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People are learning that stewardship is not a dangerous monster threatening to break into their homes and steal their money.  Commitments to the Lord and His church are generously given following a visit by trained visitors to every member household.

 
Resources: LLM Archives
For nearly a century, Lutheran Laity Movement for Stewardship assisted, inspired and trained congregations in important ways. LLM ceased operations on May 31, 2003, but the Stewardship of Life Institute is proud to continue its work by making its web resources available to a new generation of stewards.


E
very member visits present challenges as opportunities

 By the Rev. Kurt R. Wandry  

God is blessing Lutheran Church of the Master in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Members of the congregation know it and are responding to God's grace!

Lutheran Church of the Master is a congregation of 235 baptized members in a growing community of about 25,000. With limited space for worship, fellowship, and education, we are challenged, but also encouraged by all that is happening to us.

Stewardship is becoming a kinder and gentler word at LCM. People are learning that stewardship is not a dangerous monster threatening to break into their homes and steal their money.  Commitments to the Lord and His church are generously given following a visit by trained visitors to every member household.

Our stewardship task force, composed of committed leaders of the congregation, plans the schedule of events, provides advance publicity so members can begin prayerful consideration concerning their own stewardship, prepares the materials to be used, and contacts selected members inviting them to help with the visitation.

The visitors are then trained by the pastor in a Sunday afternoon session, equipping them with the tools and information they need to feel confident about their visits.  On the Sunday visits begin, the visitors are commissioned at the morning worship service.

All visits are made during a two week period. Visitors go to homes in pairs wisely using their time to (1) listen to members' comments, opinions, and ideas;  (2) share goals and information about the congregation; and (3) ask members to plan their involvement and commitment to LCM in terms of time and talents, and tithes and offerings for the coming year.

Last year, using this process, members' planned financial giving increased 30 percent over the previous high, with commitments accounting for 90 percent of the proposed budget!

Throughout the year, stewardship articles appear in the monthly newsletter, tithing is emphasized, and at Sunday morning worship different members share a "grace moment", telling others how God is working in their lives.

Through this mutual encouragement and support, the congregation is strengthened and united to better serve the people around us.  As people respond to God's grace, they discover even more gifts they can use in the Lord's service. They also see that God is blessing them more than they ever before realized.

Our congregation firmly believes that quality leads to quantity.  God gives to us His very best; why would we want to give anything less than our very best? Worship attendance at LCM averages above 50 percent of the membership.  Members actively participate every Sunday in assisting roles.  We have studied and are implementing Callahan's 12 Keys to an Effective Church.  

A new organ for the enhancement of worship was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day last year. A larger nursery and a fenced playground with durable equipment have been provided for the growing number of preschool and elementary children in the congregation. Secretarial help has been added to the church staff. Plans are being made for immediate building expansion. A larger sanctuary soon will be needed. Extraordinary gifted and talented members willingly share their skills and abilities, as well as financial resources, to build up the Body of Christ.

Challenges are seen as opportunities, as faith in our Lord Jesus Christ grows.

God is good, and good to His people!  His people at Lutheran Church of the Master in Coeur d'Alene, know this, and are continually growing in their stewardship.  God has given us a wonderful location among the Northwest forests, lakes, and mountains, as well as a highly visible corner in the community.  He continues to bless us and empower us with the Holy Spirit so we can be faithful and respond to His marvelous lov
e and grace!

The Rev. Kurt Wandry was serving as pastor of Lutheran Church of the Master, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, when this article appeared in the Fall 1995 issue of Faith in Action.

  Copyright 1995, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
This essay first appeared in Faith in Action. Articles in Faith in Action may be reproduced for use in ELCA and ELCIC congregations provided each copy carries the note:
Copyright 1995, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Reprinted with permission.