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FORTH Three-Year Demonstration Project

Developed by Wayne B. Clark

Background

In some of today's healthiest congregations, stewardship is an attitude that is reflected in the way we live our lives. While fundraising emphasizes the need of the recipient, stewardship addresses our spiritual need to give. Stewardship must precede fundraising.

Healthy congregations see stewardship as a vital component of their ministry. Leaders understand that it has a definition much wider than the narrow definition of fundraising. They believe that giving is an act of worship; that giving includes the joyful sharing of gifts, call, and spiritual vocation; and that giving is an investment.

Introduction

Forward Through the Ages (FORTH) is a multiyear, systemic stewardship development program designed to promote growth and help fulfill congregational mission. There are five phases: Receiving and Accepting, Growing and Investing, Returning and Restoring, Giving Generously, and Applying Recent Learning. Each phase has five components: stewardship education, joyful giving, ministry and good works, the annual budget drive, and planned giving.

Demonstration Project

In May 2007, seven congregations were selected from an applicant pool of forty to participate in a three-year demonstration project. These congregations are in the second year of receiving three years of consultation from a Unitarian Universalist (UUA) stewardship consultant. Each consultant is guiding their assigned congregation through all phases of FORTH, helping to develop a set of best practices. The consultation includes on-site visits, telephone conference calls, and email exchanges.

FORTH Demonstration Project Congregations

  • Unitarian Universalist (UU) Congregation of Milford; Milford, NH; Northern New England District; 225 members
  • All Souls Church, Unitarian; Washington, DC; Joseph Priestly District; 700 members
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  • UU Church of Asheville; Asheville, NC; Thomas Jefferson District; 550 members
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  • UU Fellowship of Boca Raton; Boca Raton, FL; Florida District; 240 members
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  • All Souls Community Church of West Michigan; Grand Rapids, MI; Heartland District; 160 members
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  • Valley UU Church; Chandler, AZ; Pacific Southwest District; 350 members
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  • Michael Servetus UU Fellowship; Vancouver, WA; Pacific Northwest District; 245 members

Findings

Upon conclusion of the FORTH project in June 2010, annual progress reports and interviews with the congregations and the congregational stewardship consultants led to the creation of the FORTH Report (PDF).

For more information contact congstewardship @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Friday, June 17, 2011.

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