Stewardship Resource


Happening  Happening
  • Author: Jerry Hoffman was an interim pastor at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Minneapolis, MN 55110. (July 2003-October 2004)
  • Updated: 03/19/2008
  • Copyright: The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd
    4801 France Avenue South
    Minneapolis, MN 55110

The 2004 stewardship emphasis was "Gifts of the Heart."  

Information about two special features are included.

"THE DINNER" -- A gathering of the congregation for a meal.

Special edition of the "SHEPHERD'S STAFF NEWSLETTER"


The DINNER was at noon, right after worship.  The participants feasted on a hearty chicken and ribs meal, with an option for vegetarians.  The people were promised that the whole occasion including food and program would be done within 1 1/2 hours.  

The DINNER was a time to celebrate the life of the congregation.  We looked back and gave thanks for what had occurred, including a seven minute video of the congregation in action.  

The president of the congregation shared a vision of what was coming in the future.

The participants were encouraged to reflect on their pledges for 2005 and were informed on how they would be received.  

On each table there was a wrapped gift box which served as the centerpiece. The packages contained a thank you note of 25 words or less on groups who benefited from the congregation's benevolences (Such as, Lutheran Social Services, Luther Seminary, Waldorf College, Habitat for Humanity, etc.). In addition, the beneficiary included eight brochures about their work along with eight trinkets (pencil, pen, refrigerator magnet, button, t-shirt, etc.) that symbolized the beneficiary.  These were distributed to each person at the table (tables seated eight).  Larger beneficiaries, like the Minneapolis Area Synod, ELCA, were invited to provide for two or three tables.  


Another feature was the recognition of the total number of hours contributed to the work of the congregation by unpaid staff.  A survey was taken in the congregation asking people to identity their volunteer activities and make an estimate of how much time was spent doing that activity during the year.

The estimate was based on a simple process.  First, we placed an insert in the bulletin for two Sundays, asking people to write down what volunteer activities they had been involved in during the last year.  We then asked them to make their best guess on how many hours were involved..   Second, from their responses we identified the various volunteer activities.  When there were several who indicated they served as ushers, we took the total number of hours each had estimated and divided by the number of person who responded.  Third, the staff and other leaders in the congregation identified the approximate number of persons who serve in each of these roles.  Fourth, we multiplied the average hours by the number of volunteers to gain a guess at the total number of hours for each position.  Fifth, to get our total, we added all the hours for each position together.  

Prior to the DINNER, whenever the opportunity presented, the question was asked, just how many total hours do you think people contribute to the work of this congregation over a years time.  After answers were given, we would say, well, come to THE DINNER and find out!

During THE DINNER, the people around each table were challenged to come up with an estimate of how many hours guessed were invested.  We not only considered the hours but also went by a proposed value which said that each hour is worth $15.  

During the Dinner, a representative from each table went to the microphone and read a portion of the thank you note, showed everyone their gift and announced the number of hours their table estimated to have been contributed by volunteers.  

Remarkably, the total gift of time was 59, 619 hours times $15.00.   The value of those gifts was only slightly less than the total amount of dollars given during the last year.

A couple of digital cameras were put to work during the year catching all sorts of engaging activities of the work, play, on a mission, eating, worship, musical events, Sunday School, etc.  The photographs were carefully chosen to represent a wide variety of activities and then merged into a rapid video display with the music, "We Are Family" captivating the spirit.  

THE DINNER was a great celebration.  There was good food, good laughter, serious reflection and a strong sense of community.


A special edition of the weekly newsletter was mailed to the congregation four weeks prior to Consecration Sunday.  

Included in the newsletter was an article which presented an

You may view a PDF version of the total newsletter by clicking on Shepherd's Staff Newsletter

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Adam CopelandAdam Copeland serves as director of the Center for Stewardship Leaders.

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