- No two parishes are alike, one approach does not fit all. Use stewardship “best practices” that fit your parish. Be creative and try new things. (It’s OK to fail once in a while.)
- We have “stewardship” priests and not necessarily “stewardship” parishes.
- If your pastor does not support stewardship, it will not be successful.
- If you are starting a stewardship effort within your parish, be sure to include your pastor in the beginning stages for his buy-in and support.
- If you have a new pastor, be sure to inform him of your parish stewardship plan to get his support.
- Stewardship activities should fit the “natural rhythm” of your parish. They should not be forced events, they should complement, not compete with current parish events and activities.
- Network with other parishes and the Stewardship Office to find out what works in other parishes.
“Personal” Stewardship – Best Practices
Stewardship can be divided into two areas - “parish” and “personal.”
- Parish stewardship focuses on the events and activities our parish takes part in as a community.
- Personal stewardship starts with our own conversion of heart. It is grounded in our own gratitude and generosity.
In order for parish stewardship to become ingrained in our parish culture, our own personal stewardship must become internalized in each of us.
The late Msgr. Thomas McGread said, “The real success of stewardship in our parish is found in the hearts of people. Without conversion of heart, no one is able to give themselves as Christ asked us to do.”
How we live our lives says more about us than what we say. This is expressed in a couple of universal quotes we have all probably heard:
- “Faith is caught more than taught.”
- “People believe more in a homily they can see rather than one they can hear.”
Just as there are parish stewardship “best practices,” there are personal stewardship “best practices”:
- Prayer – develop a daily prayer process.
- Participation – share your faith story with others, especially those that are closest to you like family and friends.
- Generosity – plan your charitable giving on an annual basis (don’t just give whatever you have “leftover” in your wallet or checkbook. Give from your “first fruits.”) Use the My Catholic Giving Guide in this planning guide.