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A Special Invitation

A Special Invitation

I want to extend a special invitation to you to consider attending or inviting someone to attend the new Stewardship Summit in Portland, OR scheduled for January 10-12, 2013. (www.stewardshipsummit.org)  I do not normally use this eNewsletter to market myself or anything else, but I would like to tell you more about this unique event.

We all know there are many training conferences and I have been teaching at them for over 20 years.  They usually allow for 60-90 minutes of teaching and not too much time for Q&A.  The Engstrom Institute (now the Christian Nonprofit Leadership Academy) was the first attempt to offer 4 day courses (now 2 days) to go more in depth in the teaching and learning of stewardship and development topics.
Yet I have found that the topic of stewardship is being offered less and less at conferences and conventions. The fundraising and related "how to's" take the top spots in most workshops. I observed that books and research in stewardship for the church and para-church was dwindling rather than growing.

This is not to say that many new books are not helpful, because they are. And more authors are coming forward with exciting books.

But one person asked, "When are you authors and speakers going to come together in this stewardship effort?"  And I was struck by the obvious simplicity of the question. I felt God was speaking to me and gave me the name—stewardship summit. 

I began seeking to create a summit or gathering where we could come together to teach and learn. No organization to build, no competition for marketing or consulting or even exhibit halls to distract anyone. (This is not to be negative about any of those things. I enjoy them myself and participate in them at conferences.)

And so the Stewardship Summit was born.

The summit format will be the presentation of white papers to the group for 45 minutes. And then a Q&A response time for 45 minutes. (A white paper is a paper that presents a topic and provides thinking, research, promotes a thought or concept, then defends it, much like a college term paper.)  There are no brochures, DVDs, or supporting materials necessary.

The papers can address one of four topic areas (see website).  It is my hope that we will see papers submitted from the local church, as well as those in the para-church. Topics can address a variety of issues within stewardship.  Topics that will not be chosen are those that deal specifically with fundraising, development or how to's.  Those topics are covered adequately within other training conferences. Application to the church and para-church will be allowed, but not to the point of how-to. The application should be from the general or overview perspective.  It is my hope that the local church and para-church could come together and begin to address the stewardship topic in a synergistic way.

Why should you attend?  If you are called to this topic of stewardship, you can get some valuable information and learning at the summit. I do not pretend to know how God would use the summit in each attendee's life, but I do know the time will not be wasted. There is a groundswell of support already.

So, you can help me in the following ways.

  1. If you plan to attend, register ASAP. There are only 100 spaces and close to 30 are reserved already.
  2. If you plan to submit a paper topic for consideration, do it NOW. I and the Advisory Faculty hope to begin reviewing all submissions in October.
  3. If you know someone who fits #1 or #2, please forward them this email or send them to the www.stewardshipsummit.org site!

Thanks so much for reading this. If you are lead to, please begin praying for this summit. I believe it could be the start of something important.  Spread the word!