Below you will find some stewardship response resources that hopefully will assist you in planning your congregation’s fall stewardship response emphasis. These resources are well-written response programs that intentionally provide a way to invite members to grow in their giving and share their gifts for ministry. Also here is an issue of the 2013 “Giving” magazine. It contains great information that can enhance your stewardship ministry and a stewardship response program that you may choose to use in your congregation.

Giving MagazineGiving cover 2012

2013 “Giving” magazine This resource contains helpful information about stewardship ministry and contains a financial stewardship response program that you might choose to use in your annual stewardship response program.

For a copy of the magazine contact Rev. Kurt Nordby, Assistant to the Bishop or visit this website.

Stories of Faith in Actionimg-ELCAMA1240

This is an ELCA publication that is a helpful resource as you share the stories of our ELCA ministries. Articles, stories of ministries, and other helpful information help our members see the “big picture” of our ELCA’s participation in God’s mission. This resource can be ordered through the ELCA and are free of charge. You do have to pay shipping however. “Stories of Faith in Action” can also be accessed through the ELCA website where you can download the articles and information in the magazine for bulletin inserts, newsletter articles, displays, and the like.

Suggested Stewardship Response Programs

 You might also want to check out a couple of stewardship websites that I have found helpful.

Kurt NordbyIf I can be of any assistance, let me know. My office number is 309-794-4004. Email

Rev. Kurt Nordby, Assistant to the Bishop

Ministry Touching Lives in the Northern Illinois Synod

Mission Planning Toolbox

Facts & Figures of NIS Ministries

Northern Illinois Synod Stewardship and Mission Support Strategy Vision, Theological Principles, Core Values, and Goals (passed at the 2011 Synod Assembly)

Synod Vice-President Bill Bartlett Speaks About Stewardship

(from the 2013 Discipleship Gatherings: Giving)

Download Mr. Bartlett’s Stewardship Video (right click and save to computer – .mov file 1244.34MB)


    StewardNet Spring 2017

    Dear friend in Christ,

    How is it that systems thrive? One explanation might identify an abundance of resources and assets, positive momentum, or being in the right place at the right time. Other insights might reflect on the importance of adaptation, collaboration, grit, resilience, creativity and innovation. Either way, when we are talking about human systems like families, organizations and communities, leadership needs to be understood as a critical ingredient for thriving. After all, it is through leaders that we manage what is working, change what isn't, and grow in our ability to make a difference. Is it any wonder that Jesus started and then built his public ministry by multiplying leaders?

    Perhaps it isn't surprising then that leadership development is picking up steam as a hot topic in our church. From top to bottom, the shortage of leadership is becoming so apparent that some are calling it a crisis. In more and more places, we don't have enough clergy and lay leaders who can envision, organize, evangelize, preach, teach, financially support and do everything in between. All of that calls into question hopes for a thriving ELCA ecology.

    As I think about the challenges of stewardship ministry, it seems to me that our difficulties are primarily about the same issue of multiplying leaders. Doesn't it make sense that growing leaders is also about growing stewards, which is also about growing imitators (disciples) of Jesus? If we have a crisis in any one of these, don't we then have a crisis in all three? That is why I'm looking forward to the emerging consensus that growing leaders, stewards and disciples is foundational to the thriving church we all desire.

    We are a church that is energized by lively engagement in our faith and life. I continue to thank you for your leadership and for doing God’s work with a faithful, generous heart!


    Steve Oelschlager
    Stewardship Program Coordinator
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

    Deliberations on leadership

    From bishops, seminaries and beyondWhen the conference of bishops met last month, leadership development was a focus. Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton stated, “leadership and congregations need to be our primary emphasis as we begin the ‘Called Forward Together in Christ’ process.”

    Bishop William Gafkjen from the Indiana-Kentucky Synod added, “We unanimously agreed to issue a call to prayer that the Lord of the harvest will send out laborers into the harvest that beckons for more ministers and leaders of various sorts.” “We also committed to establishing a working group that will collaborate with seminary leaders and others over the next two years to effectively address this profound need, not only for more rostered ministers and lay leaders, but faithful, wise and courageous leaders who will provide the forms of ministry and leadership needed for this new day in which we find ourselves.”

