A Stewardship Season Online: How to Adapt

We have been inspired by the many ministers and lay leaders who have shared with us over the past four months how they have been adapting our resources in new, creative ways as they worship apart. Now as churches prepare to enter stewardship season during a global pandemic and economic recession, while many are out of work or facing astronomical healthcare bills, we must enlist our imaginations once again.

We created our new stewardship resources for the Our Money Story bundle (more about that here) knowing that this fall, congregations would be wondering how to plan a socially-distanced stewardship campaign. Below, we share ideas for how to adapt and implement each of our stewardship resources for your online worship.

We look forward to the creative solutions you’ll share in our Facebook group. However you adapt, we hope you’ll find ways to reflect on your own narratives and share them with each other.

Practical Toolkit for Stewardship

The Our Money Story practical toolkit includes three files: a Practical Guide to Stewardship, Your Money Story Workbook, and Your Community’s Money Story Curriculum Guide. The Your Money Story Workbook is formatted as a booklet, but a version is available upon request which includes separate, ordered pages for using on e-devices. These tools are essential for preparing for a successful, theologically-grounded stewardship campaign. For example, you could:

  • Email the Practical Guide to your finance or stewardship committee to learn about best practices before planning your stewardship campaign

  • Print and mail copies of the Workbook to members preparing the stewardship campaign to complete on their own

  • Email the Workbook to members of the congregation to begin thinking about their money stories

  • Use the Zoom whiteboard feature as a group note-taking space as your team works through the Curriculum Guide—everyone can type their responses anonymously, and you can save a screenshot of each completed section

words for worship

For each week in the series, the liturgy collection includes: a call to worship, prayer of confession, prayer for illumination, affirmation of faith, and prayer of dedication for the offering. Weeks one and four include full liturgy for celebrating Holy Communion. You are welcome to utilize these liturgies in whatever worship format you are using, providing credit wherever they appear. For example, you could:

  • Read the liturgy in live streamed worship

  • Record the liturgy and edit it together with images or video and background music that can be inserted into worship

  • Print the liturgy in online PDF worship guides or bulletins

  • Include excerpts of the liturgy in your social media posts, email updates, newsletter, or on your church website

our money story Study Journal

Through art, written reflections, poetry, text study prompts, and journaling prompts, the study journal is designed  to be used as a personal devotional or as the curriculum for a group study series. We’ve formatted it to be printed as an 8.5x5.5 booklet, but we also have a version we distribute by request that is formatted to be read on a screen. (While the PDF does not have editable text fields, you can use PDF mark-up apps such as Goodnotes, Noteshelf, or Notability to “write” in the journal on a tablet using a stylus.) This allows for many options when using the journal with your church. For example, you could:

  • Print and mail copies of the booklet to members to use throughout the series

  • Email the weekly pages to members to engage as they prepare for the Sunday ahead

  • Utilize the contents as the foundation of a Bible study, inviting members to discuss the prompts together

  • Screen share pages from the journal in a Zoom Bible study and invite members to type their own responses to the prompts using the annotate feature

Poems for stewardship

Poetry has a way of speaking to our hearts, especially in times of trauma and disconnection. The Our Money Story poems are moving and speak to our stewardship sub-themes. We hope you’ll share these in many ways with your congregation. For example, you could:

  • Read the poems in worship, either live streamed or as an edited, pre-recorded video with images and background music

  • Use the poems to open and close small groups or Bible studies on Zoom

  • Print the poems and mail them to members in your community to read and return to throughout your stewardship season

  • Share excerpts of poems on your social media or in weekly emails

  • Quote a section of the poems in sermons

mandala mosaic Art project

We love empowering churches to create art in community, but the distance has made it difficult. Thinking toward the future, we designed the mandala mosaic art project to be completed over the four weeks with tangible elements included in worship to be added later to the mandala mosaic. If you are worshiping online, don’t fear! There are many ways to adapt the art curriculum to be used remotely. For example, you could:

  • Use the prompts in worship, but ask members to use what they have available at home and drop the materials off at or mail them to the church—you don’t need to follow our exact materials!

