The National Stewardship Programme
The National Stewardship Programme is the result of an instruction made at the General Assembly in 2011. The programme offers resources for congregations as they teach and encourage their members in the giving of their time, talents, and money to maintain and resource the mission and ministry of the Church of Scotland.
Congregations are encouraged to have stewardship on the agenda of every Kirk Session meeting. This is vital in helping us cultivate our gifts, share them sacrificially, and return them to God with increase.
The programme offers two consultant supported options to help congregations with stewardship which are:
Giving for Growth
Giving for growth focusses on money which is often a difficult topic to discuss within congregations. It is supported by a Church of Scotland Stewardship consultant to help your church through the various stages. We also have a compact planning guide to enable congregations to take it forward on their own if they don’t wish to use a consultant. The best results from this programme are clearly visible when a stewardship consultant is working alongside a church to provide encouragement and guidance. On average they see a 15% increase in their income demonstrating the potential impact of giving to support ministry locally, nationally, and globally.
The Stewardship Season offers an approach where the giving of time, talent, and money are considered separately over a three-year period, with a month each year being designated as the stewardship season. It offers a congregation flexibility to identify a time period within which to deliver a programme on Time or Talents or Money. The programme allows for their creativity and vision to inform the programme and it includes a planning guide with a few suggestions for each focus.
For more options from the National Stewardship Programme see the instruction from the General Assembly here.
Stories from other congregations
The Giving for Growth outreach to the congregation exceeded all our expectations and demonstrates what can be achieved if sufficient effort is made in the planning stage and full use is made of the material and free consultancy provided by the Church of Scotland.
We now have 50 new donors and have achieved an annualised increase in WFO and standing orders of £31,600, which represents a remarkable increase of 32%. We also enjoyed the opportunity to meet together at a series of "Gatherings" where members of the congregation could see first-hand the influence of the church on the wider community in Kilmacolm, and where our Minister outlined his vision for the future. The fellowship enjoyed at the meetings and the financial result achieved, provide great encouragement for us all.
- Kilmacolm Old Kirk
The interweaving parts of our Stewardship Season “Moments in time” included congregational gatherings, banner-making workshops, a film we put on YouTube, and a Service of Re-dedication. A good feeling of cooperative venture was expressed by the creation of a map that traced the origins of our members and generosity was nurtured by our Lent "bucket of gratitude" challenge. Our Season culminated in a Flower Festival and Exhibition enjoyed by significant crowds over the Easter weekend. Opened by the Mayor, this event dove-tailed happily into the town’s “Berwick 900” celebrations. Our Stewardship consultant partnered us through the initiative. They advised our Planning Team, helped us shape the events and encouraged us to develop our vision. We hope that this special TIME will be a springboard to a positive future for our congregation.
- St Andrew’s Wallace Green and Lowick
For our Stewardship Season focus on Talents we held three breakfast receptions before morning worship with two goals:
- To pass on information around the move to Unitary Constitution and progress made to-date. This included a message on the importance of teamwork and how bringing together many with their own gifts for a common purpose can be very powerful and is indeed essential in furthering God’s work, and
- To encourage members to consider their own gifts and talents and how these can be put to good use in our church. There was a presentation and specific appeal for help in the areas of Mission, Property and Finance by each of the Action Group Conveners.
The breakfast receptions were well attended with an average of 60 members participating each week. These were extremely enjoyable with the atmosphere of loving fellowship very much evident each week. Specific responses were received from members in the areas of Pastoral Care, Mission, and Property.
- Blantyre Livingstone Memorial Church