Quite often, when we think about stewardship we immediately think about money. In reality, stewardship involves everything we do at Good Shepherd which includes Time, Talent, and Treasure. Whether it involves our paid staff, our volunteers, our Sunday worship, our outreach, our education programs or our group meetings, this is all stewardship for Good Shepherd.
As I mentioned last month, your Stewardship Committee has worked with Church Development out of Kansas City for webinars, resources and books related to stewardship. They recommended three books which I have read in the last month and have been reviewing in this column. Last month I reviewed Henri Nouwen’s book and this month I will talk about the book, Rebuilt, which I found the most fascinating of the three books. If you’d like to read these for yourself, they are all available on Amazon and are listed below.
The Spirituality of Fund-Raising – Henri J.M. Nouwen – 2004
Rebuilt – Michael White and Timothy M. Dolan – 2013
Best Practices in Parish Stewardship – Charles E. Zech – 2008
The book Rebuilt talks about the Catholic Parish, Church of the Nativity in Timonium Maryland. The leaders of this Catholic Parish came to three realizations about their parish:
- “Our parish wasn’t working”
- “We didn’t know how to fix it”
- “We can learn from churches that are getting it right”
After considerable reflection and discussion, the leaders of Nativity decided to research, visit and understand the Evangelical Protestant Churches in the United States because of their growth. Once they completed this work they brought the best practices back into their Church and completely changed Nativity from a dying old Catholic Parish into a growing, vibrant, exciting Catholic parish.
Here are some of the things they did:
- Sunday school – the nursery became the Kidszone, the 3 to 6-year old’s became the All-Stars, and Grades 1 through 4 became the Time Travelers.
- The Worship Service became the center of Sunday activity with outstanding preaching and music.
- Relationship building became extremely important whether it was on the Leadership Team, in small groups or with the community.
- Volunteers were raised up and empowered within the church.
- The staff became known as the Leadership Team for the Church.
- Outreach had a high priority in time and talent, and was financially supported.
These are just a few of the ideas that Nativity brought into the church and slowly began to grow in ministry, spiritually and in numbers as they reshaped and reformed their church. The last chapter in the book summarizes, “You can do this!!” The book is a fast read and they describe ten strategies they used in the complete makeover of Nativity, talking about the approach and the positive results.