Stewardship Workshops Receive Positive Feedback
The Virginia Conference-sponsored series of church stewardship workshops in each district is winding down, with two more district gatherings remaining in November.
The seminars, which have been facilitated by Jim Klote and Adrian Schoonmaker of James D. Klote and Associates, a Virginia-based professional consulting firm that works with churches on fund-raising projects, have been well attended. Response from participants also has been positive. The Rev. Tricia Riggs called the workshop one of the best training events she had ever attended.
“Since when does stewardship have to be boring or shameful?” said Riggs, pastor at Foundry UMC in Virginia Beach. “This was the first time I have seen stewardship taught in a practical, achievable fashion, where it was clear the stewardship is not all about the money, but all about making disciples for Jesus Christ.”
“I truly believe in the universality of these proven principles we are sharing across the Virginia Conference,” said Schoonmaker. “It is such a joy to have clergy and laity from churches of every size — from 15 members in worship up to 1,000 members in worship — and from rural and urban settings, telling us repeatedly ‘what you are teaching can work for us!" The Rev. Hank Teague, who is serving The Bridge, a campus of Monumental UMC, Portsmouth District, said the seminar opened up the possibility of each local church forming its own “theologically and practically sound stewardship program.”
“In my nine years of the pastorate, the one element that has been missing has been a flexible, practical framework for educating, encouraging and gaining commitments from the whole congregation,” Teague said. “In my current setting this flexible practical framework is crucial. Since we deal with many non-, new, nominal and ‘gun-shy’ Christians, I was hesitant to purchase any of the traditional annual stewardship campaign packages on the market.” “I never knew that we could get so much useful information in that short of a time frame,” said Kathy Dziagwa of Aldersgate UMC in Norfolk. “It’s too late to utilize the information for this year, but we will be well prepared for next year.”
Many attendees said that the thing they took away from the seminar were the practical tips. “I have attended many workshops often leaving disappointed because I hardly learned anything new,” the Rev. Hija Yu, pastor at Rectortown UMC, Winchester District. “Too many of these workshops have been theoretical without practical strategies that I can apply.”
The workshop has been videotaped and will be reproduced on a DVD for churches that were not able to attend.
Klote, president and CEO of the company, said he’s been impressed with the level of dedication of church leaders from around the Virginia Conference. “They’re committed to making their local church ministries a priority in their lives,” he said. “Participants are welcoming to new approaches and eager to do a better job in engaging their congregations and creating ownership in the annual ministries of their church. They have just been outstanding, asking great questions and offering positive discussions.”
Klote said after every seminar he’s led he’s been thanked for offering the workshop. “My response is to encourage them to thank the conference. The workshops are a gift to local congregations in response to their requests for annual budget campaign support. . . . My firm is blessed to have this opportunity to help clergy and laity with their ministries.” -- by Neill Caldwell, editor of the Virginia United Methodist Advocate
Ward, Dreshman & Reinhardt, Inc., an Illinois corporation, is a wholly owned subsidiary of James D. Klote & Associates, Inc. with offices in Falls Church, Virginia and St. Charles, Illinois. Our specialty is providing full-time, on-site capital stewardship consulting for churches and othe…