7 steps to stewardship success

| March 3, 2011 | 0 Comments

Increased generosity in gifts of time, talent and treasure can come to a parish that follows these seven steps, according to Father Daniel Mahan, who presented these steps in a break-out session at the Archdiocesan Stewardship Conference.

1. Personal witness — Once a year parishioners should speak at the appropriate time during weekend liturgies about what stewardship means to them and how they are living it. But that’s not the only time those personal stories should be told. Plan for people to tell their stories at regular committee, council and organization meetings several times during the year. Record them on a YouTube video for the parish website. Priests need to tell their stewardship story, too.

2. Commitment of leadership — When pastor and pastoral team are united in a vision of stewardship, and when key leaders and parish groups that meet on a regular basis are united as well, when stewardship as a way of life is talked about at large parish gatherings, the vision becomes shared and is more easily shared with the wider parish community. “Then it passes ‘the parking lot test,’” Father Mahan said. “After Mass in the parking lot, when someone says, ‘Stewardship is just a fancy way to say money,’ someone will be able to respond, ‘That’s not how I understand stewardship.’”

3. Hospitality, evangelization and outreach — Be a welcoming community that invites people to get involved.

4. Communication and education — Stewardship requires a message of hope, a message of building up. Have communication vehicles that engage people and communicate in a variety of ways, because different people learn in different ways.

5. Recruiting, training and recognizing gifts of talent and time — Identify what people are good at, what they want to do, give them any needed training, and be sure to thank them. People using their talents don’t care how much time they’re giving.

6. Stewardship of treasure — Focus on Nos. 1-through- 5 above and it will only be natural to speak about financial giving, because parishioners have been made aware of all the parish does and they want to be part of that. Invite people to give a gift that is prayerful, planned, proportionate to their income and sacrificial (it pinches).

7. Accountability — Proper control of who handles money — never just one person — is a must, as is transparency. Report regularly, not just on the financial position but on all aspects of parish life. Send the report to every parish household.

Bonus step: Persevere — Keep working at stewardship. It doesn’t happen overnight.

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Category: Catholic Services Appeal