Workshop Materials: Creating a Culture of Generosity

Workshop: Creating a Culture of Generosity
Presenter: Robert Hay Jr.

Description: Is your congregation’s approach to stewardship stuck in a rut? Are you living in a state of scarcity and longing for abundance? This workshop will outline a program that has moved churches from a four-week stewardship campaign to a year-round culture of generosity. Learn how to form your Generosity Team, how to create an activities calendar for your church’s funds ministry, how to prepare a narrative budget, and how to integrate all aspects of your church into the life of generosity.

Here are the resources Robert provided during the workshop:

If you’d like more information on these materials, contact Robert at the Presbyterian Foundation via email.

A New Statement of Faith

On Tuesday, March 14, at the 2017 NEXT Church National Gathering, we released a new confessional statement in response to the current state of the church and world. It’s called the Sarasota Statement, and it was made possible by a partnership between NEXT Church and the Presbyterian Foundation. We hope you’ll take the statement into your own life and context, using it as a tool to declare your own faith statement, proclaiming the light of Christ.

Glen Bell, pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Sarasota and member of the NEXT Church strategy team, has written more about the genesis of the Sarasota Statement. Please continue reading to learn more.

by Glen Bell

Near the beginning of 2017, Brandon Frick, a former participant in the Pastoral Development Seminar at First Presbyterian Church of Sarasota, contacted me. Brandon was convinced that in this moment of difficulty and division in the life of our nation and church, we needed to write and profess a new statement of faith in a non-partisan way, beyond any ideology.

Brandon asked me if NEXT Church, which is committed to a vibrant future for our Presbyterian tradition, would be interested in hosting and sponsoring the writing of such a faith statement. Jessica Tate, the director of NEXT Church, and I communicated with the strategy team (board) of NEXT Church. They enthusiastically agreed.

The Sarasota Statement team

Presbyterians have always been a people of confessional statements. We have adopted statements of our beliefs, Catholic, Protestant and Reformed, in our Book of Confessions, part of the constitution of our Presbyterian Church (USA). Some confessions represent the common convictions of the Christian faith (for example, the Nicene Creed and the Apostles’ Creed). Others reflect the roots of the Reformation and our Presbyterian tradition (for example, the Scots Confession and the Westminster Confession of Faith). Still others speak a powerful word in light of specific challenges in certain times and places (for example, the Barmen Declaration and the Belhar Confession).

A group of eight diverse participants in the Presbyterian Church (USA) gathered in Sarasota on January 23 and 24 of this year. Together, the group wrote a first draft of a statement of faith. Over subsequent weeks, the group refined their work. The Sarasota Statement is being released publicly at the NEXT Church National Gathering in Kansas City, March 13-15.

The primary writers were: Katie Baker, pastor in Grand Rapids, Michigan; Chris Currie, pastor in Shreveport, Louisiana; Brandon Frick, pastor in Severna Park, Maryland; Bertram Johnson, pastor in New York, New York; Cynthia Rigby, professor at Austin Seminary; and  Layton Williams, audience engagement editor at Sojourners Magazine. Hosts, conveners and secondary writers were Jessica Tate and I.

In the past, almost every statement of faith created and publicly distributed across the church has the result of the selection of a diverse group of scholars and leaders, authorized by a General Assembly. The group works carefully and creatively over several years, and the result is then approved by a subsequent General Assembly and included in the Book of Confessions.

This model is quite different. We believe in times of need or crisis, we are called to turn to the biblical and theological roots of our Christian faith to remember our identity as disciples of Jesus Christ and say anew what we believe. The hope of NEXT Church and the writers of the Sarasota Statement is this: We encourage groups of Presbyterians, in a rich and colorful diversity of relationships, both within and beyond congregations, to conceive and declare their own faith statements, proclaiming the light of Christ. 

