New action plan for developing our stewardship

22/06/2017

By Rachel Jobes

As our Diocesan Developing Stewardship Group (DSG) approaches the end of our second year, we have been carrying out an annual review of our action plan. The DSG was put in place as a response to many things, including recognition that changes to national funding arrangements significantly impact on the Diocese; recognition that as a diocese, Newcastle is well below the national average in weekly planned giving per head; the strong desire to change the culture of stewardship so we all realise it is rooted in theology. It is also our response as Christian disciples.

Our main objective is ‘To deliver a step change in levels of parish giving, bringing the Diocese of Newcastle up to the national average within the next five years, creating resources to grow the church and fulfil our mission’. Our action plan is how we deliver that. It is split into 5 strategic objectives:

  1. Stewardship established as a strategic priority for the Diocese that is theologically based and which underpins discipleship
  2. Clergy equipped and committed to lead on stewardship (jointly with lay people), confident in its theological basis, and clear about the links with discipleship (mission / ministry)
  3. Increased capacity and confidence of parishes and deaneries
  4. The facts around stewardship established by promoting open discussion about giving and generosity
  5. Great ability to talk about money and to communicate it effectively

To help us with the review, we, as the DSG, asked ourselves some questions on what had gone well and where we could still make more progress. Highlights include the visibility of stewardship, and our Parish Giving Scheme (PGS) launches. Areas still needing progress include changing culture, communicating with PCC’s and parishes, and providing training for both clergy and laity, specifically treasurers.

These discussions led to a draft action plan which we then worked hard on to try and ensure we were practically able to support people and deliver something meaningful that could be applied to all local contexts. After much discussion, we held another DSG meeting at which the final draft of the plan was agreed. We feel the new plan contains more specifics, and is designed to prompt more action and delivery in the key areas we think are of importance to you. We have taken the new action plan to Finance Group for approval, and it will be published on our website very soon!

Once published, we would love your thoughts and feedback on it, especially on Objective 3. This objective has taken a lot of crafting and is a substantial piece of work, but is one that we hope will equip you and give you a helping hand when you need it. We would love to know what areas you need support in, how you feel we can train you or resource you, and which topics you feel are contentious or difficult.  Please don’t hesitate to let us know! Drop me an email (r.jobes@newcastle.anglican.org), and the PGS team will endeavour to feed your requests into our work and help wherever we can.

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