Just Like That – Stewardship in the Age of Coronavirus

Date posted: Saturday 11 April 2020

Practicing Stewardship“Breathe. Relax. Just like that.”

My midwife repeated these words over and over, her arm gently resting on my forearm. With each contraction, reminding me to keep vigil of the present.


It was our first child. We were full of excitement, intrigue, fear, anxiety. The future was rich with opportunity, it was also scary as hell. Were we up for it? Did we have the energy? How were we ever going to make it? Kids are expensive! Life is unpredictable. We are in over our heads…


Breathe. Relax. Just like that.

Like new parents, we have a part in birthing something new in the church right now. We don’t know what it’s going to look like (we hardly know what it looks like now!). We see glimpses of opportunity, of God charting a new path. At the same time, we are filled with fear, uncertainty, trepidation. As leaders we wonder if we have what it takes.


As congregations we ask similar questions. Can we afford to pay the salaries and benefits for staff? Can we manage that mortgage payment? Can we keep the doors open? Are we going to make it? Can we weather the storm?


The months ahead will be financially challenging for many of our congregations. They will be difficult for us as leaders. But together, we are invited to step up the challenge, to foster continued generosity, and to be a witness to whatever God is birthing.


Here are some tools to help encourage generosity during COVID-19:

  • If you do online worship, leave space in the service for a virtual offering. It can be a slide or a verbal invitation. Invite folks to send their offerings to the church or give online. Say thank you.
  • If you haven’t started online giving yet, now is the time! Check with synod staff for recommended platforms.
  • Start a giving challenge. It could be focused on electronic giving, a special matching gift, or something else you come up with. What fits your context and your need? See a sample video of my congregation's Online Giving Challenge.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to the people in your congregation who have additional resources. They care about the church and want to see it succeed. Include them and encourage their continued support.
  • Videotape a member sharing why they give and why it’s important to do so now. Share it on social media and your website. Keep spreading the word.
  • Send a letter inviting donors to give generously to the church during these times. Acknowledge that some may not be able to give as they once could, others are able to maintain, and still others can increase their giving. Tell a ministry story about how your church is responding to the pandemic. Attach their quarterly statement for added information. Inspire, motivate, invite, and thank! See the attached letter as an example.
  • Celebrate EVERY gift! Saying thank you goes a long way, especially right now. People need to know they are appreciated, loved, and that their generosity matters.


And breathe. Relax. Just like that.

Don’t rush to anxiety or worry or angst. God’s got this. God’s in it. And God is faithful far beyond our wildest imagination. This is God’s church after all. We are called to steward the gifts in this particular time and place, while God labors to bring about resurrection in the midst of death.


Rev. Taryn Montgomery
Chisago Lake Lutheran Church, Center City