The Office of Stewardship
What’s Possible with Stewardship?
The Stewardship Process
The Diocese of Rapid City offers three primary pillars for assisting parishes in building a stewardship culture:
- Generous Hospitality: invitation, welcome and fellowship;
- Lively Faith: prayer, study and formation;
- Dedicated Discipleship: to love God and to love neighbor with an intentional heart.
Bishop Gruss believed that these three pillars encompassed all of the pastoral life of a parish and that they could provide a framework for fostering communities that were vibrant, welcoming and committed to forming intentional disciples.
The Characteristics of a Stewardship Parish Manual offers a roadmap for implementing these pillars and transforming your parish.
Whether you are a parish leader or simply a parishioner who wants to make a difference in your community, we can show you how the Characteristics can help you.
The First Question People Often Ask Themselves is:
Why Bother With Stewardship?
In 2018, Casting Nets Ministries conducted the first Ambassadors Training sponsored by the Office of Stewardship. During that training, Tony Brandt shared some of the fruits that have come to his home diocese of Wichita from cultivating a culture of stewardship. Implementation of the Characteristics of a Stewardship Parish involves a lot of hard work for parish leaders. Tony explains why it’s worth it! Watch the clip below and allow their example to inspire you to think about “What’s possible with Stewardship in MY parish?”
Where Do We Start?
Read the Characteristics booklet! You can download it here.
Please keep this in mind as you look over the characteristics: when the committee developed the booklet, this is the question they were asked: “What would the IDEAL parish look like under the pillars of stewardship that we have in the Diocese of Rapid City (Generous Hospitality, Lively Faith & Dedicated Discipleship)?
The goals set forth are lofty, but don’t be discouraged! As you look over the booklet, I suspect that you will see things that your parish already does well, things that you know need to be improved and perhaps some things you’ve never even thought about.
This roadmap is meant to take parishes on a long journey and the goals set forth are lofty, but we say, “what’s the harm in aiming high?!” We have the power of the Holy Spirit to fuel our efforts and an inexhaustible fountain of grace from Christ Jesus. “With God, all things are possible.”
What’s next for the parish leader?
If you are a parish leader and you like what you see in the Characteristics booklet, but you are still unsure about embracing the process for your parish, we would like to offer you these testimonies.
Here’s what the process has looked like for a large as well as a small parish:
At Our Lady of the Black Hills (OLBH) in Piedmont, they have a stewardship council that was formed and meeting monthly when they chose to embark on the journey to Stewardship Parish status. This group has worked together to complete three of the self-assessments, although they often need to consult with other members of parish leadership as they work through them. One member of the Stewardship Council commented, “The stewardship process encourages us to name and acknowledge the things we do well, and it also challenges us to not get complacent but keep pushing forward and growing.”
OLBH entered the stewardship process in the Fall of 2017. Because they already had a Pastoral Plan, vision and mission statement in place, as well as most of the other items under the Foundational Characteristics, they were awarded Foundational status by Bishop Gruss in December of that year. Soon after, they began working through the Hospitality self-assessment. They met with our office in March of 2018 and began working to adopt the goals suggested by the Office of Stewardship. By November of 2018, they had met the mutually agreed upon goals in both the Foundational and the Hospitality areas and were designated as a Hospitable Parish by Bishop Gruss. In the summer of 2019, they began working through the Lively Faith self-assessment. In November of 2019, the Stewardship Council met once again with the Office of Stewardship to discuss strengths and areas of desired growth brought out through the Lively Faith Self-Assessment.
Our Lady of the Black Hills has found that the intentional planning and communication efforts, coupled with the collaborative governance structures they have, led them to much growth and renewal.
St. Ambrose and St. Patrick’s in Lead and Deadwood, on the other hand, are much smaller. They chose to have the combined pastoral council of the churches work through the process and it has worked very well. Although the process takes both time and energy, all of those in both areas have found it a worthwhile task.
In November of 2017, the Office of Stewardship went to Lead and explained the process to the St. Patrick’s/St. Ambrose’s joint Council. After the presentation, Fr. Hausmann asked everyone if they wanted to pursue it. One council member commented, “Of course! Why wouldn’t we? It is what we should be doing anyway.”
After completing the Foundational self-assessment, their first challenge was to develop a pastoral plan. Fr. Hausmann shares that at first he wasn’t excited about the work involved in developing a plan, but now that he has been through it, he is grateful. “It was well worth the effort.”
The plan, adopted by the Council in February of 2019, set forth goals that positioned the parish to achieve Foundational status by summer of the same year. Fr. Michel Mulloy, then Diocesan Administrator, designated St. Ambrose in Deadwood and St. Patrick’s in Lead as Foundational Parishes in early September of 2019. The Council has now undertaken the completion of the Generous Hospitality Self-Assessment and celebrating the many accomplishments they have already enjoyed in this area of parish life as well as identifying areas where growth is still needed.
As is clear from these examples, the process of being designated as a Stewardship Parish is a journey. It is a long-term commitment to planning, growth and change which can provide a framework for moving from “maintenance to mission” but also has the benefit of inspiring lay leadership.
Pastors and lay leaders from all three of these parishes are willing to visit with you more about their experience. Interested? Please Email Us below and let us know you would like to visit.
Want to see the whole parish process laid out in just one page? Check out Appendix A in the Characteristics.
But I’m not a parish leader. What’s next for me?
Even if you aren’t in a position to decide that your parish should enter the parish stewardship process, it doesn’t mean that you can’t help your parish grow.
Do you see some things in the characteristics that your parish already does well?
Consider affirming those who make it happen. Thank them for their dedication, their hard work and the way they are helping your parish to thrive. Consider supporting them by becoming part of the success by volunteering. And finally, let your pastor know that you are grateful for the good things you see happening at your parish.
Do you see something in the characteristics that is not present in your parish, but you would really like it to be? Is there a way you can help make it a reality?
Pastors and parish leaders are often very busy with existing programs and responsibilities, so they are grateful when someone comes to them with ideas they are willing to work on themselves. Is there any harm in asking?
Lastly, a Stewardship parish is made up of stewards! Stewards are those who receive God’s gifts gratefully, cultivate them responsibly, share them generously and give them back with increase to the Lord.
They cultivate gratitude, know that all they have belongs to God, give generously and sacrificially of their time and their money and trust in the Lord’s love for them. In addition, they strive to live Generous Hospitality, Lively Faith and Dedicated Discipleship. Every parishioner is encouraged to continue to cultivate a personal life of stewardship. And the witness you give will have a positive impact on your parish, especially if you live it with joy. Joy is contagious!
Want to know more about how to live as a steward? Check out our training module “What is Stewardship?“
Living this Catholic Way of Life
Looking to deepen your practice of one of the four Stewardship Pillars? Click the image of the one below to find the best of our blogs and resources for each pillar.
We’re here to help
Call us at (605) 343-3541 or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.
225 Main Street, Suite 100
Rapid City, SD 57701