STEWARDSHIP F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is Stewardship?

What is a Stewardship Commitment?

Why is Stewardship Commitment necessary in our parish?

How is the church currently supported financially?


Is the Stewardship Commitment mandatory for all parishioners?


How is the Stewardship Commitment going to be implemented in our parish?


If my Commitment is based on a yearly giving of a set amount of money, is it possible to divide that amount over several months?


I have heard that some non-Orthodox denominations such as Protestants support their Church by giving 10% of their monthly/yearly income. Do I have to do the same for my Church?


What will happen if I am unable to fulfil my financial commitment due to job loss, sickness or any other unforeseen circumstance?


What if I do not have access to the internet or online banking, how can I submit my commitment form and payments?


Who is included in my Stewardship Commitment?


How can I decide how much to give to the Church?


If I give to my Church for example, $2000 a year and do not participate in any other parish activities or sacramental life of the Church, can I still be considered as a Steward in good standing?


What is the deadline for me to submit my Stewardship Commitment form?


What does the Bible say about financial support of the Church?

What is Stewardship?

Stewardship is, first of all, a Christian life-style in the Church. Additionally, it is a practical approach of a total and proportional commitment of time, talents and treasures, through which an individual (parishioner) or the entire family supports their local parish.

Christian Stewardship is a life-style, which acknowledges accountability and responsibility before God. Becoming a Steward begins when we say we believe in God, to whom we give our love, loyalty and trust. We affirm that every aspect of our lives comes as a gift from Him. Stewards are motivated as recipients of God’s abundant love, to respond by participating and supporting His plan of salvation and the ministries of the Church, which make salvation possible for them and for others.

In the Bible, the Steward is depicted as a person who is given the responsibility of managing something that belongs to the Owner, God. The Steward as the manager is thus accountable to the Owner for all that he possesses and is responsible to return to the Lord his or her fair share  in gratitude and thanksgiving.  As God has been generous to us, He expects us to be generous toward the work of Christ and His Church. Our Stewardship Commitment is the tool of ministry, salvation and healing for us and for others. Christian Stewardship is the privilege and honor of directly supporting God’s work on earth through the Church.

A flourishing parish Christian Stewardship Program can be compared to a river, which overflows into many tributaries and reaches out in many directions to share with others our rich and profound spiritual inheritance. Christian Stewardship offers each person the means to become an active proponent in disseminating the Orthodox Faith through fair and generous giving to support the Parish and her ministries.

What is a Stewardship Commitment?

A Stewardship Commitment is a method that replaces the former practice of the Church’s (parish) support through the minimal-yearly membership dues principle. It has been proven that the former method has not been successful in meeting parish obligations. Through the Stewardship Commitment method every parishioner can actively participate in the support of the parish according to his/her abilities. The financial support of the parish in this case falls into the hands of every parishioner (Steward) who by his/her conscience continually invests their time, talents and treasures in the life of their parish.

Why is Stewardship Commitment necessary in our parish?

The former practice of the parish support through the yearly membership dues did not produce successful results. The money that was collected from the yearly dues was not enough for the parish to properly function. It was based on a simple math formula (number of paid members multiplied by the amount of yearly dues is equal to the amount of money collected from the membership) that showed inability to move forward in the parish planning process.

How is the church currently supported financially?

In addition to Stewardship Commitments, the church is also supported financially from the celebrations of church Slava, Pascha and Bozic offerings, church picnics, fundraisers throughout the year, the sale of candles, Sunday collection plate offerings, and supplemental revenue from the hall. Due to fluctuating economic conditions, revenues from the hall have been steadily decreasing. The church should be a self sustaining entity and should not have to rely on the supplemental income from the hall. A parish cannot function normally if the parish budget is not thoroughly planned in advance.

Is the Stewardship Commitment mandatory for all parishioners?

Not at all. Nothing in the life of the Church can be forceful, under pressure and obligation. God gives us an opportunity to do everything according to our free will and conscience but it is up to us to decide which road will we take. Jesus Christ did not say: You have to follow me, but “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matt. 16:24). Of course, if we would have more patience and more responsible Stewards who could take good care of their church, it would be easier to reach a desired goal.

How is the Stewardship Commitment going to be implemented in our parish?

The Stewardship Commitment is formed on a principle of voluntary, proportional and regular investment of time, talents and treasures in the parish. It should be noted however, that the financial aspect of the parish support is not based only on a yearly commitment that a parishioner makes toward their Church. Rather, it is a life-long commitment that a Steward of the parish makes toward their Church. Through this commitment a parishioner shows that he is indeed a child of God, a Steward of the God-given blessings which God bestows upon us daily. Stewardship in this way becomes an unending gratitude to God and serves as a sign of small thanks to Him for all the things that already belong to Him. Everything comes from God-everything should be returned to Him!

If my Commitment is based on a yearly giving of a set amount of money, is it possible to divide that amount over several months?

Looking at the Commitment form, we can see that it is possible for you to fulfill your commitment in various ways: weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually.

You may choose from the following methods of payment (Cash, Check, Electronic Payment):

If you complete your Commitment Form and either mail it or electronically submit a form before the deadline of December 18th, you will receive your personalized Weekly Envelopes for the upcoming year with your assigned Steward number.