  • Designate a project leader to collect the materials and complete the mandala, showing the community the progress via photos on social media or even as a time-lapse video during worship

  • Print the mandala design as a coloring sheet or coloring poster and distribute it to members to color on their own

  • Color in the template together using Zoom’s screen share and annotation features

  • Encourage congregants to create their own mandalas out of found elements and post them to social media—you could even feature some of the creations on your social media, website, weekly emails, or in worship!
    (The nature mandala featured above was created by Bonnie Edwards of First Presbyterian Church of Dallas who has been creating daily mandalas out of natural and found objects since shelter-in-place began.)

Sermon planning guide

The sermon planning guide is designed to help pastors engage deeply with the scriptures and sub-themes for each week of the Our Money Story series, but you don’t have to limit the included questions, commentary, and quotes to sermon writing! There are many ways to use this resource. For example, you could:

  • Use the commentary and prompts in Bible study to help members dig deeper into the texts for the week

  • Post quotes from the guide on social media

  • Ask the guiding questions in worship for a time of discussion or silent reflection

  • Include the thoughts for the week in weekly emails to preview Sunday’s theme

Visual art collection

We’ve created eight images specifically for the Our Money Story series based on our focal scriptures. In addition to the digital image files included in the bundle, all these images are available for purchase as prints in our print shop and make wonderful gifts for finance committees, church treasurers, ministers, and church staff as a thank you for all their extra work during stewardship season. During the series, the images can be used in many ways throughout church life. For example, you could:

  • Incorporate the practice of visio divina in worship or small groups (we include a visio divina guide with the visuals)

  • Layer the images over recorded videos such as prayers, affirmations of faith, or music

  • Quote artist statements as a reflection during worship

  • Display the images on screen during the corresponding scripture reading

  • Embed the images in digital worship guides or bulletins as bulletin cover art

  • Post photos of the images from our website on your social media with quotes from the artist statements

stewardship Lessons for children

Knowing that social distancing measures would very well still be in place for some time, we created children’s lessons that are highly adaptable and require common, flexible, or minimal supplies so that they could be used at church, at home, or on Zoom.  Each week contains a “Main Message” for the week, songs to sing together, and two lessons (one for the Hebrew Bible story and one for the Gospel story) containing the scripture, questions to open the lesson, a script to use in communicating the main idea, a short prayer, and an extension activity. These elements can be fashioned to create lessons that fit your particular program. For example, you could:

  • Record a video of the opening questions, script, and prayer for each week to insert into your worship services

  • Include extension activities in a weekly email to families with children

  • Ask families to record their children singing one of the songs (backing tracks are available on YouTube and Spotify for all songs) and include the videos in worship services

  • Gather children on Zoom for a weekly live children’s lesson—several of the extension activities can even be engaged online!

  • Print the lessons and mail them along with some simple supplies to families with children for them to engage during the week

  • Create a children’s “Stewardship Camp” in the evenings during the week, incorporating the songs, lessons, and activities

our money story Branding bundle

The branding bundle is especially helpful while we are apart. It includes background photography, logos, templates, and progress images that communicate the Our Money Story theme. You can combine these elements to create images for all sorts of uses. For example, you could:

  • Create social media images using our templates and quotes from sermons, artist statements, or the sermon planning guide

  • Use the slide images in online worship

  • Place background photography behind text or images in worship videos

  • Place fundraising progress images on your church’s website or social media, or in weekly emails or newsletters

All of these resources are included in the Our Money Story bundle and are also available for purchase individually. Learn more about the theme with our free infographic and sign up for our newsletter to see samples of the resources.

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SA Operations Support & Content Creator

Anna Strickland (she/her/hers) looks for the Divine in the everyday like treasure in clay jars and first encountered God in the integration of her spiritual self and artistic self. She is a native Austinite and graduated from the University of Texas where she now works in college ministry, especially serving LGBTQ students.