Dear People and Friends of the Diocese of New Jersey,
For it is as if a man going on a journey, summoned his servants and entrusted his property to them—Matthew 25:14
We’re near the end of August. Summer 2022 is drawing to a close. Labor Day is around the corner. So, I have a question for you: Is your church AMP-ed Up?
A-M-P stands for Annual Giving, Major Gifts and Planned Giving. Healthy congregations should be actively engaged in all three of these areas of financial stewardship. Faithful financial stewardship is a vital area of Christian discipleship. As summer draws to a close, it is an appropriate time to consider Annual Giving.
Fall is a time when most congregations engage in their budget planning and annual giving campaigns. Doing this well requires careful prayer, thought, planning, attention to details and intentionality in connecting with people.
I am deeply grateful to Co-Chairs Fr. Bob Fitzpatrick of Grace Church, Merchantville and Eva Lesniak of Church of the Holy Spirit, Lebanon, as well as our incredibly dedicated Project Resource Team which is the Stewardship Commission of the Diocese of New Jersey. Throughout the summer, the Project Resource Team offered tremendous practical resources and support for our congregational leaders, to help congregations strengthen their stewardship planning efforts in preparation for the fall.
The Project Resource Team prepared and sent out six emails providing information, tips, and links to helpful resources offering stewardship materials. These addressed the “nuts and bolts” of preparing for and executing a successful annual pledge campaign and included such topics as “How to Build Your Case and Make the Pitch,” “How to Give Online, Pledge, and Track,” and “How to Recognize and Thank.”
On three Wednesday evenings in August (3, 10, 17), the team offered online workshops. More than 90 people participated over the three weeks. The workshops addressed the following areas:
Video #1 – Reconnecting with the People of Your Congregation
Video #2 – Building Your Team
Video #3 – Engaging and Follow Through
If you missed the mail series or workshops, fear not! All six emails and videos of the three workshops can be found on the Diocese of New Jersey website. Check them out. They are well worth your time.
Church leaders—lay and clergy—have a responsibility to help all the baptized understand that we are to be faithful stewards of our personal resources as well as stewards of the church resources that have been handed down and entrusted to our care, often over many generations.
We have been blessed with a dedicated group of people who make up our Project Resource Team. Their commitment to this ministry is a gift to all of us, helping us to carry out God’s mission of reconciliation in the cities, towns, and villages that make up this incredible community that is the Diocese of New Jersey. It’s time to AMP UP!
Blessings and peace,
The Right Reverend William H. Stokes
Bishop of New Jersey