Happiest New Year to all of you! Grace Pomroy and I have been leading the Stewardship Leaders Program at Luther Seminary since the spring of 2020. As the pandemic raged, and church leaders experienced seismic shifts in how ministry is done, we continued publishing a weekly newsletter for stewardship leaders across the church. And now that things are settling and wholly different, we are curious. Grace and I are curious about you and your ministry contexts. We want to know you better—who you are, who you serve, and what kind of support we might be able to provide through the newsletter and other online resources.
In October and November we sent out a survey asking about you, asking for feedback on the newsletter, and asking about how we might support you through the seminary’s newest online platform, Faith+Lead. To those of you who responded to our Stewardship Newsletter Feedback Survey, thank you! We learned a lot about how we can serve you more effectively, in terms of content and timing. This is a summary of what we heard from you.
Who are you?
Ever wondered who else is reading this newsletter each week? We have, too! We asked a few questions about your roles as leaders of stewardship in your context, and based on your responses, this is what we know about you. The majority of the stewardship leaders who responded to our survey (65%) are between the ages of 45 and 64 and many of you are women (62%). You bring a lot of experience to the table: half of you have been doing stewardship work for 9 years or longer and just over half of you are lay leaders. About a third are pastors of congregations, but many of you serve in lay roles on church staffs, leadership teams, or stewardship teams.
You each play varied roles in stewardship leadership, and these are the top five:
- Thanking people
- Telling Stories
- Leading Worship
If you have an annual stewardship campaign in your congregation, most often it will be in October and November, and almost 20% of you do not have an annual campaign.
We are grateful to know just a little bit more about you because it will help us develop content you will resonate with and support your growth as a stewardship leader.
Grace and I were excited to see that more than 80% of you are satisfied with the content we have been providing. We were eager to learn what topics will serve you and your ministry best in 2023. I have divided your responses into two basic categories: biblical and theological perspectives on stewardship, and the practical strategies for leading stewardship in your context. We will address each of these important topics during the 2023 calendar year. Thank you so much for helping us shape the content offerings you want to engage with!
Biblical and Theological Perspectives on Stewardship
- Connection between faith and finances
- Year-Round Stewardship
- Narrative Budget
- Talking about stewardship with CYF
- What the Bible has to say about stewardship and giving
Practical Stewardship Strategies
- Annual stewardship program
- Incorporating stewardship into worship and liturgy
- Generosity Trends across different demographics
- Finding alternative income streams outside the offering plate
- Stewarding Time and Talents
We’ve also decided to make some changes to the frequency of the newsletter based on what we heard from you. 42% of you want articles to read weekly and 58% would prefer content every other week or once a month. You are most likely to read articles in January, February, March, April, May, August, September, and October, and not as likely to read during June, July, November, and December. So, we will provide weekly content when you are most likely to engage with us, and we will provide bi-weekly or monthly content in the summer and during the holidays. The majority of you want articles with occasional video content sprinkled in so you may see that addition as well.
Luther Seminary’s online presence has grown tremendously since March of 2020, and we are very interested in learning more about how you are engaging with us in a virtual environment. Faith+Lead is our online platform and we offer all kinds of educational content—from podcasts to videos to online groups to courses and major events. Thank you so much for telling us about your current level of engagement as well as how you want to engage moving forward.
Currently, some of you have taken a course through Faith+Lead and some of you have participated in the Festival of Homiletics or downloaded an E-book. A few of you are members of the Learning Lab and a handful listen to our podcasts. Did you know that Faith+Lead launched a new website in Fall 2022? If you haven’t seen it, I encourage you to check it out and sign up for the Learning Lab to join the conversation.
The majority of you (85%!) are interested in a Funding Forward course, which will explore alternative ministry funding models outside of the offering plate. We’re so glad to hear that you are interested in that content! In 2023 we plan to share webinars, resources, and maybe even a course that dives deeper into this topic. In February, Grace Pomroy will be sharing what she’s been learning from her research project with over 100 congregations doing work in this area. As we begin creating new content in 2023, we’ll keep in mind your preference for shorter, more accessible content: hour-long online workshops and shorter videos.
A Creative Jam invitation!
Grace and I look forward to doing the ministry of stewardship alongside you. If you are interested in working with us to shape the content of the Stewardship Newsletter for the second half of 2023, give us your contact information here. We are in the midst of planning our first-ever Creative Jam for Spring 2023. This online gathering of about 10 people will include Grace and I, along with some stewardship thinkers and writers, and 3-4 or you. (There may or may not be actual jam involved…)
We are grateful for your engagement with us through the Stewardship Leaders Program newsletter and look forward to connecting with you on a deeper level in 2023.