Stewardship Campaign Program Option

This is an example of how the new Sower: Seeds of Faith & Finance could be utilized as part of your church’s annual Stewardship Campaign or pledge drive. It has proven to help generate a dramatic improvement in the level of giving. The concept is founded on our Christian principles – the more you give the more you receive.

We have fellow Christians offering their time and talents towards helping one another get on solid financial ground. In turn, they now have a better understanding of their financial situation and a far more likely to become cheerful givers to the church. As District Superintendent Betsy Ott’s has said, “You're doing a wonderful job. FYI our giving here has gone up in the past year and we are increasing in the number of pledgers. There is a much better sense of stewardship as a way of life and of the need for stability in giving so the church has stability in funding ministries.”  

Below are sample letters utilized by the Goshen UMC for their annual Stewardship Campaign. Pastor Steve Peiffer has graciously granted permission to utilize any of the text contained herein for your church campaign. See the three letters below.

Step 1 - Sample: Kick Off – Pastor’s Personal Letter to the Congregation

Dear Friends in Christ,

Our attitudes about money can be curious. Many years ago, I had a summer job as a dishwasher and cook’s helper, and I remember the manager telling me not to let anyone else know how much I was getting paid! I was flattered, thinking that was so others wouldn’t be jealous that my salary was higher than theirs, but, for all I know, looking back now, the exact opposite could have been true!

We often avoid this subject because we are embarrassed about how little we make (or how much!), or we’re absolutely convinced that all our troubles would vanish if we could just take in about ten percent more than we currently do! Sometimes it seems that when it comes to money, peace of mind is just not possible!

But one thing we know by faith is that God wants us to have peace of mind, and wants us to know the joys of being generous. As Jesus says in Eugene Peterson’s translation of Luke 12:29, “What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving.”

Of course, God showers grace everywhere, but the Church community is called to be especially discerning and cooperative with this divine grace. Indeed, week by week, through prayer, presence, service, and witness, we at the Goshen UMC educate, develop our faith, transform lives, assist the poor, visit the sick, support people in times of trial, worship God, address needs near and far thru our connectional system, and, in general, help people experience and live the saving life of Christ by hoping for and working for a more just, loving, and peaceful world.
And, at least once a year, we remind ourselves that the generosity we share with the world through our church, is a direct result of the generosity that is shared with our church by us, its members and friends. Many, many thanks for your current and past support of the Goshen UMC!

But, in asking you to renew this support for the coming year, we realize that today we face uncertain national and world conditions, and many of us are concerned and need more clarity about our personal finances as well. Certainly, our own monetary peace of mind is a worthy goal in itself, and one which may also have a positive affect on the overall economy, and on our ability to be generous.

We in the New York Conference of the United Methodist Church are being given a wonderful chance to achieve this greater serenity through our current association with Ed Ruppmann. Ed is a financial planner and Methodist lay-person from Long Island, and he is making a generous offer. By completing the enclosed information form, you can receive from him an extensive 20-page personal analysis of your financial situation with suggestions concerning, among other things, college and retirement savings strategy, life and long term care insurance, and estate planning considerations. This report is free of charge and places you under no obligation. Mr. Ruppmann is not selling any financial or insurance product whatsoever. He is just offering to share his expertise with you.

To be sure, Ed hopes that once you have his information and advice and get a clearer picture of where you stand financially, you will be better able to express your God-given desires to be generous to others and to your church. This is why we are mentioning this opportunity in our annual stewardship letter. And, we hope you see Ed’s offer as a modern way the members of the Christian community have always expressed their care and concern for the well-being and peace of mind of each other.

Having greatly benefited from Mr. Ruppmann’s generosity and wisdom myself, I urge you to reflect on his offer and consider completing the information form and sending it to him in the enclosed envelope. He will meet with you personally to explain and review his report on your individual financial situation.

But whether or not you avail yourselves of his services, I hope you will prayerfully make your stewardship commitment for 2012-2013 by submitting the enclosed form on or before Sunday, June 24, when we will celebrate our financial support of our church in the new fiscal year as well as our thankfulness for the opportunity of achieving economic peace of mind, and for more fully becoming the generous people and church that God created us to be.

Thank you so much!

Sincerely, in faith,
Pastor Steve and the Goshen UMC
Finance Committee

PS - As always, your pledge is not binding, and can be changed as your situation warrants. Also, as usual, we strongly urge you to experience the benefits of the spiritual discipline of making a regular commitment, of whatever amount.

