Stewardship FAQ

In July 2015, Good Shepherd’s Council voted to begin a partnership with Pastor Mike Ward for the purposes of consultation on questions of stewardship and fundraising. Below are some questions that Council wishes to address. If you have further questions, please contact Hal Neely or Pastor Alexander.

Why do we need to partner with someone for help with our stewardship?

For the past year, Council has been tracking and studying our giving in relation to our budget. We have determined that there is plenty of room for us to grow, but our methods still need development. We feel that we need a more tailored approach and use all the resources at our disposal.

We have also done research into what is going on around us. We have found that many churches are no longer able to rely on traditional stewardship campaigns to fully meet their needs. Simply put, the church culture is changing beneath our feet. People no longer give to the church in the same way and there is a lot more competition for charitable giving. If we want to thrive in the years and decades ahead, we need to adapt to the new reality. And as we would with any complex technical challenge, we are turning to an expert for guidance.

Can’t we do this ourselves?

We can certainly conduct an annual stewardship campaign. We’ve done many in the past. However, as we look at our needs in the future, we have realized that traditional campaigns are not enough. On top of regular giving, we are seeking to build-up programs for planned giving, annuities, and a capital campaign for building upgrades. Pastor Mike will be able to help us balance all of these programs and ensure that we don’t exhaust or tap out our members.

It is important to note that we are not outsourcing our stewardship efforts. All of the leg work will be done by our own Stewardship Team. Pastor Mike’s role is simply to provide advice, direction, and resources.

Who is Mike Ward? What is GSB?

Mike is an ordained ELCA pastor whose call to ministry came as a summer staff person at Camp Lutherock.  He was part of two capital appeals as a parish pastor and as VP of Advancement for Lutheridge + Lutherock Ministries, Mike helped raise over $14 million in immediate gifts in a ten year period of time. He has served on the ELCA Council and in a number of leadership positions in the North Carolina Synod. You can read more about him at: http://www.gsbfundraising.com/mike_ward/

GSB stands for Gronlund Sayther Brunkow. It is a fundraising consulting firm of which Pastor Mike is a partner. GSB’s mission is to provide ethical, professional and customized service directed to helping the client build a productive and continuing development program.

How did you decide to partner with Mike Ward?

He was referred to us by several people, including Bishop Bolick. Pastor Mike is a very active and visible leader in the NC Synod. The Council interviewed him and spoke with several pastors who worked with him in the past. All highly recommended his services. He has been extremely open, professional, and willing to answer questions promptly. Council has been prayerfully deliberating for three months and has come to a unanimous decision to begin the partnership.

How much will it cost?

Good Shepherd will pay a fee for services in the amount of $825 per month. We have the option to terminate the contract and cease payments after the first three months. This fee covers GSB’s services and any travel and other expenses Pastor Mike or others will incur working with us. This rate is below average for similar services elsewhere. We are approaching this as an investment towards our growth. We can realistically expect increased giving of several times that amount.

How are we paying for this?

Because our new staff position will begin in September instead of July, Council was able to reallocate the unused portion of the salary to cover the Stewardship Team’s expenses through the end of the year. It will not add to the budget. This was approved at the July meeting.

How long will this partnership last?

Our contract with GSB ends after one year. However, we are free to continue the partnership as long as we wish. Most churches work with Pastor Mike for 5-7 years. During that time, his goal would be to double annual giving. Council will regularly evaluate our progress to determine whether or not to continue.

Will my giving information be made public?

No, it will not. Your giving records are confidential but not secret. In other words, full giving information (names and amounts) is entrusted to only those who need it for record keeping and accounting—specifically, the Church Administrator and the Financial Secretary, who uses this information to prepare the annual contribution statements. This will not change. However, in order to track our progress, the Stewardship Committee will need access to some information. In those cases, they will see amounts paired with offering envelope numbers to protect the identity of individual givers. Council will continue to ensure best practice in handling sensitive information.

Should the church be involved in fundraising?

Sometimes the word “fundraising” can have negative connotations. However, we see in the Bible that Jesus’ ministries were supported by the generosity of others (Luke 8:1-3). Paul has a lot to say about giving in the church (e.g. 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, 2 Corinthians 8-9, Phillipians 4:10-20). Simply put, the act of passing the plate is done in order to raise the funds that we need to do our ministry in the world. However, the ultimate mission of the Stewardship Team is not to fundraise for the church—it is to help all our members better respond to God’s abundance with joy and generosity.