Developed by Wayne B. Clark
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Last updated on Friday, June 17, 2011.
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