Stewardship in simple terms is a way of life, a life that is clearly accountable and responsible acknowledging God as the creator and giver of everything. It requires us to responsibly manage our God-given resources of time, talent and treasure. As stewards, just like disciples of Jesus Christ, we are merely caretakers of all God’s gifts including all that we have been abundantly blessed with as individuals and collectively as a community of faith.
At Hope Presbyterian Church, the Stewardship Committee is very pro-active in planning and organizing the campaign and stewardship follow-up throughout the year. Stewardship Campaigns are traditionally planned in the summer to kick off at the Congregational Meeting in October and continue through the dedication on the second Sunday of November.
The Stewardship Committee has been very active about stewardship education within the congregation. Many of Hope’s members come from diverse Presbyterian traditions where the churches do not have to maintain a self-sustaining budget. In 13 years, the Hope Session has always approved a Faith Based Budget (FBB). Even though Hope maintains an FBB, the church has been able to maintain expenses by taking money from the Endowment Fund to insure that the expenses can be paid. For the past five years, the budget has been based on 94 pledged units. The pledge units received back during the annual Stewardship Campaign have numbers from 55 to 77; usually, the return is from 55 to 60. That is why a faith based budget has been adopted.
Following the retirement of the church treasurer in August, 2014, the Stewardship committee took on the responsibility of creating the 2015 budget for the very first time. This was a huge undertaking which took a lot of work on the part of the Stewardship Committee. This new responsibility also required that active elders serving on session be more aware of the budgets for their various ministries. Beginning in June 2015, the Stewardship Committee will begin a second rotation of formulating the 2016 budget.
Stewardship maintains a Stewardship board and a monthly newsletter. Weekly offering amounts are also placed on the Sunday bulletin. Minutes for Stewardship in the worship service have been very important to communicating with the congregation. The Stewardship Committee addresses the congregation at other times of the year, especially on the topic of the meaning of the per capita payment as well as in the summer giving declines. The Stewardship Committee has worked hard and creatively with brochures, phone calls, skits, informative giving sessions, campaign follow-up communication and distribute individual and family envelopes. There is still work to be done to help the congregation grow more deeply into the call to stewardship.