Many churches have an annual financial emphasis known as a “Fall Campaign,” although some may occur in the spring. Through this means, a church attempts to underwrite the budget for the coming year. Usually, this is done by asking members of the congregation to sign a commitment card of some type, e.g., Faith Promise Card, Estimate of Giving Card, Pledge Card, etc.
There is certainly nothing wrong with Fall Campaigns. In fact, in most situations, they can be a very positive emphasis through which people are encouraged to prayerfully consider their giving in the coming year. But there is much more to stewardship in a local church than having a Fall Campaign.
Total stewardship consists of the three “T’s” of time, talents and treasure. Some have added a fourth “T” — the “total” person. In most churches, preaching on “time” and “talents” (or even the “total” person) is not a problem. But teaching and preaching on “treasure” often is. Somehow, people seem to take umbrage and complain when this is emphasized from the pulpit. When it is not, though, then they are not trained as stewards and generally do not reach their full Christian potential in their giving.
The “Effective Stewardship” program attempts to overcome that problem by using lay speakers and the printed page to present the “treasure” aspect of total stewardship. It moves well beyond a Fall Campaign in its scope as it provides a year-round emphasis based on the eternal truths of the Word of God.
If a church wants to train its people to be better stewards of all that God has entrusted to them, it needs to continually keep before its people principles from Scripture dealing with money, material possessions and giving. Doing so once a year through a Fall Campaign is better than not at all, but the best procedure is to consistently remind people of what God’s Word says about their possessions.
The “Effective Stewardship” program does just that. Using the teaching method described in Isaiah 28:10 of “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little,” the program faithfully plants the seed of the Scriptures, with an emphasis on the “treasure” aspect of total stewardship. A Fall Campaign can then become the means by which what has been planted may be harvested through giving commitments for the coming year.
By the way, some stewardship consultants contend that Fall Campaigns are a thing of the past. While Fall Campaigns may not be used as extensively as they once were, two things are true concerning Fall Campaigns. First, they still have a place in churches which seek to have a total stewardship program. Second, churches in which people make some sort of commitment concerning their giving in the coming year receive more consistent financial support than those that do not.