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ELCIC Strategy for Stewardship

 

ELCIC STRATEGY FOR STEWARDSHIP 2006–2012


Prepared for National Church Council, March 2005

Approved by NATIONAL CHURCH COUNCIL, March 2005
Endorsed at ELCIC Nation Convention July, 2005

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Stewardship Action Plan

Stewardship Action Plan Table Year Planned Activities
 
2005 National Coordinator for Stewardship, Barbara Fast continues until October 31,2005
2005 Assistant to the National Bishop for Synodical Relations names new National Coordinator. Coordinator to begin November 2005
2005 Synod Bishops appoint Synod Consultants for at least a one-year term. (This may be a renewal of the current Consultant's position, but their term ends Dec 31, 2005)
2006 Stewardship Staff team to act as support to the National Coordinator will include GHDA director, LPG director, Mission Coordinator, Director of Finance and Administration, and Orders and Administrative Support.
2006 Concept of Annual Stewardship Scholarships developed and advertised
2006 All synods continue to be offered national funding for a 20% (one day a week) stewardship consultant [or team structure approved by National Coordinator] to be based in the synod, accountable to synod bishop, relating to ELCIC stewardship structures, reporting to coordinator and attending each annual consultation/training event. This deployed staff position may be increased by synods that choose to increase funding to increase the time. National funding will include a travel budget for each synod consultant of up to $2000 annually. All job descriptions will be developed and maintained by national and synods together.
2006 Each synod will be encouraged to begin the planning of at least one Stewardship Practicum (based on original plans for Strategy 2000-2005) within the five-year period.

Also ongoing through 2010:

  1. Annual stewardship consultation/training event.
  2. Stewardship Consultants in synods receive ongoing training and support. (Current consultants' terms expire Dec 31, 2005)
  3. National stewardship staff team meets, shares report, confers and cooperates.
  4. Stewardship website is updated as needed.
  5. Relationship with Ecumenical Stewardship Center continues. We pay an annual membership fee, sit on their Board of Directors and order and promote ESC congregational stewardship materials.
  6. LPG director and program continue.
  7. Ecumenical relationships are sought out and maintained.

ELCIC STRATEGY FOR STEWARDSHIP 2005-2010

BACKGROUND:

This Strategy for Stewardship is prepared as a follow-up to five years of growing success using the principles of Strategy 2000-2005. Over those years, Synod consultants, coordinators and conference resource persons have offered leadership and resources to ELCIC congregations. The presence of these leaders at Synod conferences, conventions, and committee or staff meetings has helped to keep stewardship conspicuous as a ministry of the church. This is necessary, not only in light of the continual decline in revenues for national and synod budgets which causes the church to curtail its mission and ministry, but to offer the example and experience of sincere stewards so that shifts in societal values will not lead people away from the spirit of generosity and abundance evident in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The audience for this strategy document includes the National Church Council, synod bishops, synod councils, and synod stewardship / resource development committees. The target group for the strategy itself is congregational leadership, including pastors, lay leaders, and stewardship committees. The purpose is to articulate the ELCIC's principles for stewardship and to outline action plans for supporting synods and congregations in their stewardship efforts. This strategy describes the current and ongoing stewardship activities of the ELCIC and points to new and proposed actions that will encourage ELCIC members to respond to God's gracious goodness with generous living in every sense. The stewardship strategy is a process that will continue to evolve as the various expressions of the ELCIC live and work with the ideas and resources at hand.

The strategy will continue to include: giving consideration to the Evangelical Declaration; building a strong relationship between stewardship and discipleship; affirming, coordinating and developing new and current methods of financial support for mission; and working with synods to identify and serve the stewardship needs of congregations. It will also support the vision of the ELCIC as a Church in Mission for Others and the three strategic directions that drive that vision.

