Thanksgiving, Remembrance and Giving

Each calendar year offers the church help and context for giving, with All Saints’ Day and Thanksgiving. It also coincides with the time most of us are asking people to make a financial pledge to support the annual function and mission of their church. There is an overall, spiritual message of stewardship when you look at both special days together.

  • All Saints’ Day we remember those who we love and are no longer physically with us. Our family, friends, and fellow parishioners. It is also a perfect time to remember those who gave during their lifetime to support a church we have inherited and love. Maybe we didn’t know them personally, but they have impacted our lives. Some even made a planned gift upon their death to continue to support their church. We should remember and give thanks.
  • Thanksgiving Day is dedicated to giving thanks! What a perfect holiday. As Christians we are called to give back to God, with thanksgiving, for all we have received in our lives. We are not called to figure out how much of a budget we should be responsible for in comparison to others. We are asked to give in comparison to our own life’s values- what is important to us- what we are grateful for!

This Thanksgiving think about what you are grateful for, who you are grateful for and who you see no longer but give thanks for the lives they lived. Remember all and give thanks.

And of course, church leadership must remember to thank those who give so that we may continue to live, worship, and serve together- in community.

Appreciating Potential

One of our favorite activities with clients is touring their buildings and grounds. As they explain original features and why additions or changes were made, we learn much about a faith community’s history and values.

Sometimes these conversations also reveal regret over changed reality. Many an education wing was built post WWII, when babies were booming and church membership was a societal expectation. Architectural designs with multiple levels accessed by three-steps-up then four-steps-down and no elevator, with the only bathrooms 3 levels back, are an embarrassing frustration today. And all those empty classrooms…

Looking at one’s assets appreciatively can help leaders see potential rather than problems. It helps us see ourselves in the same way God sees us: gifted, strong, a clean slate.

Areas to examine appreciatively include people as well as buildings. What gifts for ministry has God assembled in your congregation? What do people love to do? What needs in the greater community are speaking to the hearts and minds of many in your congregation?

Regarding the greater community, invite some “outsiders” into your building, particularly those doing good works that align with your congregation’s values.  What outside needs could be beautifully met by those empty classrooms?  These potential partners, unaware of your dashed dreams of the past, may jump up and down with excitement about what could be done in the future – and they may even pay rent to do so.

Appreciative work results in a shared vision for a congregation’s future, directing strategic decision-making. It inspires support for changes such as a new partnership with a social service agency to use your space, or launching capital campaign to update buildings in order to make them accessible and comfortable.

Linda Buskirk

Free Consultation

Core Capital Campaigns is giving back in gratitude for God’s generosity. We are offering a free one-hour phone or online consultation about any fundraising, stewardship or strategic planning topic. Please email or call one of us to set up an appointment.

Leadership and Fundraising

How YOU can model leadership in fundraising?

For everything, there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. Ecclesiates 3:1

Lead by planning

  • Create a compelling fundraising plan that reaches all members of the congregation 
  • Involve new faces who can bring new ideas and energy to your efforts,
  • Try something new in your fundraising campaign. How about a ‘money minute’ homily?
  • Include online giving options to attract new members and those who joined online services during the pandemic

Lead with a Vision

  • Is your vision for the future Spirit-centered, future-focused and inclusive?
  • Be articulate about WHY you personally support the vision 
  • Find ways to share the vision with everyone. Do you teach children the value of giving?
  • Does your plan include ways of talking about money with those unfamiliar with stewardship?

Lead by Giving

  • Always make your own gift first after prayerful reflection
  • Try to increase the amount you give from the previous year
  • Be clear that giving includes time, talent and treasure
  • Invite everyone who is part of your community to give, no matter the size of their gift 
  • How easy for people of all generations to give in ways that speak to them? 

Lead with Prayer and Thanksgiving

  • Center your stewardship work in prayer, expressed in both corporate and personal prayer
  • Do you value the giver?  Thank every giver in various ways for all their gifts
  • Ask God’s blessing on the gifts and pledges received on a specific day of celebration
  • Make it FUN for everyone, through a shared meal, acknowledgement or special event
  • Have you challenged people to find joy in giving their resources to do God’s work?