    You can read more about the conference of bishops meeting here. Also, check out Presiding Bishop Eaton's Leadership Initiative and Trinity Seminary President Rick Barger’s call for every congregation to lift up leadership discernment. Finally, watch Eboo Patel’s recent address at the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving on a particular need to multiply interfaith leaders.

    A culture of leadership (and stewardship)
    Congregations, synods and beyond

    Part of creating a culture of leadership is recognizing that all people have the potential to behave as leaders, even if they are not in positions of authority. Some ELCA congregations are advocating this leader-leader model by hosting syndicated leadership events like the Global Leadership Summit and Leadercast, or by creating their own leadership training programming. Synods are also getting creative in offering leadership schools. How might our ELCA ecology better emphasize to all people at all ages that God created us on purpose, with a purpose, to make a difference with the gifts that God has given to us?

    Stewardship leadership
    Stories from stewardCast

    If you were unable to join us for our stewardCast live-streamed event on March 4, please watch the valuable stories and examples of multiplying stewards and leaders across generations, including:

    • Pacifica Synod Bishop Andy Taylor sharing his belief that faith and finances (discipleship and stewardship) are interconnected.
    • The Rev. Taryn Montgomery from Bread of Life Lutheran Church in Minot, N.D., talking about growing a culture of generosity that among other things led to significant increases in member giving and mission support.
    • The Rev. Greg Meyer from Jacob's Well in Minneapolis sharing ideas and practices from their congregation that have helped it become self-supporting.
    • Linda Staats describing the Generosity Project workshops hosted by synods to equip all ages to be steward leaders. (A Generosity Project resource will be more broadly available this September. ContactLinda for more details.)


    Opportunities to develop leaders
    Mission interpreters share the stories

    Harry S. Truman once said, “In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still.” All groups and organizations require leadership if they are to continually move forward. It’s that way in the ELCA too.

    Opportunities to nurture and grow leaders in our church are present across ages and expressions, from congregations to Lutheran camps, schools, colleges, universities and seminaries. Leadership growth happens through experiences with camping ministry, campus ministry, chaplain ministry and advocacy work, to name a few.

    If you're looking for ways to start a discussion around leadership in your congregation, you might begin with Stories of Faith in Action where you'll find stories that center on leadership. If you'd like to hear more about how our ELCA raises up leaders for the future of our church, consider inviting a mission interpreter to your congregation. Mission interpreters tell stories of how, together, we support developing leaders throughout our church. Contact Denise Ballou if you'd like to hear more about the mission interpretation ministry of our ELCA.


    Other items of interest
    Resources, learning opportunities and more

    • The 2017 issue of Giving Magazine is now available and can be downloaded free from the ELCA website. The issue focuses on the theme “living generously” and includes the “Live Generously Congregational Financial Response.”
    • Vanco Payment Solutions currently has an offer to get online giving setup for your congregation without monthly fees for the first year. To learn more about the potential for online giving, watch this presentation from stewardCast. Contact Vanco to take advantage of this offer before it expires on June 5. You can reach Vanco at 800-675-7430 and select “2” to connect with the sales team.
    • See the difference your Mission Support makes in this new video showing congregational renewal efforts at Breath of God Lutheran Church in the Baltimore area.
    • A free Congregational Survey for Growing Stewards & Mission will be available to all ELCA congregations on May 1. Respondents will indicate their perspectives, practices and skills related to gratitude, generosity, giving, mission interpretation and Mission Support. These responses can provide a baseline for monitoring progress on efforts to improve in one or more of these areas within a congregation. For additional information, contact Neil Bullock.
    • Christianity Today’s Church Law & Tax is conducting the 2017 National Church Compensation Survey as the basis for its print and online tools. You can complete the confidential survey here and then receive one of three resources as a thank-you.


    Sayings, quotes, thoughts
    John Maxwell

    “Leaders who develop followers impact this generation. Leaders who develop leaders impact the next generation.”

    Biblical foundations
    Matthew 20: 24-28

    When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

    Upcoming events (watch the calendar file for details)

    June 22
    3 p.m. Central at 877-820-7831 and participant code 6314685#
    Sign up for more information.

