The Congregational Vitality Podcast

At NovusWay Camps, our staff members assist congregation leaders to plan and lead quality retreats and programs that serve to strengthen their community. Gathering community, building teams, openly discussing relationships and vision – it’s what NovusWay does best. In an effort to continue to offer this ministry to our congregations during social distancing, we are launching a 6-Week Congregational Vitality Podcast focused on “Financial Strength through Uncertain Times.” If our congregations can’t come to us, we will come to them.

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1. Monday, May 11, 2020: Immediate Steps to Take Today to Ensure a Stable 2020

  • In this episode we cover the difference the pandemic makes when it comes to discussing stewardship, the theological grounding for adjusting the conversation and the most 3 most important next steps a congregation needs to take to ensure a stable financial 2020. Pastor Mike provides clear direction and actionable takeaways for congregation leaders.

2. Monday, May 18, 2020: You Can Only Play the “Poor Pitiful Us” Card One Time

  • In this episode we cover the reasons people give to church and charity. In hard times, our instincts are to ask people to give more out of fear and desperation, but this is not in line with the reasons people give in the long term. You must play this card well, because you can only play it one time. Mike will help you understand when and how to play this card if it is necessary.

3. Monday, May 25, 2020: Making Tough Financial Decisions

  • In this episode we discuss the best approach to cutting or deferring spending, expenses and giving to others. There are ways to model generosity during uncertain times that teach congregations members to do the same.

4. Monday, June 1, 2020: Examining Your Giving

  • In this episode we discuss the age old question of whether or not the pastor should know what people are giving and how the pandemic informs this discussion. We discuss the need to review current giving trends or changes to your congregation and ways to help your members continue to give through different vehicles.

5. Monday, June 8, 2020: Is Now the Time to Encourage Planned Gifts

  • In this episode we discuss whether or not a planned giving conversation is appropriate during market volatility. We discuss the best approaches to the conversation and how to ensure a planned gift is done correctly.

6. Monday, June 15, 2020: To Capital Campaign or Not to Capital Campaign

  • In this episode we will provide critical next steps for congregations in the midst of a capital campaign during this time of uncertainty. We will provide direction for those considering a capital campaign vs. a special appeal – and how to determine if now is the right time.



Contact Mike at:

Pastor Mike Ward served NovusWay for 12 years as Vice President of Advancement.  He is now a full-time stewardship and congregational vitality consultant with the firm GSB.  Mike leads Congregational Vitality Workshops in partnership with NovusWay at our sites. At no charge to listeners, congregations or NovusWay, Mike is offering his expertise to congregations and listeners through this expansion of our Congregational Vitality Workshops.  He holds the Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) credential and Fortress Press just published his first book, Abundance: Creating a Culture of Generosity.

Mike leads Congregational Vitality Retreats at several of our NovusWay sites. The next scheduled retreat is November 13-15, 2020 at Lutheranch. Click here to register today!


OUR PODCAST HOST: Deacon Mitzie Schafer

Contact Mitzie at:

Deacon Mitzie Schafer started as the Vice President for Advancement for NovusWay Ministries in August of 2019. She served as a Regional Gift Planner for the ELCA Foundation raising $24 million in planned gifts in the Carolinas in her first two years. Prior to that, she served as the Executive Vice President for Epworth Children’s Home in Columbia, SC where she built a strong Annual Fund structure that increased giving over $1 million annually in the first 3 years. Mitzie returns to NovusWay after serving on summer staff at Lutheridge 20 years ago.




A Stewardship Story

The Congregational Vitality Podcast was made possible by a gift from Mike Ward to ensure that NovusWay can offer virtual support to congregations working to strengthen their communities during these uncertain times. Because of this generosity, the Congregation Vitality Podcast will be available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and everywhere you listen to podcasts. We give thanks for the opportunity to bring camp to our congregations during these times of uncertainty.