PREPARING YOUR PARISH FOR THE STEWARDSHIP WAY OF LIFE
THE CURRENT CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
During the COVID-19 pandemic, your parish has likely launched new ways to stay connected, to worship, and to encourage giving. There are many ideas provided by parish support organizations. Some are listed on the Stewardship and Development Home page. The Office of Stewardship and Development is here to provide support and ideas to assist your Pastor and staff with the on-going need to grow stewardship in the parish, even during these times. For assistance with using your website to publicize the needs of your parish, ACH, or to update what staff members of your parish should receive stewardship eNewsletters, bulletin, or other information from the Office of Stewardship and Development, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We are praying for an end to the Coronavirus, for your health, and your families.
FOUR-STEP PLAN FOR STEWARDSHIP SUCCESS
Prepare for a stewardship program with prayer, planning, publicizing, and participating.
1. Pray: The Office of Stewardship and Development offers several prayers of thanksgiving and gratitude. They are provided within the resources offered on TOOLKIT/Pray page. Often Pastors will place prayers in the front of each hymnal or missalette and have the faithful pray the placed prayer together after Mass. In addition, we offer a “Prayer Before Meetings” that could be used before your stewardship committee meeting. Please email email@example.com for the prayer.
2. Plan: The Office of Stewardship and Development reaches out to parish stewardship, communication, administrative, and management staff with marketing materials to help staff and volunteers that will inspire and educate the faithful to make a grateful response to God for the abundant gifts in their lives. Touching the hearts of the faithful can only be done through the work of the Holy Spirit. Your efforts in stewardship sow the seeds to bear fruit for your parish today and for future generations.
What are the needs of your parish at this time? Do you know your current average levels of giving, parishioner household demographics, area population trends, etc.? The Office of Stewardship and Development can help you understand who your parishioners are, their lifestyle habits, income, and family profiles through the MissionInsite™ software . The software will also help you know who your non-Catholic parish neighbors are. There can be crossover between stewardship and evangelization, especially, through the spiritual life.
3. Publicize: To publicize is to inspire and educate. It can be continual because your website is always online and your bulletin is published weekly. Your website and bulletin will be the easiest publications to use to educate the faithful about what it means for one to be a good stewards of their time, treasure, and talents.
Your parish website: The stewardship pages on your website will assist the Pastor in encouraging weekly giving and announce any new needs for parishioners, the parish building, or to secure the parish for future generations. Get into a weekly or bi-monthly habit of updating links and images along with posting to your parish Facebook, Flocknote, and Instagram pages. Include social media icons on your website.
In the Office of Stewardship and Development TOOLKIT/Publicize, you will find sample articles for parish and school websites, bulletin messages (that can double as school newsletter blurbs), and a PowerPoint presentation for use at parish council and school board presentations (runtime: 15 minutes). Remember to include personal witness stories from your parish. Help is provided on how to do this.
It is essential to till the soil if growth is going to happen. Stewardship praying, planning and publicizing will make the ground rich and the harvest more abundant.
4. Participate: Praying, planning, and publicizing leads to the invitation to give. Now you are ready to draw people closer to the mission of your parish. Inviting parishioners to give their time, talent, and treasure happens both directly and indirectly. It is important to link messages about the parish mission to the mission of the larger Church in the Archdiocese.
Personal letters, small groups, and one-on-one meetings are direct ways to invite participation. These should be carefully planned and orchestrated. TOOLKIT/Participate Having up-to-date data on giving habits, family history (number of children, names, school families, etc.) are important ways to personalize the “ask.”
The Parish Toolkit includes information on creating your stewardship plan. Topics included are: Goals and Timeline, Best Practices, Leadership Training, Events, Tools, and Other Resources.