    Aug. 7-10
    ELCA Rostered Minister Gathering
    Includes discipleship and stewardship coaching at the Interactive Center. Offerings will include three to four free coaching sessions for some attendees.

    Aug. 24
    stewardTalk with Victoria Flood on Mission Support
    3 p.m. Central at 877-820-7831 and participant code 6314685#
    Sign up for more information.

    Nov. 29 – Dec. 1
    Nashville, Tenn.
    Generosity Next Conference from the Ecumenical Stewardship Center

    Full calendar | Subscribe to Our Calendar File


More Stewardship News

Facts and Figures for the Northern Illinois Synod

This is an updated resource reflecting ministry in our synod.

Stewardship FAQs

Q: What is Mission Support?

A: Mission Support is your congregation’s financial weekly offering that is shared with your synod and the churchwide organization. It is an undesignated gift to ELCA ministries that go beyond your congregation. These gifts are used where the need is the greatest, and they also make it possible for the ELCA’s 65 synods and the churchwide organization to keep ongoing commitments to ministry partners.

Q: What guides the churchwide organization in its decisions regarding Mission Support?

A: Churchwide Assemblies – this church’s highest legislative authority – guides and directs the work of the churchwide organization. The ELCA Church Council functions as the interim legislative authority between assemblies. The churchwide organization’s two strategic priorities are to accompany the nearly 10,000 congregations as growing centers for evangelical mission and to build the capacity of this church for evangelical witness and service in the world to alleviate poverty and to work for justice and peace. We are a church that believes God is calling us into the world – together.

Q: How does my congregation benefit from Mission Support?

A: Every congregation benefits as an active partner in the ELCA’s mission to share God’s love with the world. Mission Support funds the work of synods, and some of the portion of Mission Support that is shared with the churchwide organization returns back to your congregation and synod in the form of services, programs, resources or grants. Typically, more than 90 percent of a congregation’s offering remains in the congregation to help pay for local ministries, outreach, salaries, utilities and the building, ensuring your congregation’s vital presence in your community. We are a church whose unity is in Jesus Christ, who gathers us around word and water, wine and bread. Together — we can do more than any congregation or synod could do alone.

Make it Simple

is a stewardship resource that has its foundation in 2 Corinthians 9:8 in which Paul says: “God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.” “Make it Simple” seeks to be a resource in growing stewards by focusing on God’s abundance and how we might live simply, generously, and faithfully in using the blessings that God gives to us.

There are four programmatic themes of “Make it Simple:” Following Jesus, Mt. 6:25-33; Facing the Truth, Mk. 4:37-41; Acting Together, Jn. 13:34-35; and Sharing Enough, Philippians 4:11b-13. These themes along with a variety of resources will help to grow healthy stewards, a sense of generosity, and an understanding of how we live in God’s abundance each day.

“Make it Simple” is a web based resource and is available on the ELCA website by visiting Also available is a DVD set from Augsburg Fortress, order number: ITEM000666.

Why We Share Gifts for Ministry

The primary reason we share our gifts is out of joy and thanksgiving for God’s blessings, especially God’s Son, Jesus Christ and God’s grace through him. This is the foundational reason for our giving as God’s people in mission.

Another reason we share gifts is from a sense of responsibility. We believe that all we have are gifts from God and are called to manage wisely the gifts God has given to us. God’s gifts are given as a blessing to others.

We also give from a sense of mission. Through our giving of gifts, we and our congregation share in God’s mission. Because of the gifts you share, one’s congregation is able to grow in ministry and boldly proclaim the good news of God’s transforming love in Christ.

One’s faith commitment is another reason why we share gifts for ministry. The sharing of gifts for ministry is a concrete expression of the faith we have in God’s promises and abundant grace in Jesus Christ.

Perhaps one or all of the above describe your motivation for sharing gifts. Perhaps you have another reason that is only yours. Whatever your reason, the generous sharing of gifts enable us to live a richer life of discipleship as we give of ourselves and resources as a blessing to those around us each and every day.

Churchwide Stewardship Resources

Resources you can download or purchase.