This statement speaks to the church. It represents only the eight writers individually (as well as NEXT Church and the Presbyterian Foundation, which facilitated its creation). It does not speak on behalf of any of the churches or organizations the writers serve. We are eager to hear your thoughts and reflections about the Sarasota Statement. In April, this blog will feature pieces from those involved in the creation of the statement. Join us then to continue the conversation. In the meantime, comment here, or send us an email. We hope the Sarasota Statement might move you in your own context.

To God be the glory!

Glen Bell is head pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Sarasota, Florida, and serves on the NEXT Church strategy team.

The Angels of the World are the Volunteers

Each month, we post a series of blogs around a common topic. This month, our blog features reflections on vocation, offered by people who are engaged in ministry and work outside the church. What is God’s calling on our lives outside of the church? What is difficult about being Christian in the working world? How do our churches nurture a sense of Christian vocation? We invite you to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter!

by Robert Hay, Jr.

I remember a car ride home from youth group Bible study one Wednesday night with my dad. I was a freshman in high school and my dad was the youth pastor.  For some reason we were talking about call. As a preacher’s kid (or PK as we are affectionately known), everyone assumes you will go to seminary. My dad understood that pressure too since he was a PK as well. That evening my dad said something that has stuck with me ever since. He said that “the angels of the world are the volunteers.”

Now, my family business is church work. Six generations of my family are Presbyterian pastors. So, paid “ministry” is what we know. But what I learned from my dad then and over the years since is that ministry happens not because of paid pastors and paid staff, but it happens because faithful people (paid and volunteer) work together to glorify God.

tsr_4405_webAs a typical PK I rejected the idea that I would have a career in the ministry. So, after receiving a business degree from Auburn University, I started my career as an analyst working for a large business and technology consulting firm. My work days were spent taking business requirements and transforming them into technical solutions. The work was good and I was good at it, but God had other plans for me. God led me to a faith-based nonprofit and showed me how I could use my business skills for ministry.

It was through this experience that I gained a better appreciation of how we are all called to use our unique skills to glorify God. We are all called to serve and love God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind. And we are all given many different gifts that can be used to glorify God in many different ways. Yes, some people are “called” to ministry in a paid capacity. But I believe we are all called to ministry in our own unique ways.

Fast forward many years and I now find myself working for the Presbyterian Foundation as a Ministry Relations Officer. One of the joys of this calling is that I get to work with a lot of church volunteers. My work mainly focuses on helping churches with their stewardship programs (annual stewardship and planned giving stewardship) as well as helping churches with their investments and endowments. To some, this work may not seem like ministry. This work seems to be about money; how to get more money and how to manage money. But I see things very differently.

The members of the finance committee who struggle with income and expenditures and the balance sheet have been called to use their gifts of finance and administration to make sure that God’s church is financially viable and is maximizing ministry.

The members of the stewardship and generosity teams who share how the church is being the hands of feet of Christ in the community and then invite other church members to give of their time, talent, and treasure are called to use their gifts to help build energy and excitement about God’s church.

The members of the endowment committee who are encouraging church members to leave their faith legacy through a planned gift to the church and who are managing the endowment investment are called to use their gifts to ensure that God’s church continues for generations.

These volunteer jobs in the church may not seem like ministry, but I can assure you that these folks are called to this and see it as a ministry. Many times they are the “angels” of the church that get overlooked.

God calls us all in unique ways. Be on the lookout for the “angels” among us and affirm their calling. And listen with an open heart for the opportunities you are being called to by God.

hay-casual-2016Robert Hay, Jr. is the Ministry Relations Officer covering the southeast region (MS, AL, GA, FL, TN, and Puerto Rico) from the Presbyterian Foundation. Robert is a Ruling Elder and has volunteered in many different roles within the PCUSA. He lives in Peachtree City, GA with his wife, Morgan Hay (who serves as the Pastor of First Presbyterian Church Peachtree City), and their two children. Robert enjoys spending time with his family, playing golf, and watching college football (War Eagle!).

2016 National Gathering Ignite: Robert Hay Jr

Robert Hay Jr, ruling elder at First Presbyterian, Peachtree City, GA, and ministry relations officer with the Presbyterian Foundation, shares insights on stewardship.