“This event felt like a fresh breath of air: connection with colleague, extremely relevant content about cultivating generosity in congregation settings, and takeaways I could begin using this week. Thank you!”  This was shared by Rev. Marissa Harrison during the Rostered Ministers Gathering last week.  Pastor Harrrison joined over 140 rostered leaders from across Ohio for three hours Tuesday through Thursday under the theme of Living into a Culture of Generosity.

Some worried that Zoom overload and the inability to have the informal times to connect in the hallways and over meals would change the tenor of the event.  Nate stated: “This time has been a meaningful time of renewal, connection, and seeing faces I love and care for.  To be challenged in a way which does not directly include COVID is so refreshing!”  Rev. Lori Strang also shared: “I actually loved the online version.  It was fun to have the trivia moments and the speakers were on par with the expectations of what a Year of Generosity focus could be.  I loved spending three days living in the idea of God’s kingdom of abundance.”

In the spirit of generosity, participants won books, including Mike Ward’s “Abundance: Creating a Culture of Generosity” by answering Bible trivia and Mike, who is also a beekeeper gave away a bottle of the honey his bees made to one lucky participant.

Our Bible Study, led by Bishop Laura Barbins of the NE Ohio Synod, focused on Midrash and connected to stories from the Bible on abundance.  Dean Kit Kleinhans of Trinity Seminary shared, “Bible study focus on stories of abundance really connected well to underscore that Mike’s presentation aren’t just “about money” but about response to God’s abundance”.

The key topic of the time together focused on generosity and stewardship, but did so from the standpoint that it is all grounded in the stories of what God is up to in our ministries with a hope that leaders would discover new ways to approach this ministry.  Dave Schull noted that “I’ve never felt like I had much to offer the stewardship team before.  The focus of this event on getting donors captured by clear visions of what their financial gifts might offer is tangible and it actually might excite me and others about this ministry.”

The event lead leaders to feel more energized and equipped for ministry as is summarized by Stephanie Woods who said, “I have always felt wholly unprepared for leading stewardship or encouraging greater giving. Not only do I feel more prepared to lead these efforts, I am excited to do this work and learn the outcome stories so I can share them. I’m also inspired to give more myself because of the generosity stories that have been shared.”

This event is made possible in partnership with MIF and the generous mission support of congregations across all three synods.  We are excited for the energy and enthusiasm that this event brought, even in the midst of the pandemic.