I went to a stewardship workshop yesterday at Court Street UMC, titled "Strengthening Stewardship in Challenging Economic Times". There were maybe about 60 to 75 people there. Some pastors but more financial or treasurer types, at least it seemed that way to me. I guess there a some people that already know this stuff, but its new to me. I've made it a special point of not getting involved with the money side of the churches. My policy had been that if bills, Conference and District apportionments, and ministry needs are all met, why add the finance concerns to my plate.
The speaker was from an organization that helps churches with their annual stewardship campaigns and capital campaigns for major projects. I've learned to listen closely at the beginning of these workshops to find out whether I need to try to get it all down or glean from the information what would be helpful. The speaker started off by saying that they primary work with large churches with annual budgets in the multi-millions of dollars; first sign to glean. But, he added, they also work with smaller churches of 100 to 150 members. Well, it was gleaning time, find the real stuff that my churches might be able to use and disregard the rest.
The workshop covered topics like; Pre-Campaign Planning, Readiness Assessment, Campaign Leaders (This was another part that made me laugh. They had enough leaders that the leaders would up half of 2 of my congregations), Spiritual Emphasis Committee (There goes the other half of the congregation.), Campaign Materials, and the Personal Visit. I will admit that I did get some good information out of the workshop, but I also left a lot behind.
It wasn't a wasted morning though. They had some really delicious BBQ for lunch. I got to sit and talk to Tim Earnhardt, who was the pastor at Fairview UMC when I was the youth pastor there. We sat a talked for over an hour. We were the last ones to leave, they were cleaning off the tables while we were still talking. Tim will be our guest speaker at St. Andrews' Homecoming Sunday in October. All in all, a good morning.