Shared in the June 30, 2014 Heartland Connection:

                                                Recognizing Leadership                                                               By  Teaching Elder Kevin Jones, First Presbyterian Church, Clinton, MO.

We are a connectional church, but sometimes those connections seem like they need to be strengthened.  Every year the Stewardship Division recognizes those churches which have done well in supporting the Shared Mission budget of Heartland Presbytery.  We award certificates to the Top Ten giving churches to shared Mission in absolute dollar amounts (which we are all, of course, very thankful).

But another exciting award is for the top 10 giving churches to Shared Mission as measured in dollars per member.  Here, even the smaller churches can really shine; even a small rural church can make it into this Top Ten.  Such churches set a standard for us all to examine, applaud, and consider emulating.

One of the “Top Ten” in both categories last year is Kaw Prairie.  Teaching Elder Dan McKnight simply attributes it to their emphasis on tithing and their policy of taking 10% of total giving and splitting it 50/50 between the ELCA Mission fund and the per capita & Shared Mission of Heartland Presbytery.  They celebrate some of the missional things the Presbytery does, and they host a Traveling Day Camp from the Heartland Center.

Another church in the “Top Ten” in both categories last year is Central PC.  Teaching Elder Heidi Peterson is thankful for the humility of the congregation.  “Central’s members do not think they can be smarter, or better informed, about the world’s needs that the denomination’s mission staff – whose full-time job it is to perceive where and how in the world a Presbyterian witness could have positive impact.”

Watch for the Top Ten giving awards coming up at a Presbytery meeting in the near future.  Congratulate those who give so generously to the ministry of Heartland Presbytery.

Link to a Bulletin Insert of this article to share with your congregation.


Shared in the June 23, 2014 Heartland Connection:

                                            Stewardship Kaleidoscope                                                                           By  Kevin Jones, Teaching Elder, First Presbyterian Church, Clinton, MO.

I first came to Heartland Presbytery in 2011.  I saw something called “Stewardship Kaleidoscope” in an issue of the Heartland Connection.  Since I thought that might ‘be good for me” (like Castor Oil) I held my nose and signed up.  However, I was surprised that almost every workshop was very good and packed full of good information.  When I came back I started making some changes to the stewardship program at my church.  I posted on facebook to my pastor friends that they ought to go.

This was also the experience of Heather Jepson, teaching elder at FPC Warrensburg.  “When I heard about the Stewardship Kaleidoscope event I thought it sounded like the most boring conference ever. Doesn’t everyone hate Stewardship campaigns?  But, it was close to where I lived [St. Louis] and I knew I needed help in that area of ministry, so I thought it was a good continuing education choice for me.  Turns out I LOVED the Stewardship conference.  I learned a tremendous amount of information and am already implementing ideas in my current ministry setting.  My only regret was that I didn’t get this information sooner in my ministry career.  I would strongly recommendedStewardship Kaleidoscope for anybody and everybody.”

A big chunk of the Stewardship Division budget (part of your Shared Mission) goes to support Stewardship Kaleidoscope; Heartland Presbytery being one of its sponsors.  The next one will be very close:  Kansas City, Missouri, March 9-11, 2015.  If you have not gone, or even if you have attended before, please consider 2015 as a time to attend and – being so close – maybe get others from your congregation to go.  There are too many workshops for just one person to attend!  See more information.

Link to a Bulletin Insert of this article to share with your congregation.


Shared in the June 16, 2014 Heartland Connection:

      Where do Shared Mission funds come from and where do they go? 

In addition to the “per capita” to help fund the higher governing bodies of our denomination, churches may also contribute to the Shared Mission budget of the presbytery.  The Shared Mission budget funds important ministries of Heartland Presbytery:  Congregational Planting and Revitalization (CPR), Congregational Ministries (CMD), Church Order and Listening (COAL), Commission on Preparation and Ministry (CPM), the Heartland Presbyterian Center, the Harold Thomas Center, the Linwood Area Ministry Place (LAMP), Mission and Social Justice (MSJ), the Church Resource Center, the Presbyterian Urban Ministry network (PUMN), the Stewardship Division, and Worship and Fellowship.

All these ministries are very local in their focus and address both “Love your God” and “Love your neighbor.”  They are one of the reasons we are a connectional church – we believe we can do more working alongside each other than just on our own.

The good news is that Heartland Presbytery is in the top 10 giving to Shared Mission of presbyteries across the country.  But many may know little about shared mission because as a whole it does not get a lot of recognition.

We on the Stewardship Division of Heartland Presbytery hope to bring stories of what your Shared Mission efforts are doing for you and for others in the service of Jesus Christ.  We hope you can share these stories with others in your churches so that we all can become more aware of the good work being done.  And, you or someone else, or your church at large, may feel moved by a story to ask yourselves, “That is an exciting ministry!  How can I, how can we, help with that with our time, talent, and financial resources?”

Each month a certain ministry connected with Shared Mission will be featured in The Heartland Connection and on the Heartland Presbytery website’s Shared Mission Snapshots page. I hope you look forward to reading each story.

Link to a Bulletin Insert of this article to share with your congregation.