Raising the Next Generation to be Grateful and Generous

Children are one of God's greatest gifts. We strive to raise them to be compassionate, appreciative, and kindhearted. As a church we promise to love and nurture them in Christ. One of our responsibilities as communities of faith is to teach our children how to recognize God's abundant gifts of grace, to be grateful for what they have been given, and to be generous. Here are a few ideas to help as we develop the next generation of stewards.

1. Help children see that God has given them many blessings. (This also teaches good self-esteem.)

Step Up Generosity in 2017

We recommend to pastors and church leaders that you take the time to "step out" your congregational giving this year. Using a chart like the one in the photo (from Herb Miller's Grow1 Stewardship Program), you can easily see how people are supporting the church as well as challenge members to consider moving up a step. Many congregations share the concern that only a few members are generating most of the church's gifts; at a recent conference we heard from a pastor whose church has 10% of the members giving 45% of its budget.

The Giving Autobiography

What is your earliest memory of giving and of receiving? Mine involves my grandmother; she took me out to lunch every year on my birthday, letting me pick the restaurant (as a kid that was usually McDonald’s or Arby’s), and then we went shopping and I got to pick out whatever I wanted as long as it was under a certain limit. As an adult I can appreciate that her giving was how we all should give….selflessly. She didn’t make me eat where she wanted to eat (most likely the K&W Cafeteria or the Carriage House), and she didn’t give me something she thought I should have; she let me choose.

Good Things Take Time

About this time last year, conversations with Jeff Coppage, pastor of Covenant Moravian Church, York Pennsylvania, were really beginning to point in the direction of a capital campaign. We actually started talking in 2014, dreaming about a plan to celebrate the congregation’s renewed interest in mission and outreach. And a very important 50th anniversary would occur in 2015. In 1965, two congregations of modest means, Bethany and Olivet Moravian Churches, joined to form a new congregation, Covenant, a name to reflect their shared commitment.  

Learning to Lead

This past Saturday, Laura Watson and I attended the Board of Cooperative Ministries’ “Leadership Focus 2016”.  Held at Fairview Moravian in Winston-Salem, this all-day event entitled “Living the Essentials”, attracted Moravian pastors and laypersons from across the Southern Province. After the keynote address by the Rev. Dr. Jill Crainshaw from Wake Forest School of Divinity, we could chose from eleven different workshops focusing on leadership for a variety of areas: music, mission, church communication, governance and much more.

Gift Planning

This week we're pleased to share the following from Michael Reeves, one of the authors of Creative Giving.

While the concept of estate planning is a relatively new idea, the principles of managing the assets God provides to us are biblical. Although it is not a biblical statement, the following comment, attributed to Andrew Carnegie, is certainly congruent with these principles: The man who dies rich dies disgraced.

Forever Home

Since October of 2014, I've had the pleasure of working with a dedicated group of individuals at Home Moravian Church who recognized the importance of incorporating planned giving into the Church's year-round stewardship ministry. At our first meeting, the conversation centered around the following questions:

Joy is at the Heart of It

As I reflect on my work with Calvary Moravian in Winston-Salem, a quote from Henri Nouwen came to mind: ”Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”  The Calvary congregation has been choosing Joy for the last several months as we’ve worked together to understand grace, generosity and gratitude and the joy it brings to us.

A Name Changer for Clemmons Moravian

My March 2015 blog was entitled “What’s in a Name?” Working with Clemmons Moravian Church this year, I can tell you more about how changing a name has given energy and a new vocabulary to the church committee, formerly known as the Stewardship Committee. I am delighted that the Grace and Giving Committee decided to begin a year-round focus on Grace, Generosity and Gratitude.

Yes, Your Church Needs to Talk About Planned Giving

When we meet with church leaders about encouraging their members to remember the church in their estate plans, we sometimes hear from people who think planned giving efforts are for larger, wealthier congregations that are "better off". This isn't true! To emphasize this point, we share the following story from Michael Reeves, author of "Creative Giving":

What's in a Name?

I’ve been working with the Grace and Giving Committee of Clemmons Moravian Church. Pretty nifty title, I think, and I don’t remember hearing a church committee with that name.  It was, however, formerly known as the Stewardship Committee.  Now that’s a name you are familiar with, I’m sure.

This energetic and “can do” group was inspired not only to choose a new name, but also to choose a new way. Together we have strategized and planned activities to promote generosity and gratitude throughout 2015.

Many Ways to Give

Giving is an expression of our gratitude for God's grace and generosity in our lives. There are many ways in which we give: of our time, of our energy, of our skills, and of our finances, and we often find that through giving, we receive.

"We're Ready. Let's Do It!"

17 years ago this past August, I started work with what would eventually become the Moravian Ministries Foundation, and I have felt blessed every single day. Often I say I feel like I died and went to heaven; it is amazing and I know I am fortunate. But why? It comes down to two things: the people and the work itself. This week I had another experience where these two “things” intersected for seemingly the zillionth time.

It's Time to Talk About....

Paul, Laura and I have had two very productive meetings with the South Branch RCC. For our Northern Province readers, the 2010 Southern Province Synod created Regional Conferences of Churches (or RCCs), which are small clusters of congregations and fellowships that meet together to enable communication, build unity and expand community throughout the Province.

