February 2023
  • Lenten Resources for Stewardship Formation
  • Register for our next webinar on creating a faithful budget
  • TENS board and staff will be at EPN - come find us!

During the last week in January, the TENS board and staff met in New Orleans for a working retreat. Hosted by the gracious diocesan staff of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana in their sunny offices next to the cathedral, we spent some time planning our priorities and reflecting on our values.

We engaged this work in the unique world of New Orleans just as it was on the cusp of its annual Mardi Gras celebration. Marked by parades, sumptuous foods, and unbridled joy, Mardi Gras is not just a party, in New Orleans it's a season. There is something very powerful about being invited into the glory of Epiphany light with no fewer than 68 parades in the course of four weeks, with royal courts, floats, and "krewes," and with tons (literally) of king cakes. New Orleans is a place rooted in abundance - a spirit of extravagant collaboration, a moment in which strangers march together, a shared dream of gratitude and joy. We inhabited this place and let its lessons wash over us as we met to plan and prioritize. What resulted showed us how capacious our networks are, how important solid stewardship formation is to our congregations and member dioceses, and how essential engaging in authentic, grace-filled dialogue about money and meaning can be in our Church.

Throughout our formation and resources this year, you will see the results of our planning as we focus on creating resources that celebrate our diversity and as we roll out new training and teaching opportunities. It's going to be a beautiful year! As they say in New Orleans around this time of the year ...

Laissez les bon temps rouler!
Cn. J. Davey Gerhard III
Executive Director

Becoming unbound:
A Lenten Reflection

As we move through the Gospel of John this Lent, we arrive at the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus’ friend, Lazarus. This is a tender and human story, revealing a window into the emotion that Jesus feels. Lazarus is not an unnamed person who is brought to Jesus for healing, or someone who encounters him on a road or in a village; Lazarus is a close friend, someone Jesus loves. John includes an unusually personal story in his narrative account of Jesus. Rare for the high view of the Christ that John’s Gospel, John unbinds Jesus from his role as Messiah and shows him as a regular, very real person.

Just so, Lent is our personal story. Lent asks of us to make a deep commitment to learning, reflection, and walking the hard path. If we take the Ash Wednesday exhortation to heart, the five weeks of Lent will be a powerful, personal journey of discovery and connection. The stories from John’s Gospel that will be proclaimed to us over the season of Lent each start with a difficult question or situation. These long narratives give us a lot more information than we might need to accomplish the miraculous moment and capture the interaction between Jesus and the ones to whom he is ministering, and I wonder how much value is added to the story through these extra details. When we strip away some of the distractions, we are able to focus on what we observe, hear, feel about the dark story of Jesus’ final journey toward Jerusalem. In each of the stories we hear in Lent, the subject is healed, reconciled, or resurrected – unbound by what kept them from being whole. That is a transformative journey.

Historically, the Church has tried to help us achieve this freedom from distraction with the suggested discipline of giving something up, or taking something on, both venerable and worthy practices. But I think that Jesus final command to the friends and family of Lazarus is an appeal to us this season, as well. Be unbound, freed to reflect on the things that keep us connected to each other, and connected to God.

Questions For Reflection:
  • In what ways are you bound by distractions or details that keep you from seeing the essential point or moment?
  • What are other points in Jesus’ ministry that reveal his emotions? What does it mean to have a God who has emotions?

The 2023 Webinar Calendar is uploaded - fill out your training plan today!

We are revisiting some favorite trainings and offering some new ones this year as we combine materials for annual campaigns with practical teaching on stewardship topics. See our Webinar page to learn about and register for all our webinars this year!
Creating Budgets That Support Your Mission

Your church budget is a reflection of your values and your mission. What we fund and what we do not fund in our operating budgets sends a message to our members and to our neighbors about more than our fiscal responsibility, but also how seriously we take the Great Commission to make disciples of everyone we meet.

Does your church fund its outreach from the budget, or rely on extra-budgetary fundraising to do good works? Do you provide a living wage to your employees? Do you appropriately staff and train the programs that serve your community? Learn how to create budgets that are theologically sound as well as fiscally appropriate.

Sign up for our free webinar on February 11 at 9AM Pacific / 12PM Eastern
Recruiting and Training a Stewardship Committee

A well-run campaign needs a well-trained and prepared stewardship committee to lead it. Learn best practices on how to identify and recruit the right members to serve on this essential committee, and help form them into a community of volunteers who will support each other and the work of generosity in your church.

We can help you develop a cheerful, effective, well-prepared committee with this webinar, a TENS tried-and-true favorite.

Sign up for our free webinar on March 4 at 9AM Pacific / 12PM Eastern
Motivations for Intergenerational Giving

This webinar was so popular last year, that we have been asked to run it again. Our members are savvy donors and have many motivations for making gifts to fund our church budgets. Learn some key distinctions between generations so that you may fine tune your stewardship campaigns for the best impact.

We will spend a lot of time on how to attract and retain younger members, as well. Learn what trends appeal, and don't appeal, to Millennials and Generation Z members and donors.

Sign up for our free webinar on April 1 at 9AM Pacific / 12PM Eastern
Making the Case: Effective Materials for Successful Campaigns

The ways that you message your annual pledge campaign make a difference in how much impact it has on your members. If you are running the same program year after year, using the same theme, the same logo, the same words, the same timeline, you might also be getting the same results.

Consider changing up your materials, getting new pictures, stories, metrics, and methods. Reach your members in a new way and make sure every member knows how to make their best gift to support your operating budget and your ministry to the community. Learn our best practices on great campaign materials and story-telling techniques.

Sign up for our free webinar on May 13 at 9AM Pacific / 12PM Eastern
Breaking Through the Pledge Plateau

There comes a time with each congregation when the campaign plateaus: when members make the same gift year after year; when the pledges are on autopilot. What can you do to shine a new light on your programs and ministries to help your members make their best gifts?

Right as you return from your summer break, learn best practices for breaking through the plateau and increasing the impact, gift size, and cheerfulness of your members so that your ministries can flourish.

Sign up for our free webinar on August 26 at 9AM Pacific / 12PM Eastern
Are you going to be in Jacksonville at EPN?

Come find TENS board members and staff at the Episcopal Parish Network conference March 7-10 in Jacksonville, Florida! As you see us in sessions, meals, workshops, and social hours, come find us and tell us how we can create tools that help you and your congregations raise money for mission and engage stewardship formation! Among the TENS family represented this year in Jacksonville, you'll find:

  • Davey Gerhard, Executive Director
  • Matthew Woodward, President
  • Karen Davis-Lawson, Board Member
  • Glenna Huber, Board Member

We look forward to seeing you soon!