If you complete your Commitment Form after the deadline of December 18th and do not receive personalized envelopes, you may use one of the envelopes available in the candle stand. Simply print your name on the envelope so that it’s legible and your contribution will be posted towards your Stewardship Commitment.

You may also enroll in your bank’s online bill paying service. When you make a payment to St. Lazarus online your bank will write a check, credit it to your account, and send it to our Church. In most cases, there are no fees for this service. We will identify your check by your name and post it toward your Stewardship Commitment.

I have heard that some non-Orthodox denominations such as Protestants support their Church by giving 10% of their monthly/yearly income. Do I have to do the same for my Church?

That principle is based on the old Hebrew custom of tithing or giving “tenths” of all what they possess. However, not all people are able to put aside 10% of their monthly or yearly income. We have to understand that the Stewardship Commitment which a parishioner makes to their Church does not oblige them to a specific number of ten, seven, five, three or two percents. Everything should be based on a voluntary commitment. It is important to remember that God is not concerned with ‘how much was given,’ but ‘how it was given.’ In other words, does a person give out of abundance (surplus) as the Pharisees did, or do they give all what they have, as the poor widower who put the last two coins in the basket? (Luke 21:1-4) As we all know, the Pharisees gave out of pride and the poor widower gave out of the goodness of her heart and without distress.

What will happen if I am unable to fulfil my financial commitment due to job loss, sickness or any other unforeseen circumstance?

Nothing will happen. The Church is the living organism that breathes by the Holy Spirit and shelters all her children who seek salvation within the Church. It may happen sometimes that a Steward of a parish is not able to fulfill their commitment due to unforeseen circumstances.

Am I able to complete my Stewardship Commitment form electronically and also pay electronically?

Yes, by going to the church’s website, www.ravanica.org, and clicking on the Stewardship tab, you will see a link that will direct you to the online commitment form that you can fill out and submit.

For online payments of your Stewardship Commitment, you can do so by using your bank’s bill pay feature to make payments directly payable to St. Lazarus Ravanica. Please make sure to include the church’s address when setting up your bill pay on your banking website.

What if I do not have access to the internet or online banking, how can I submit my commitment form and payments?

You can mail your completed commitment forms and payments to the church office:

St. Lazarus Serbian Orthodox Cathedral
Attn: Stewardship Commitment
4575 East Outer Drive
Detroit, MI 48234

Please be sure to make checks or money orders made payable to St. Lazarus Ravanica. DO NOT SEND CASH!

You may also drop off your commitment forms and payments in the Stewardship drop box located in the church office inside the church, not the hall.

Who is included in my Stewardship Commitment?

The Stewardship Commitment includes: husband, wife and children under the age of 18. Every adult of the age of 18 should fill out their own commitment form, as we all possess different talents that we can volunteer to our church.

How can I decide how much to give to the Church?

This is a personal decision between you and God. Only the names of the Stewards will be published in the church bulletin. This approach eliminates prideful (Pharisaic) giving, competitive giving, and alleviates a discomfort for those who are not able to give a large sum.

The financial commitment that you arrive at should evolve from your personal judgment based upon your financial resources combined with a spiritual expression of the gratitude and love for the blessings which have been provided to you by our Lord.

Your annual financial commitment includes your weekly envelope contributions, Pomen and Health donations, and what would have formerly been categorized as Membership dues. You may continue to give for the holidays just as you have and those donations will be considered part of your Stewardship Commitment. Payments to the Church where a service or a product is received in exchange, e.g., candle sales, would not be considered a Stewardship donation.

Stewardship is about equal sacrifice, not equal giving.

If I give to my Church for example, $2000 a year and do not participate in any other parish activities or sacramental life of the Church, can I still be considered as a Steward in good standing?

No. Stewardship is comprised of commitment of your time, talent and treasures. It is a full commitment to the sacramental life of the Church; fasting, worship, Holy Confession, Holy Communion, obedience, confession, etc. When a parishioner fulfills all of the above and proves that he/she is fully committed to the mystical life of the Church, willingly and without pressure, then financial support of his/her church comes naturally as an expression of their faith. This is where the aspect of Christian Stewardship differs from ‘paying dues membership.’ It is a sacrificial commitment rather than a formal obligation.

What is the deadline for me to submit my Stewardship Commitment form?

The deadline for submission of the Stewardship Commitment form is December 18th. We should be reminded that we do not have to send money with our Commitment form. This will depend on your own decision when to start sending the money to the Church, i.e. weekly, monthly, quarterly, and a particular method that you choose for tracking the transactions. Submission of all commitment forms by this date will allow ample time for accounting of commitments and budget planning for the upcoming year.

What does the Bible say about financial support of the Church?

We will cite a few passages from the Bible that clearly state how we should support our Church:

Secretly: “that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret, will Himself reward you openly.” Matt. 6:4

Regularly: “on the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper…” 1 Cor. 16:2

Bountifully and Willingly: “he who sparingly sows will also sparingly reap, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Cor. 9:6-7

As Sacrifice/Offering: “Also we made ordinances for ourselves, to exact from ourselves yearly one-third of a shekel for the service of the house of our God.” Nehemiah 10:32

For the Heavenly Reward: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matt. 6:19-21

Being aware greed: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil…” 1 Timothy 6:10