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Scripture teaches that everything belongs to God. God entrusts some of what belongs to God to the care of each person on earth.  This makes us stewards. Faithful stewards use that which is God’s to further God’s intention to love, save, and bless the world.

In Passing the Plate, the authors contend that while American Christians have the capacity to be very generous givers, the majority are actually quite ungenerous relative to what their faith traditions teach and to their potential for bountiful giving. 

In our research, we hope to uncover answers to four focal questions:

  • What are the core perspectives in vibrant stewardship congregations?
  • What core practices are present in vibrant stewardship congregations and among their leaders (especially the pastors)?
  • What core skills do we find in the leaders of vibrant congregations that bring capacity to the church’s sense of stewardship and service to God?
  • When and how were the perspectives, practices and skills of the vibrant congregation’s stewardship leaders formed?

Project Timeline

  • Phase one: Identify 6-8 congregations (from several mainline traditions) whose regular giving has increased markedly in the last decade relative to membership.  [July – October 2010]
  • Phase two: Develop and implement surveys of congregational leadership and members. [November 2010 – February 2011]
  • Phase three: Analyze interviews and report findings on key factors, influences, or changes that emerged from the surveys back to congregations for their consideration.  [March – May 2011]
  • Phase four: Each congregation identifies projects that will strengthen stewardship, and carries out these projects, reporting results. [June 2011 – August 2012]
  • Phase five: Distribute and publish results more widely, including through the Luther Seminary Stewardship website.  Encourage discussion of these results.  Develop resources for congregations based on what is discovered.  [September 2012 and after]