“Offering every person in our community a life-changing encounter with Jesus.”
This quote is the heart of the vision statement of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Plymouth, Michigan, but captures the mission of parishes everywhere. The question is: do you believe it?
Believe in the mission
Talking about money is typically awkward; asking for money could be in a category all of its own. But let’s read this statement again:
Offering every person
In our community
A life-changing encounter with Jesus.
If we truly believe this is what is happening in our parish, could there be any price – be it sacrificial giving or the willingness to be uncomfortable – too great?
Generosity and commitment arise from the conviction that what we are doing matters. It is a reflection of the choice to throw my weight behind a mission or a vision, to make it our mission. But if we as parish staff and leadership are not convinced and invested in this mission, how can we ask our parishioners to be?
Before embarking on the journey to renew stewardship at your parish, take time as a staff to reflect on your parish’s mission. Pray for the grace to be all in when it comes to stewardship’s critical importance and your individual role in helping bring it to fulfillment in your parish, community and the Church as a whole.
Asking God and asking others
The God Ask, a well known book on raising funds for ministry, makes clear that raising money to support ministry requires two things: asking God and asking others.
Asking God: Prayer
Step one is seeking God and asking Him to provide in prayer. The next step can be more difficult: trusting radically in His provision. Which begs the question, what does trust look like?
Asking others: Spread the blessing
We act in trust when we’re willing to invite our parishioners, neighbors, and community to join in this mission. It begins by enabling them to experience a life-changing encounter with Jesus. The invitation to invest their lives and deepen their surrender through gifts of time, talent and treasure is a natural progression of a life changed and set on fire by Christ.
God, our only treasure and security
Practically, giving opens avenues for ministry. Spiritually, giving releases what often has become a stranglehold on what we perceive to give us “security,” i.e., our jealously guarded schedules; resources; and even our “best selves.” When we give, we receive in exchange the peace that can only come from relying on Christ to be our sure foundation, the only security we need.
God does not ask us to give our entire livelihood, like the poor widow; but he does ask us to give without fear . . . to open ourselves up to what can only be received through trust.
Part of an integrated and well thought out stewardship strategy is offering your parishioners and visitors the option to give in the way that best fits their lifestyle. Young families, single people, and retirees will likely be willing and able to give and participate in the parish’s mission in different ways. This is a great gift!
Limiting the avenues for giving and participation is certain to limit or maybe exclude those who are eager to get on board. If you don’t already, consider offering online giving, such as ParishSOFT Giving, to greatly enhance your traditional envelope system, and support engagement through other online tools.
Encounter Christ, be on fire for His mission, and invite others in
It’s not about us, and not it’s not really about money – it is about offering a life-changing encounter with Jesus. Believe it, communicate it to your parishioners, spread the Gospel, and prepare to be amazed as God multiplies our little efforts to set the world ablaze.
 Luke 21: 1-4: As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
 My Own Church, the parishioner portal included with your ParishSOFT Family Directory, offers your parish the tools to engage parishioners online. Learn more about this effective tool in our four part Heartbeat of the Parish blog series.