Stewardship in the ELCIC is a partnership involving congregations, synods, and the national church:

  • The ELCIC National Office facilitates cooperation and collaboration with synods by articulating common standards, sharing programs and resources, and providing training resources and support to synods; maintains involvement in ecumenical stewardship groups, collects stewardship materials from other sources, and provides stewardship materials for congregations – National Coordinator of Stewardship; Orders and Administrative Support.
  • Global Hunger and Development Appeal is a ministry of the ELCIC that raises money to fund programs that address hunger and poverty both in Canada and around the world - GHDA Coordinator.
  • Lutheran Planned Giving exists to encourage and enable members of the ELCIC to make planned gifts to the church in all its expressions (congregational, synodical and national) - LPG Director.
  • ELCIC Mission in the World raises funds for personnel and projects in Canada and overseas – Mission in the World Coordinator.
  • Synod Committees for Stewardship / Resource Development exercise primary responsibility for stewardship decisions and program delivery to congregations. Synods cooperate and collaborate with the national church and other synods to support the mission of the church, coordinate common standards, address common concerns and develop covenants for partnership in specific areas of mission.
  • Lutheran Laity Movement for Stewardship-Canada is a self-supporting volunteer organization, bringing together women and men of the ELCIC who are actively concerned about the stewardship of all of life – President and Treasurer of LLM Canada. [future support from this organization is not guaranteed. We should hear more after their Spring meeting.]
  • A grant of $11,000 per year for 5 years has been requested from Lutheran Life.

PREAMBLE:

The ELCIC in every expression encourages members to identify the gifts they receive from God and to respond to God's goodness with faithfulness, generosity, wisdom, and good stewardship. ELCIC expressions include congregations, synods, national, institutions, and international relationships.

A DEFINITION OF STEWARDSHIP:

"Christian stewardship is grateful and responsible use of God's universe in the light of God's purpose as revealed in Jesus Christ. Christian stewards, empowered by the Holy Spirit, commit themselves to conscious, purposeful decisions. Stewardship is lived out in: living and telling the Good News; sharing with God in seeking justice, peace, and the integrity of creation in an interdependent universe; wisely employing God-given human resources, abilities, and relationships; sharing the material resources we hold and giving them in service, justice, and compassion; providing for future generations; sharing in the life, worship and responsible stewardship of the Church and of its mission. Both for the individual and for the community, stewardship is a joyful act for the sake of God's world." From the Ecumenical Center for Stewardship Studies

DESIRED OUTCOMES FOR ELCIC STEWARDSHIP:

  1. The ELCIC will articulate and embrace an understanding of the integral role of stewardship in the life of the church that reflects the gospel. As a result,
    1. The ELCIC as congregations, synods and national church will model the behaviours of faithful stewardship.
    2. Congregations and pastors will explore and encourage faithful stewardship year-round through learning, worship, and personal faith formation, especially as it relates to Christian stewardship.
    3. Members will participate generously in congregation and community life through personal involvement, prayer, a steadily growing level of financial support, and a lifestyle of justice and compassion for all creation.
    4. The ELCIC as congregations, synods and national church will communicate clearly about the vision and opportunities for mission and ministry in the church and the wider community.
    5. This church will offer workshops and resources to assist members in discerning their spiritual gifts and encouraging them to commit their time to the greatest effect and benefit to the individual and the church.
    6. The church will practice good stewardship by receiving financial and in-kind gifts graciously, using them prudently and to maximum effect following the directions of givers, and accounting for their use with transparency and openness.
  2. ELCIC members will grow as stewards of God's creation in all aspects of our lives: personal relationships, home, congregation, community, church and the world, including the care and use of time, money, abilities, vocation, health and well-being, and the environment.
    1. In daily lives members will reflect increased awareness of God's call to live intentionally as Christian stewards.
    2. Members' lives will show evidence of generosity of spirit, joy, personal wholeness and a greater sense of justice and compassion.
    3. The per capita percentage giving of members to congregations will increase annually as measured by parochial reports.
    4. An increasing number of members will make regular gifts beyond weekly offerings to the congregation to GHDA, church institutions, endowments and foundations, and will designate planned gifts to the ELCIC through the financial vehicles available.
  3. ELCIC mission and ministry will be fully funded by the support of our members. This outcome will be measured according to the following criteria
    1. Growth in per capita giving and total giving to congregations by baptized members.
    2. Increase in disbursements from congregations to ELCIC general treasury, directed gifts, and GHDA.
    3. Greater support of the work of the wider church will be demonstrated by an increase in benevolence from Synods to National Church.

THEOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES:

  1. Stewardship is our individual and corporate response in faith to the gracious goodness of God in creation and the call of Jesus to be disciples and participants in God's mission to serve our neighbors in Canada and around the world. This response is seen in the following biblical references.
    • Genesis 1-3 - Humanity is created in the image of the lavish and generous Creator.
    • Genesis 43-44, I Chronicles 27 & 28, Daniel 1, Isaiah 22 - The steward is responsible and accountable, is identified with the master, but is not the master.
    • Parables of Jesus - e.g. Luke 12:42ff - The steward is responsible for Christ's household.
    • I Corinthians 4:1-2, 3:21-23, 4:2 - The steward Is responsible for the mysteries of God.
    • Ephesians 2:12-13, 2:19-22, 3:1-2 - Stewardship is participation in the household of God.
    • I Peter 4:7-11 - Eschatological stewardship is living in anticipation of the end times.
    • From The Steward: A Biblical Symbol Come of Age by Douglas John Hall
  2. Christian stewardship is joyful response to God's goodness expressed in gratitude to God and in generous living toward other persons and the whole creation.
  3. Stewardship involves the care and use of God's gifts in all aspects of our life - body, mind, spirit, financial, community, work, family, church, environment, etc.
  4. As the body of Christ, the baptized are a diverse people who exercise faithful stewardship in a variety of ways.

WORKING PRINCIPLES:

  1. Our church will exhibit consistency in stewardship principles throughout all expression of ELCIC while using a variety of practices and methods appropriate to different settings.
  2. This church will value and practice accountability and transparency in stewardship programs, methods and message and in the use of the gifts given to the church.
  3. "Recognizing all the gifts which God has graciously given us, this church shall support its programs and ministries through the free-will offerings of its people. Any money-raising venture within the congregation should have as its intention the nurturing of the community within the congregation and the mission and ministry of the church." (from An ELCIC Statement on Commercialism, 1991)
  4. This church will strengthen its practice of developing and nurturing youth, clergy and lay leaders for stewardship and all aspects of the life of the church.
  5. The ELCIC will model and uphold mutual support relationships among congregations, synods and national church in planning, collaboration and sharing of resources.
  6. This strategy assumes that synods will have a staff person and/or committee with responsibility for stewardship including, supporting stewardship education in congregations, encouraging congregational support of synod and the ELCIC through benevolence, collaborating with other synods in identifying and developing effective resources.
  7. This church will cooperate and consult with ecumenical partners and organizations including the Ecumenical Stewardship Center and the Canadian Interchurch Stewardship Committee, other denominations, and the Lutheran World Federation.
  8. The Strategy for Stewardship is an evolving process. This church will continue to identify working principles and practices and engage in periodic reviews of national standards and action plans.

ACTION PLAN:

