A steward is someone who handles affairs for someone else. We are stewards of all that God has given us, including our time, our abilities, our possessions and our money. Stewardship is a way of life in which we seek to use all that we have to continue the mission of sharing the good news of God's Kingdom.
How does stewardship look in your church? How does your church use the buildings, the money given and the abilities within the congregation? Is there a clear path in your church to help people take steps in their faith? Are you empowering the people of God to do God’s work? Are you developing leaders? Is your church growing spiritually and in numbers?
If you need help, the Church of Scotland’s Stewardship consultants can provide expertise. The consultants work in different parts of the country providing assistance and advice to churches in all of our Presbyteries.
National Stewardship Programme
The National Stewardship Programme, launched in 2011, has been providing diverse opportunities for individuals and congregations throughout Scotland to respond to the grace of Jesus Christ. Working alongside with the stewardship consultants, churches have been engaged in a number of imaginative programmes: e.g. making films about the congregational life and witness and then presenting them at a large gathering of the congregation, looking at ways of creatively investing or re-prioritising time in the matters of God, how to shape the church using abilities within the congregation, etc. Many churches are also doing a programme that aims to enable people to review their financial giving.
Financial giving is challenged primarily through the ‘Giving for Growth’ programme. Working together with a consultant, churches tend to see, on average, a 15% increase in their income. This programme does not place any demands on elders to visit people in their homes and talk about money. It culminates in a celebratory event which simply demonstrates the impact the generosity has brought locally, nationally and globally. Here is one of a few stories shared by congregations that took this programme:
“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 consultants not only bring expertise in raising income, but they also provide imaginative ideas for local churches on how to invest time or abilities through the Stewardship Seasons programme.
We would like to see the National Stewardship Programme on the agenda of every Kirk Session meeting and every Presbytery meeting. The Church of Scotland has a hard working team of consultants who have a wealth of experience in helping churches consider how they ‘give’. There is no cost to churches for the services of a consultant. The Stewardship team is eager to help local churches take a creative approach to stewardship.
Further reading and resources
- John Muir, The Wilderness World of John Muir (edited by Edwin Teale: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2001)
- Douglas John Hall, The Steward - A Biblical Symbol Come of Age (New York: Friendship Press, 1982)
- Red2Black prayers, teaching notes and children’s activities from ‘Stewardship’)
- Church of Scotland National stewardship programmes
- National stewardship programmes raising funds resources