase, the amount pledged did.  Overall pledges increased by 14.3% (exceeding our goal) and for those who had pledged in both 2018 & 2019, pledges increased over 20%. In addition, a special facilities repair/renovation appeal was a part of our SAS program, with a goal of $40,000, raised $50,850. - Mary Anne McKenzie, Christ the King, Denver, CO

As a redevelopment congregation, we struggle with the prospects of both short-term and long-term sustainability.  There has been much fear and anxiety in our system about whether we have a future as a congregation.  Coupled with our our redevelopment process, SAS equipped our congregation to not be fearful about our giving, but to look to what God is doing in our midst, and how our generosity can help us respond.  In 2018 we saw over 15% growth in giving, plus we were able to raise over $50,000 in capital to address deferred maintenance and building improvements.  The fear and anxiety around finances has dissipated and we have some individuals who are thinking of making estate gifts/legacy gifts because they want to make sure our long-term future can be realized.  SAS gave us the tools we needed, as a pastor and as a congregation, to lead not a campaign, but a cultural transformation. - Pr. Joel Rothe, Christ the King Lutheran, Denver, CO

The financial stewardship drive was highly successful. Eighty percent of those in our congregation who were contacted either directly or in follow-up calls responded with a Statement of Intent.  Further, we exceeded the aggressive goal we had set at the start by over 40%. Of course, now everyone who turned in a Statement of Intent needs to follow-through.  Hence, the year-round aspect is import I think. - Paul Ruths, Grace Lutheran, Colorado Springs

I asked the council to commit to SAS just a few months after I began my call as pastor. They had just weathered several difficult years of challenging conversations about their viability, resulting in moving from a full-time to part-time pastor, and moving from rented space to sharing space with St Laurence Episcopal Church. The incentive to name ministry initiatives right away focused our energy. As a result we called a (non-stipendiary) deacon and launched an occasional worship designed to bring the generations together in faith formation and relationship building in the context of worship. The fall stewardship campaign resulted in statements of intent going from $79,000 for 2018 to almost $94,000 for 2019. We added a fifth local organization to our benevolence and will continue with our practice of giving 10% of actual offerings to the Rocky Mountain Synod (up $1720). We are already planning a time for summer to identify ministry initiatives for 2020. - Pr. Kim Gonia, Risen Lord Lutheran, Conifer, CO

We set out with a goal of increasing our church's donations by an additional $47,000 over what was needed for the operating budget so that we could finance four new initiatives (or ministries): "Elders Alive!", "ABQ-Lu.", "Make A Joyful Noise", and "Christ's Church, Better Together".  We had not had a stewardship drive the previous year, so we didn't know what to expect.  Plus, we had lost many members in the last two years, so, again, this lack of information on who was going to pledge/how much people were going to pledge/how much of an increase people were going to pledge over previous years/etc., left us truly "in the dark". We did not know how much money we were going to be able to raise for the actual budget, let along these new ministries.  (Our budget for calendar year 2018 was in the "red" for almost the entire year.)
After receiving the pledges in December, we found that we had actually raised approximately $60,000 over previous years.  However, since we have fewer members, we discovered during the budget-setting period that we would need to scale down our ministries and only budget approximately $31,000 towards those ministries in order to present a balanced budget to the congregation for calendar year 2019.  (The Benevolence ministry, however, was not scaled back. We felt that this particular ministry should receive the exact amount {$7,000} that we had requested from the congregation.)  Since we had consistently said during our presentations that the other three ministries were created with the possibility of scaling their costs, the vast majority of the congregation was supportive when we presented this at the Annual Meeting in January.
We received very few negative comments throughout this process.  Those members who have remained in our congregation throughout the problems we have faced over the last few years have been very supportive.  There is still a number of people who do not pledge, so that is an area of opportunity for us.  Our committee is already discussing a "Special Appeal Drive" for this Spring and believe that we can reach out to those "non-pledge members" to commit more easily to this smaller appeal which will in turn make the concept of pledging more "appealing" to them in the future.  (pun intended) - Barbara Shirrod, St. Luke Lutheran, Albuquerque, NM

We had a very successful campaign and during this campaign we had 12 new members come forward.  10 of which pledged.  The specificity of asking for help, and the newfound focus that SAS helped us prepare was so important.  People want to be part of a church that is in transition and is coached well.  We felt very supported by Evan's coaching, and I know that as the redevelopment pastor his personal coaching was crucial. - Our Savior's Lutheran, Denver, CO

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