Giving for Life helps parishes review their approach to issues of stewardship and generosity, within a context of discipleship. Following a survey of more than 1100 parishes, it is clear that most parishes have made real progress in adopting proven good practice over the past few years.
Parishes are asked to allocate 20 to 30 minutes of a PCC meeting to evaluate their strategy with stewardship, and assess where they might improve their adoption of Good Practice.
There are two principal resources to help: a 4 page Leaders Guide introducing the item and a 2-sided sheet for PCC Members. We’ve also produced a short video to introduce this (Click here) and a PowerPoint presentation to support.
Parish Giving Scheme: If your diocese is one that has adopted the Parish Giving Scheme, you are encouraged to use these versions of the Leaders Guide and the PCC Members Sheet. Dioceses which have adopted the Parish Giving Scheme as of August 2016 are Birmingham, Chelmsford, Chichester, Exeter, Gloucester, Guildford, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Portsmouth, St Albans, Truro and Winchester. Salisbury parishes are also encouraged to use these versions, as the Parish Giving Scheme will be launched there next year.
The assessment sheet identifies some priority tasks which help encourage giving in the context of discipleship:
- Preach and teach regularly about giving in the context of discipleship. It is not the preacher’s job to raise the funds for the church, but rather to nurture holistically generous disciples. (Click here for some resources for preachers)
- Clearly communicate that giving to the church enables the mission and ministry that flows from it. Many givers are not aware of the impact of their giving.
- Hold some form of annual review of giving. Personal and church finances work on an annual basis, and so it is good to help people review their giving once a year. There are many different ways this can be done. (Click here for a page with an overview of different programmes)
- Send an annual, personal ‘thank you’ to regular givers. This values givers, and provides another opportunity to see how their giving supports the work of the church. (Some template ‘Thank You’ letters are available for local customisation.)
- Agree a legacy policy and communicate this to the congregation (see our legacy resources)
- Claim Gift Aid regularly, including the Small Donations Scheme.
- Use the Parish Buying service, to help the church take advantage of its scale.
- If your diocese has joined the Parish Giving Scheme (see above), then sign your parish up, and make good use of it.
Giving for Life – General Synod Resolution and Original Report
General Synod has enthusiastically commended the ‘Giving for Life’ report, and its resolution:
- set giving within the context of discipleship and mission
- encouraged church members to set the target of giving 5% of their income to and through the church, and a further 5% to other organizations that help build God’s kingdom
- commended the initiative for prayerful discussion and action by parishes.
(click here for full details of Synod’s resolution). You can also view the original PCC Guide (click here) and order copies from our “order resources” page, as well as some of the individual leaflets to support a light touch Giving Review.