It's that time of year to make New Year's resolutions.
Here is the first of two fundraising/stewardship resolutions that you can easily incorporate this year:
Resolution #1: Show more gratitude.
Wait, wait, wait! Don't stop reading! If you are a faithful reader you've read this right here for what must feel like a million times. But no matter how many times you've heard it, expressing thankfulness is still an important resolution…because we get busy doing other "important" things and forget.
In the "physician heal thyself" category, one of my personal resolutions for the year (in addition to watching more reality TV) is to write down three things every morning for which I am grateful. Sixteen days in – so far so good. In fact, I start anticipating my gratitude list the night before...an unexpected bonus. Thankfulness is on my mind throughout the day.
Here are two suggestions for showing more gratitude this year:
- Develop your Stewardship Calendar. Wonder what one might look like? Check it out here. Two weekly "to do" items:
- Every Monday write three gratitude notes to someone in your congregation or community
- Highlight your congregation's generosity during worship. If you're part of a community organization, thank your donors for their support whenever you get the chance.
- Start getting ready now for Valentine's Day. You remember, the day we officially celebrate love and candy hearts. This year, Valentine's Day falls on a Thursday so you get to choose whether or not to celebrate with your congregation on February 10th or the 17th. Some ideas:
- Get a box of cards – the cornier the better – and write a little note to be handed out to each person leaving the service (this is especially easy for smaller congregations). Don't over complicate it. Write a note that says, "I appreciate you!" and sign it. It may be the only card some of your people receive.
- Hand out chocolate hearts. Better yet, add a note that says, "You're sweet. God bless you." What a way to surprise and delight.
- Decorate the sanctuary with balloons and hearts. There are probably more than a few people in your congregation that don't get any attention on Valentine's Day. Be sure they feel the love in church.
So yes, this year, show more gratitude. No doubt, most of you already do – but in the next few months try upping your game or doing something new. I can guarantee that you'll feel better and that you'll love your people even more.
Cesie Delve Scheuermann, consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing, Oregon-Idaho AC
United Methodist Church Giving is about people working together to accomplish something bigger than themselves. In so doing, we effect change around the world, all in the name of Jesus Christ. To read stories about the generosity of United Methodists click here.