This guide helps your parish accomplish evangelization and stewardship at the same time. There are many people who are not "active" in the parish (meaning they don't go regularly), and there are others who are active but aren't involved in the life of the parish. Often, there are legitimate reasons for this: A large family to care for, working more than one job, feeling burned out, and so on. However, there are a number of members who attend regularly who haven't considered being involved in parish ministry or who haven't been asked.
We believes it's part of our ministry to help you use technology to minister to your people. For this purpose, we have developed a process for evangelizing your local community through stewardship. The PDS Church Office program comes equipped with reports, sample letters, labels, payment booklets, and many other tools that help you use member information to initiate a ministry and stewardship campaign to those enrolled at your parish.
Over the past few years, a number of writers have developed the concept of sacrificial giving. These authors speak of a sacrificial giving of "time, talent, and treasury", that is, ministry and financial support. This approach seems to have struck a responsive chord in many parishes.
Research has shown that the more members involved in the ministerial life of the parish, the more likely they are to contribute on a regular, consistent basis. Indeed, a family where both husband and wife are actively involved, on average, gives considerably more than a family where only the husband or wife is involved in ministry. Each member possesses unique talents and gifts that can be used to benefit the parish community and the community as a whole. Members who participate begin to feel more involved and care more than those who aren't involved in stewardship. Active participation sparks people to feel more at ease with the parish and to feel a sense of community.
Parishes should therefore center attention on inviting people to ministry. However, we realize that many parishes, while seeing the need for ministry, are in a real money crunch. Funds just aren't coming in, while expenses are growing. And, while they'd like to work on the ministry side of stewardship, it's the money side that needs to be addressed, sometimes immediately.
This module addresses both ministry and sacrificial giving. You can use both sections together to implement a full stewardship program, or you can use one section independent of the other. We made this library as flexible as possible so that you can use the power of Church Office in conjunction with one of the many popular stewardship programs which are already out there, or with a method you develop yourself.
It's important to treat stewardship as an ongoing process rather than a one-time project. The constant turnover of parishioners in our mobile society means that you'll be losing valuable volunteers all the time, but you can gain other members with equally valuable talents. In addition, experience has shown that only 10 to 20 percent of members participate in stewardship activities at the initial introduction. Many people need time to get used to the idea and need a second chance to participate.
The PDS Stewardship Library of Reports is a tool you can use to help with the overwhelming task of contacting your membership and keeping track of volunteers. Each stewardship process is different because the needs of each parish are different. Some parishes hold time and talent fairs every year to encourage members to sign up, while others have annual renewals of sacrificial giving or tithing. But certain things always need to be done, and that's where this library can help. You can use these reports to track stewardship of time, talent, and sacrificial giving.