Step 2: Seminar Announcement Letter to the Congregation

Stewardship 2012: Moving toward financial and spiritual freedom

As the kick-off of our stewardship appeal this year, two generous Methodist lay-persons from Long Island, Ed Ruppmann and John Henderson, will help to show that, as the body of Christ, our church cares about the financial questions, fears and burdens of each of its members. Ed, a financial consultant and John, an estate lawyer, are coming to our church on Saturday, May 5, to clarify our personal monetary situation and to offer each of us a comprehensive financial plan free of charge.

They believe that once the uncertainty we feel about money is eliminated, and once we can get a better sense of where we are and where we want to go with our finances, we will be better able to be wise stewards of the resources God has given us to live meaningful, generous lives. By opposing the cultural voices that tell us we’re merely consumers, and the myth of the American Dream that defines success as the abundance of our material possessions, we can resist the temptations to become slaves to creditors and we can sense our higher calling to simplicity, faithfulness, and joy by living lives of purpose and blessing for others.

God has designed us to be generous. But we live in a time where fear, the voice of self-gratification, and a misplaced idea about the true source of our security, obscure the fact that life is a gift, everything belongs to God, and our satisfaction can only be found in seeking after God alone.

But, when it comes to our money, without goals and a plan we resort to being prodigals, wasting our resources and giving in to despair and negativity. That’s where Ed and John come in. They will help us determine how much we can and should be saving, what we will need for future education, if we will have enough retirement savings, if our investments match our risk appetite, how we can protect our resources from Medicaid, and how we can transfer savings to our families and our church without a huge tax burden.

Knowledge of the condition of our finances will provide us with the stability to set goals and plans, to pursue a mission that is bigger than our own personal satisfaction, and to grow spiritually by giving generously and becoming generous persons, filled with joy and blessings.

Sound too good to be true? There’s only one way to find out! Come, spend from 9:30 to 12 noon with Ed and John on Saturday, May 5. Even if you feel that everything is in order in your own life, this is a chance to get confirmation with a second opinion. And if you seem to be always living “in the red,” here is a chance to gain control and have the peace and security that is part of the good news of the risen Christ!

Once we are on more solid financial ground, we will be better able to be the generous lovers of God and our neighbors that is our true calling as Christians. That would be a win-win situation for ourselves, our spiritual lives, our families, and our church!

May we avail ourselves of this opportunity made possible by our connection in the body of Christ!

In hope and peace,
The Finance Committee

Step 3: Follow-up Letter to those who were unable to attend Pastor’s Personal Letter to the Congregation

Stewardship 2012-2013: Toward Economic Peace of Mind

“What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving.” Luke 12:29, Peterson translation

As you may recall, last year we moved our annual stewardship campaign from the fall to the spring. For 2012-2013, we are building on the “Stewardship in Action” Program that Methodist lay-persons Ed Ruppmann, a financial planner, and John Henderson, an attorney specializing in elder law, presented at our church in early May.

Through their continuing generosity, each of us has an important opportunity to get a clearer picture of our personal and family finances, even if we did not attend the original seminar. By completing the enclosed financial information form, you can receive in person an extensive and through analysis of your financial situation that is completely free of charge, and places you under no obligation.

With the information and insights that this personalized plan and your meeting with Mr. Ruppmann gives you, you will have a clearer picture of where you stand and you will be able to more calmly assess your needs in planning for your financial future.

And if you are more knowledgeable and more secure, the hope is that you will be in a better position to express the God-given desires we all have to be generous to others, including, hopefully, the Goshen United Methodist Church.

Week-by-week, through your generosity with your prayers, your presence, your service, and your witness, the church educates young and old, provides space for prayer, faith development, and personal transformation, assists the poor, visits the sick, supports people in times of trial, conducts worship, assists with other needs through the greater Methodist connection, and, in general, helps people to experience and live Christ’s life, and to work for a more just, loving, and peaceful world.

We hope you will see this offer by Mr. Ruppmann as part of your church’s Christian concern for your peace of mind, and of its desire to help you express generosity and to sustain ministry.

Sincerely, in Christ,
The Goshen UMC Finance Committee

Edmund Ruppmann
10 Clemson Lane
Woodbury, NY 11797