Thursday, July 9
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Presbytery of Winnebago
“This training is providing me with ways to lead and prod in a more prophetic and challenging way.” So said Rev. Tom Willadsen at the conclusion of three full days of stewardship training. Yep, stewardship! Willadsen, pastor of First Presbyterian in Oshkosh, went on to say that the training—Creating Congregational Cultures of Generosity, a program of the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving—“has helped the congregation I serve see the connection between what they put in the offering plate and how the church is present in the world as the body of Christ. And it has helped us be less timid about sharing the good news!”
Helping congregations become thriving communities of discipleship is a priority for the Presbytery of Winnebago, made up of 33 congregations in northeast Wisconsin. To do that, we’re focusing on training, educating, and inspiring church leaders (both ordained and lay) in the areas of individual and corporate stewardship, spiritual and mental health, and practical ministry.
Ten congregations participated in the stewardship training, which was one of the first opportunities for pastors, treasurers, stewardship chairs, and finance committee members to come together to learn, share ideas, and commit to stay in touch as they implement new strategies in the coming fiscal year. The enthusiasm has carried forward with measurable results. Congregations are changing the way they think about generosity and the potential impact they have on their communities.
Rev. Susan Zencka, pastor of Frame Memorial Presbyterian in Stevens Point, described spending seven joyful hours handwriting thank-you notes to congregation members who made a financial gift for 2014. She said many powerful conversations followed, most of which began with members saying, “Thank you for your thank-you note!”
Our recent stewardship training has helped us create prophets of gratitude and generosity, who in turn are creating more faithful disciples of Christ.
—Lisa Strandberg, ruling elder, First Presbyterian Church, Neenah, and Rev. Sarah Moore-Nokes, general presbyter, Presbytery of Winnebago
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Gracious God, open our hearts and minds, and teach us to be abundantly generous with all that we have. Help us not to be timid but to boldly proclaim your good work in this world. Amen.