The number of Michigan District congregations participating in Here We Stand (HWS) continues to increase steadily. At the time of publishing this blog, we’ve had participation from 113 congregations. Please know that we are deeply grateful to each congregation that has already reached a decision to be involved in the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation campaign. This has helped the campaign grow to $5 million in gifts and commitments, half way to our goal of $10 million.
The 113 participating congregations represent nearly 30.4% of Michigan District congregations. This is outstanding when you consider that the Congregational Phase kicked off in mid-October, 2016, only about 15 months ago. We remain encouraged that the number of participating congregations will continue to increase steadily as HWS continues to advance in 2018, and because approximately 93% of the delegates at the 2015 Michigan District Convention voted favorably in support of doing a District-wide campaign as part of the celebration and commemoration of the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation.
If you have not yet made that decision, how is your plan to participate coming along? Participation by a congregation is defined as making a multi-year pledge, setting a congregational multi-year goal, or making cash contributions. Each of these ways is an excellent approach to participating, depending upon the method, personality, and interest level of a congregation. We encourage congregations to choose a method of participation that is right for them and creates interest and excitement for all.
Congregational participation in HWS has been done in many ways; some are very traditional approaches and several are quite new and innovative. Here are a few of the approaches taken.
If a traditional method is what you are seeking, you may like to try one or more of the following:
- Pledge a designated percentage of your annual budget over a 3-5 year period;
- Designate a percentage of a capital campaign you are conducting for your congregation to HWS;
- Set a Commitment Sunday date and, after several informational meetings about HWS, ask members of your congregation to make personal gifts and pledges;
- Have regular “in-pew” appeals in envelopes designated to HWS;
- Designate Lenten and/or Advent offerings;
- Collect 5th Sunday or monthly loose change offerings;
- Gift Vacation Bible School or Sunday School offerings;
- Donate chapel offerings for a month or quarter if you have a school;
- Encourage the donation of Thrivent Choice™ dollars from members.
If you are interested in being involved in more creative or innovative ways, you may wish to do one, or more, of the following:
- Ask each member family to donate $1 for the cumulative age of their family, i.e. a 40-year old father, a 38-year old mother, and two children ages 10 and 8 would gift a total of $97 for that year. This could be done multiple years;
- Participate in the 2018 Reformation 500 Walk, Bike, Run Challenge as a congregation or as individuals within your congregation;
- Participate in the 2018 HWS Here We Ride bike event this coming summer;
- Design and distribute banks to collect donations for HWS, and collect quarterly;
- Have a congregational rummage sale, and split the proceeds with HWS;
- Host a congregational/community dinner, or maybe a talent show;
- Have a bike, walk, run, or bowl-a-thon;
- Hold a congregational auction.
Each of the ideas mentioned above has been done by some of the congregations in the Michigan District as a means to participate in HWS. Please be creative in your ideas, as there are certainly many more ways to participate, and have fun while helping to advance the goals of HWS and the ministries of your congregations.
Let us know how we can help you plan, or come up with participation ideas. We will be glad to help by providing ideas, materials, video, and with a congregational communications plan. We look forward to see how you will approach HWS campaign participation, all for the purpose of growing Christ’s Kingdom.
For more information, contact Ray Zavada at 734.665.3791 ext. 264. You can also visit the campaign website.