A Gift That Benefits Both the Church and You

If you are considering making a gift to a Moravian church or agency, and you have stock which you have held for more than one year which has appreciated in value, thus making it capital gain property, you might want to consider making a stock gift.  In most cases, contributions of capital gain property can be tax-deductible at the fair market value on the day the gift is made.  For more specific information, please see page 11 of IRS Publication 526 - Charitable Contributions.  Please note that we are no

Now Is The Time

The Federal Reserve recently reported that household net worth in the United States is at an all-time high. The growth in 2013 alone was $9.8 trillion, or 14 percent. The ongoing economic recovery has led to a drop in unemployment figures and a rise in the value of real estate, stocks, and other investments. Improving economic conditions such as these have historically led to a boost in charitable giving.

Sharing the Faith and the Courage at Home Moravian Church

Over the past few weeks we've shared two interviews about successfully leading capital campaigns; the first was with Rev. Kurt Liebenow of Christian Faith Moravian in DeForest, Wisconsin, and the second was with Gail Theard, Grace Moravian (NC) member and chair of Laurel Ridge's recent Feed My Sheep campaign.

A New Challenge for New Beginnings

Over the past month, I have been spending a lot of time at New Beginnings Moravian Church in Huntersville, North Carolina, a suburb of Charlotte. Our Morning Star Campaign Services is providing assistance as the church plans renovations to their facilities.

This congregation is unusual in our Moravian world because it was chartered less than 15 years ago. Its growth has been slow and steady, with each step well-planned and well-executed. Here’s a brief outline of New Beginnings’ history:

So You Need a Website - Part IV - What's New in the World of Website Goodies

In 1996, I created my first website. I had just opened my private voice studio, and I needed a marketing tool to let people know I was in business.  I had no idea what I was doing, and I had very few tools with which to do it.  I don't think I even had any pictures on the site, just text with a very simple logo I was able to create in an early version of Photoshop.  I could do background colors, but if I wanted to use anything other than the simplest fonts, in headings, for example, I had to create the heading as a jpg file in Photoshop and treat the entire thing as a graphic.  I can remember creating graphics for the menus as well...very primitive. 

Don't Be Afraid to Say "Campaign"!

What comes to your mind when you hear the word "campaign"? Politics? The military? Or, do you think of money, as "campaign" is often paired with "capital"? Many churches resist considering capital campaigns as they involve money and are a lot of hard work. Luckily we found several Moravians eager to talk about their recent experiences with capital campaigns for their churches, or, in the case of one, for Laurel Ridge Moravian Camp in the Southern Province.

So You Need a Website - Part III - Updating and Maintaining

Updating and maintaining websites has historically been a problem, particularly in small offices.  When there are only two or three or four people in your office, odds are that one of them is not going to be a webmaster.  And so what we've always done has been to farm updating our website out to a contractor or a volunteer, which means we've had to wait until they got to us in their work flow or until they had the time available from their real job to make our updates.  Or if we happened to have someone in our office capable of making updates, it's always been one

Growing Generosity and Gratitude

A few weeks ago Chi-Chi and I had the pleasure of leading a session on Growing Generosity and Gratitude at the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries' Leadership Focus held at Friedberg Moravian Church in Winston-Salem, NC.

More About Morning Star Campaign Services

Morning Star Campaign Services was created in 2000 to provide a capital campaign consulting service uniquely designed for Moravian churches and agencies.  Being able to offer objectivity and experience has proved beneficial, not only for our constituencies, but also for the Foundation.

So You Need a Website - Part II - What On Earth Is a Content Management System?

Part I of this series discussed the website software Drupal and Wordpress; both applications create what are known as content management systems, or CMS's. When we first started creating websites, we thought of them as online brochures with static pages that didn't change much. We might update an "Our People" page, if someone left and we hired a new person. Or, if we posted quarterly earnings reports, we'd update it every quarter. But most of the content on the site stayed the same.

So You Need a Website, Part I - The Software

I think a lot of organizations with limited resources, such as smaller churches, would like to have websites, but are hesitant to start one because they think it will be expensive and difficult.  And it certainly can be.  But it doesn't have to be.

Why Do a Narrative Budget?

Many churches have found the narrative budget to be a useful tool for connecting money with ministry as well as talking about the future needs of the congregation. As its name implies, the narrative budget tells a story: the story of how specific components of the church's budget contribute to the life of the church as a community of faith and assist it with fulfilling its mission.

Is It Feasible?

Is your church considering a capital campaign? If so consider conducting a feasibility study. Moravian Ministries Foundation Vice President Chi-Chi Messick explains why:

A feasibility study determines a congregation's readiness to launch a capital campaign. More specifically, the consultant gathers answers to three questions:

Giving Appreciated Securities

Are you or is someone in your congregation considering a gift of appreciated securities? This article explains the advantages and can be used in your church newsletter and on your church's website.

There are definite tax advantages in giving property that has appreciated in value and has been held long-term. Here's how it works:

Faith Is a Verb - Raleigh Moravian Church

On Sunday, September 29, 2013, I was privileged to have been asked to speak at Raleigh Moravian Church.  The text of that talk follows:

Good morning and thank you for inviting me back to your delightful church.

On behalf of the Trustees – including your own Keith Kapp who serves on the Moravian Ministries Foundation Board – and along with the staff of the Foundation – I bring you warm greetings.

Today, I want to briefly talk about two words we at the Foundation have spent considerable time discussing – Gratitude and Generosity.