“Thank, Tell, Ask”
Generosity & Stewardship Resources 
for Virginia Synod Congregations
Welcome to the October Edition of the Stewardship Resource Newsletter from the Virginia Synod. The goal of this newsletter is to provide the resources you need to build a stronger, healthier understanding of stewardship in your own life and in your congregation. Each edition of the newsletter will focus on one of the three areas of stewardship identified by Charles R. Lane in his book, Ask, Thank, Tell. Since we are nearing the end of the year, the Stewardship Table and I thought it would be helpful to highlight ideas for giving thanks. You can download the newsletter here or scroll down to discover a series of resources and ideas.

If you would like me to consult with your stewardship team by Zoom or in person, please contact me at: wertz@vasynod.org to schedule a time to meet.

Peace and hope,
Pastor John Wertz, Jr.
Director for Evangelical Mission
Assistant to the Bishop, VA Synod
Thank Ideas

As we approach the end of the year, it is critically important for congregations say “Thank You” for all the gifts offered in support of God’s ministry.

Thank: Send a Giving Statement with a Thank You note on December 1 – Sending a simple thank you note that that connects gifts given to ministry being accomplished can make a powerful statement Download a sample “Giving Statement Thank You Note” template here .  

Thank: Hold a “Thank You Brunch” in connection with your next Annual Meeting . Invite everyone who supports the ministry of the congregation to the “Thank You Brunch” provided by the congregation. Consider working with a local restaurant to provide biscuits or other breakfast foods. At the brunch, recognized volunteers who share their time and talents to make ministry happen. If you are worried about the cost of the brunch, consider applying for a $250 Thrivent Action Team grant to pay for the food and supplies.

Thank: Invite a ministry leader to say “Thank You” at a worship service.  Individuals in worship rarely see all the ministry being accomplished at a congregation. Invite a leader, other than the pastor, from one of your ministries (for example, faith formation ministry, helping ministry, etc) to take 60 seconds to thank the congregation for supporting the ministry. Download a template for a Congregational Thank You Presentation  here .

Thank: Write personal thank you notes to each of the people who serve at a special worship service or event.  A personal, handwritten note can make a strong impression on the individual receiving the note.
Tell Ideas
 
Tell: Post pictures online or on a bulletin board of a recent ministry event.  Posting pictures allows those who weren’t present to learn about the event and offers an opportunity for those who were present to celebrate and remember the event.

Tell : Write a custom offertory prayer which gives thanks for the ministry in your congregation supported by the generous gifts which are shared.

Tell: Change the language you use around finances.  Instead of using the word “Budget” as you plan for ministry in 2019 consider presenting a 2019 Spending Plan for Ministry or 2019 Investment in Ministry Plan. By changing the language, you emphasize the connection between financial gifts and ministry being accomplished.

Tell: Use a Narrative Spending Plan to present your 2019 Spending Plan.  Instead of presenting a spreadsheet of numbers at your congregational meeting, use the numbers to tell the story of ministry being accomplished.  Download an explanation and example of a Narrative Spending Plan here .
Ask Ideas
 
Ask:   “Because of God’s Great Mercy” (4 Sunday Emphasis)
  • Complete Stewardship Emphasis Kit from Chick Lane author of Ask, Thank, Tell - $20 
  • Purchase the kit here 

Ask:   “Fearless Generosity”  (4 Sunday Emphasis)
Giving in the Way You Pay Your Bills

Historically, people have always given to support ministry in the ways that they are paid and in the way that they pay their bills. When people received the majority of their income at the time of the harvest, the church received the bulk of its financial support in the fall. When people were paid weekly in cash, offering plates and small envelopes became popular. When the economy moved to checks and weekly or monthly paychecks, then check-sized offering envelopes became the norm. As we move into a time when many people are managing their finances electronically and rarely have checks or cash, congregations are making it easier to make electronic donations. 

To help lower the cost of receiving electronic donations, the ELCA has entered into a preferred provider agreement with an online donation service called Tithe.ly . The service has no monthly fee. You only pay a transaction fee when a gift is made. If you are interested in learning more about Tithe.ly go to:    get.tithe.ly/elca
 
The Virginia Synod and the Presbytery of the James have invited Charles R Lane , the author of "Ask, Thank, Tell" and "Embracing Stewardship" to lead a one day workshop in Richmond on Saturday, March 23, 2019 from 9 AM until 3 PM.

Details on the event will be announced soon, but for now plan to attend with your stewardship team or participate through the online simulcast.
Books, Newsletter and Other Resources

Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks – Dianna Butler Bass ($27 or less)  Purchase the book here

Embracing Stewardship – Charles R. Lane ($20) Purchase the book here

Not Your Parents Offering Plate – J. Clif Christopher ($16)  Purchase the book here

Luther Seminary Weekly Stewardship Tips and Resources Newsletter (Free) Sign Up Here

StewardNet Email Newsletter (Free Twice a Year Stewardship Resource Email from the ELCA)  Download here

Fresh Ideas for Stewardship Webinar from BuildingFaith.org (Free)
“First-time Givers, Millennials and Last Gifts” presentation begins at 25.00  - Watch here

Luther Seminary Stewardship Page : https://www.luthersem.edu/stewardship/default.aspx

Stewardship Consultation or Re-Launch Workshop: Contact Pastor John for available dates and times (email: wertz@vasynod.org or office: 757.622.9421)