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Measuring Stewardship: Thinking Beyond Giving Data (Part 1)

Measuring Stewardship: Thinking Beyond Giving Data (Part 1)

At Christian Stewardship Network’s 2024 Forum, Vision2 CTO and Co-Founder Carl Tierney co-presented on the topic of measuring to manage your financial stewardship goals. The Annual Stewardship Survey events provided inspiration for the session with the majority of participating churches reporting they don’t track their financial discipleship efforts.

 

The Stewardship Dilemma

57% of churches that participated in the recent Stewardship Survey webinar revealed a 57% dont track stewardship effortssurprising truth: they do not track financial discipleship efforts. For those that do, the focus tends to be on initial participation and attrition rates. While measuring generosity—such as first-time gifts, post-campaign giving, and overall contributions—is relatively straightforward, assessing stewardship efforts presents unique challenges.

 

The Questions We Grapple With

  1. When to Measure: Stewardship isn’t a one-time event; it’s an ongoing journey. So, when should we measure it? Annually? Quarterly? Continuously? Finding the right rhythm matters.
  2. What to Measure: Which metrics truly reflect the success of our stewardship efforts? Is it about completing the program, continuing to apply their plan, or specific behaviors that affect spiritual growth? Defining these metrics is crucial.
  3. Defining Success: How do we know if our stewardship efforts are successful? Is it solely about increased giving, or should we consider transformed lives and deeper spiritual growth?
  4. How to Measure: Gathering data is one thing; interpreting it effectively is another. Are we using surveys, interviews, or behavioral indicators? Each method has its merits.
  5. And Once We Do, Then What?: Once we have the data, how do we respond? Adjust our teaching? Celebrate progress? Address gaps?

Expanding the Scope

Stewardship isn’t confined to the pews. It extends to the church staff and volunteers who play pivotal roles. Their stewardship health impacts the entire congregation. Here’s why:

  1. Consistency in Approach: When staff and volunteers model faithful stewardship, it reinforces the message. Imagine a children’s ministry leader who teaches kids about tithing while struggling with personal finances—it sends mixed signals.
  2. Uncovering Ministry Opportunities: By assessing staff and volunteer stewardship, we uncover ministry gaps.
  3. Messaging Across Teams: Stewardship isn’t siloed; it’s woven into every ministry. When staff and volunteers align, the message resonates more powerfully.

Practical Steps Forward

  1. Holistic Metrics: Beyond dollars, consider tracking financial literacy classes attended, debt reduction progress, and sacrificial acts. These paint a fuller picture of stewardship.
  2. Regular Checkpoints: Set regular measurement points following your program—our recommendation is for annual assessments over the next five years. Use these insights to adjust teaching and celebrate growth.
  3. Training and Equipping: Invest in staff and volunteer training. Equip them to model stewardship and address financial challenges with grace.
  4. Celebrate Stories: Share testimonies of transformed lives. Highlight how stewardship principles impact families, marriages, and communities.

Remember, stewardship isn’t about numbers alone; it’s about hearts transformed and lives aligned with God’s purposes. Let’s measure wisely, act intentionally, and cultivate a culture of faithful stewardship—one that extends far beyond the offering plate.

 
Be sure to check out part 2 for the specific aspects to track and consider when evaluating your financial discipleship program.
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