This week at Luther Seminary we’re hosting an Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising (ECRF) course in partnership with the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving [#LakeECRF]. What a joy it’s been to consider generosity, changing giving paradigms, and the ministry of fundraising with 25 leaders of congregations, non-profits, and faith-related organizations. (By the way, 2017 offerings aren’t public yet, but I have a sneaking suspicion Luther will be hosting another ECRF in late spring.)
I earned the ECRF earlier this year, and I’m again struck this week by the amazing bounty of stewardship resources available. While certainly, research gaps exist, we do know a whole lot about stewardship and fundraising. Why many seminaries don’t teach it a matter for another day!
There’s plenty of best practices from the business sector that faith-related orgs can learn from, but I’m also aware that churches are wise to claim the distinctiveness of their place in God’s mission, as well as people’s lives. But, if the church isn’t simply to mirror nonprofit best practices, what shall we do when it comes to cultivating gifts, nurturing generosity, and embracing mission?
I recommend a lot of books. I’m a professor, after all, and it’s sort of my job! But after a few days of the ECRF—and as my must-read-soon list of books continues to grow—I’m keenly aware there must be other entry spaces and resources for church leaders considering stewardship. Well, that’s all perfect timing because. Drumroll, please….
Today is the launch of Voices on Stewardship, a new digital content channel that offers inspirational and educational resources to assist churches in developing their stewardship ministries. Voices was formed by Vanco Payment Solutions, an electronic payment processor focused on supporting faith-based organizations. (For you Lutheran readers, Vanco is the platform behind Simply Giving.)
At Voices, Vanco has invited a cross-section of organizations and leaders to participate by offering content focused on the issues related to growing ministries through stewardship, fundraising, and giving. I’m happy to be a contributor to Voices. More so, though, I’m also thrilled to find such an ecumenically diverse, experienced, and forward-thinking group of voices at the site.
So, I invite you to check out the Voices on Stewardship website, their Facebook page, and resource page. Books and intensive training courses are great too, but sometimes a hot new website is just what you need!