  1. A National Coordinator for Stewardship will be accountable to the bishop for implementing the Strategy for Stewardship; will facilitate cooperation among national programs such Global Hunger and Development Appeal, Lutheran Planned Giving, Mission Giving; will relate to synod staff and stewardship leaders; will oversee the development and distribution of stewardship resources to synods; will meet with ecumenical partners in stewardship; and with the ELCIC treasurer will monitor financial offerings to the congregations, synods and national church.
  2. All synods will continue to be offered national funding for a 20% (one day a week) stewardship consultant [or team structure approved by National Coordinator] to be based in the synod, accountable to synod bishop, relating to ELCIC stewardship structures, reporting to coordinator and attending each annual consultation/training event. This deployed staff position may be increased by synods that choose to increase funding. Although National funding will include a travel budget of up to $2000/year for each synod consultant, Synods will be encouraged to fund this expense. All job descriptions will be developed and maintained by national and synods together. It will be the responsibility of this individual to see that stewardship education and support is offered and delivered to congregational leaders (ordained and lay).
  3. A process of consultation and mutual support for synod stewardship committees will be supported. The process will include an annual "consultation on stewardship" involving national and synod stewardship leaders. On the basis of the consultation, program resources will be developed to provide a variety of models for synods to engage congregations in stewardship training and in synod / congregational consultations for mutual support. The National Coordinator for Stewardship is responsible for initiating the consultation process. Funding for the consultation and resultant projects will be shared by the ELCIC operating budget, synod budgets, and a grant from FIM for resource development.
  4. The National Coordinator will make available a training program each year. Synods may invite the Coordinator to present that training in a Synod setting. All costs and planning other than the actual training will be the responsibility of the Synod. Target audience is synod and conference stewardship leaders who may then offer the material to congregations.
  5. At least once in the five years of this Strategy, each Synod Consultant, in consultation with Synod Staff and synod Stewardship team, will coordinate a Stewardship Event offering leadership to congregational leaders (ordained and lay). National "seed money" of $1000 will be available for one of these events in each synod. National Coordinator will offer support as requested.
  6. Congregational stewardship materials: The national office will continue to provide stewardship materials to congregations such as those currently supplied from the Ecumenical Stewardship Center at the recommendation of the stewardship consultation.
  7. Stewardship Website: This resource for congregational stewardship will develop in consultation with the synods and be promoted to all congregations with periodic updates. The website will include such materials as annotated bibliographies, sample resources, notices of conferences and events, worship resources, and a significant section for tried-and-tested ideas garnered from congregations. Program materials will be suitable for a wide range of congregational sizes and types and will include suggestions for adapting to the specific setting. Materials will encourage a home and congregation connection with program ideas for use by parents or other adults with children in the home. The National Coordinator will oversee the development of this resource. Additional content will be identified through the annual stewardship consultation.
  8. The National Coordinator will make use of any or all ELCIC information tools to build and maintain a coordinated pattern of stewardship communication. The purpose will be to reach as many ELCIC members as possible with a consistent stewardship message and news of events and resources available.
  9. An intentional program of mentorship of new stewardship leaders will include financial support towards the attendance of appropriate conferences, meetings and training events. Synod Consultants will identify new leaders appropriate for this opportunity.
  10. Ecumenical cooperation: The National Coordinator for Stewardship will maintain a relationship of mutual support with the Ecumenical Stewardship Center, the Canadian Interchurch Stewardship Committee and other Christian denominations.
  11. The National Church Council will consider the following policy issues related to stewardship.
    • Review periodically the Lutheran Planned Giving program, the Global Hunger and Development Appeal and the Mission Giving Program.
    • Direct the national office, in consultation with synods, to make significant improvements in the mechanisms for collecting and reporting data from congregations on membership, activities and financial activity in order to monitor participation and giving, and to enable more accurate and informative interpretation of data.

CONCLUSION:

ELCIC National Church Council approved the original Strategy for Stewardship in March 2000.

This updated Strategy document is proposed to National Church Council in March 2005 with the request that it be recommended for approval at Convention 2005 and implemented immediately thereafter.

APPENDIX A – RATIONALE FOR STEWARDSHIP

FROM ELCIC DOCUMENTS

From the Constitution of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada:

The mission of this church, as an expression of the universal Church and as an instrument of the Holy Spirit, is to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people in Canada and around the world through the proclamation of the Word and the administration of the Sacraments and through service in Christ's name. (Article IV)

The commitment of each baptized member to this call is to be expressed through this church, its synods and its congregations by a life of repentance, faith, prayer and the sharing of resources. (Article V)

From the Evangelical Declaration of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada:

We believe, teach and confess that the crucified Christ calls us into a life of discipleship in which we are to be persons for others.

We believe, teach and confess that everything we have is a gift from God entrusted to our nurture and care, and that the Christian life is a life of stewardship.

We commit ourselves as church to share our gifts with the whole people of God beyond our specific denominational and national context. We will seek ways of working cooperatively wherever we are able.

We commit ourselves as church to respond faithfully, promptly and flexibly to the many opportunities for mission. We will pursue creative and effective ways for mission and ministry in our local, national and global communities.

From the Glossary to the Evangelical Declaration of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada:

Discipleship is a way of life that is obedience to living out one's faith in Jesus Christ. Stewardship is the way of living that recognizes that God has given us everything (all our talents, time and treasures). Our task is to nurture, protect and care for all that God has entrusted to us (e.g., the earth and its resources).

From the ELCIC Statement of "Vision and Strategic Directions":

Our vision is to be a church in mission for others. The strategic directions by which we seek to do this are:

  • To be a public voice of the Lutheran Church in Canada speaking to the compelling questions and issues facing our global community.
  • To share our energy and gifts as a church to reenergize the ecumenical movement in Canada and internationally.
  • To identify and raise up an apostolic model of leadership beyond the congregational models of pastoral leadership.

In full communion with The Anglican Church of Canada
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