Ideas to Help your Congregation End the Year Strong!

Horizon Stewardship Resource: 2021 Year End Giving Guide

The GNJ cabinet and our Stewardship Foundation want to help you finish strong, so here are a few ideas to help your congregation celebrate God’s blessings and end the year with strength and joy:

  1. Have Christmas offerings inviting people to give in thanks to how God is providing this year and so the congregation starts 2022 strong.
  2. Send hand-written thank you notes to your top 15 givers in the congregation expressing your gratitude for their support to the vision and ministry of your congregation.
  3. Form a team to help write Christmas letters to members and friends inviting them to give to God in response to how they have experienced or seen God move in 2021. Templates for letters available below.
  4. Hold “Receiving and sharing God’s great gift” worship services the Sunday before Christmas Eve. Work with a team to make these in person or online service engaging, heart touching, joy lifting encounters with God as you receive these special offering.
  5. Remind people that there are different ways to give.
  6. Invite leaders to give online to model this practical method and then have them share about it.
  7. Share creative and beneficial ways people can give.
  8. Celebrate, Share Stories, and Stir JOY
  9. Hold an evening before Advent when people join via ZOOM to put them together in their homes alongside others in the congregation.
  10. Post a daily 30-second video on Facebook and other social media platforms from members of your church sharing how your congregation is a blessing in their lives.
  11. Plan an outdoor Christmas Eve worship service with fire pits on the lawn or in a park nearby in addition to what you are already planning. Some of our churches are planning live nativity scenes or pageants!
  12. Consider giving to A Future With Hope’s Ida Road to Renewal Fund so that those impacted by the hurricane can return to fruitful ministry and mission or have a place to call home again.

Sample Fundraising Letters

Several GNJ clergy have joined together to write stewardship letters to be used during the Advent season. Each one is infused with a different spiritual approach, so please choose the ones that work best for your congregation, adapting if need be to fit your authentic messaging.

  1. Christmas Letter Miracles Celebrates the birth of Jesus and invites your congregation to a Christmas Eve service.
  2. Christmas Letter Next Steps Thanks your congregation for their support, asks them to take the next step toward giving and join you for a Christmas Eve service.
  3. Stewardship Letter: Encourages stewardship through storytelling.
  4. Christmas Letter with Ideas: Offers comfort with scripture and two ideas to add to worship service.
  5. “Inspiring Generosity” from Cesie Delve Scheuermann.

Thank you to the holiday letter contributors: Heather Valosin, Chuck Coblentz, Shelley Smith, Enger Muteteke, Brandon, Jennifer Cho and Dave Tillisch!

End of the Year is a Great Time to Encourage Gifts of Stock

Receiving Gifts of Stock Giving long-term, appreciated publicly-traded stock is a tax-efficient way for members and friends to make gifts to their congregations or other ministries. Often larger than the typical cash gift, these gifts must be properly receipted by the church so that the donor has the required tax return support. While this method involves additional steps, the ability to make stock gifts lets donors make larger, more tax-efficient gifts.

Considering Planned Gifts

Legacy is on the minds of many during these challenging times–what legacy they want to leave for family, alma mater, community and church. At the beginning of 2022 consider a Legacy Planning (Estate Planning) Seminar. A free one is available from The Stewardship Foundation.

Participants will learn the basics of establishing a will or a trust, selecting key financial and healthcare decision makers and planning for a funeral. Legacy planning is important for anyone wanting to reduce the burden loved ones face when the unexpected happens. Everyone should have a will, but they are especially important for those with children or those who want to control the distribution of their property.

When we are good stewards of our legacy, there are many lasting benefits. Your legacy can benefit your children and heirs, help those in need, inspire generosity in others, strengthen the inner character of the donor, the donor’s family, and give glory to God.

Investments Excellent Performance

The Stewardship Foundation’s investment manager, Wespath, continues to offer good performance as we move through the 4th quarter of 2021, all while remaining aligned  with the Social Principles of the United Methodist Church. Assets in CDs, mutual funds, or savings accounts can offer better earning in Wespath’s Multiple Asset Fund.

  • The Multiple Asset Fund I-Series seeks to maximize long-term investment returns, including current income and capital appreciation, while reducing short-term risk by investing in a broad mix of investments.
  • Holds a pre-specific allocation of units of the following Wespath fund: Fixed Income Fund-I Series (FIF-I), Inflation Protection Fund-I Series (IPF-I), International Equity Fund-I Series (IEF-I), and U.S. Equity Fund-I Series (USEF-I).

Additional Resources