Tag Archives: giving

2015 Year End Ministry Update

ivm Mailchimp card12015 was a year filled with rewarding ministry, meaningful accomplishments, and major transitions. Thanks for your support along the way.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! As we continue to journey together through the Christmas season, I want to share a brief update on my ministry during 2015.

The year began with me completing my research and the first draft of my doctoral thesis. You can read the abstract and introduction here: kengcrawford.com/online-journal/transforming-vocations/. The research focuses on the relationship between faith and vocation, and in particular how clergy are creating sustainable and faithful ministries that are multifaceted and include income from multiple sources. This will be increasingly important as the cost of education rises, the ability of congregations to support fulltime pastors decreases, and a higher percentage of the population remain outside of traditional faith communities. These three factors necessitate increasing emphasis on ministry outside the walls of the church, requiring new ways of training, conducting, and funding such ministries.

I took another step in response to this need by formally launching the Institute for Vital Ministry (iVM – iVitalMinistry.org) through a three year agreement with the Missional Wisdom Foundation (MWF – MissionalWisdom.com) as my fiscal sponsor for my 501c3 status. The goal of iVM is to serve as a platform that supports clergy and laity who are leading congregations and community organizations. We will do this through training, education, retreats, coaching, spiritual direction and pastoral care, along with the production of print, audio, video and digital resources for these activities. I am joined by a small and growing team of collaborators and partners. We are scheduling speaking events, workshops and retreats for 2016, so if you would like to host or participate, please let me know.

In May of 2015 I earned Doctor of Ministry with Honors from SMU. Since that time I have been primarily focused on conducting research and laying the groundwork for this new ministry. My own multivocal ministry includes serving part time as pastor of St. Paul’s E&R Church UCC (StPaulUCCDallas.org) and helping to launch a social entrepreneurship coworking space with MWF (TheMixCoworking.org). My hope is that iVM can provide an increasing percentage of my family income, freeing me up for this most important and underserved work.

2016 will include two new projects along with continuing the current work:

  • AltrCall …. A gathering and exploration of stories of calling that include but go way beyond the norm and the expected. Clergy and Laity who are finding new ways to live out their call to ministry. Some will bear a family resemblance to things you already know. Others will be as if seeing ministry for the first time.
  • MultiVocal …. Discover how vocation is manifest through the six domains of human flourising, and how you can become more fully yourself, more fully whole, by discovering, developing and deploying your vocational identity in each part of your life.

You have already provides support in one or multiple ways – through collaboration, encouragement, prayers, or financial gifts. My hope is that you will continue and expand your support as 2015 ends and 2016 begins. To receive a 2015 contribution letter gifts must received by December 31st – you can send a check or contribute online. You can accelerate the pace at which this work grows and serves more leaders and organizations by making a sustaining pledge of a monthly gift in 2016. However you give, I thank you. Please tell the story of the work being done and invite others to come along on the journey – and remember, “Wherever your road leads… you don’t have to travel alone.”

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Dr. Ken G. Crawford
Pastor, St. Paul’s E&R Church (UCC)
Executive Director, Institute for Vital Ministry
iVM: Companions on your journey.
“Wherever your road leads… you don’t have to travel alone.”


Generational Giving

2164 logoRecently I attended a workshop at Communities Foundation of Texas hosting Sharna Goldseker from 21/64. The conversation was titled “Generations of Generosity: How Traditionalists, Boomers, GenXers and Millennials Give.”

IMG_4436The event revolved around a group process at our tables where we had a drawing of a person from one of the four generational groups –

  • Traditionalists born 1925-1945
  • Boomers born 1946-1964
  • Gen x born 1965-1980
  • Millennials born 1981-2000

These categories are based on the work of Neil Howe and William Strauss – Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584-2069.

Our task in the group was to identify the formative generational life experiences (write those around the figure)  and the internal thoughts and attitudes and feelings that might result from these experiences. For instance, Traditionalists lived through the depression and rationing of WWII, so frugality is a common trait among them. Boomers came to adulthood during the civil rights era and Viet Nam conflict – they are often motivated by causes. Generation X saw Iran Contra, Church sex scandals so they tend to be cynical and distrusting of institutions. Generation Y / Millennials are the technology generation, have never known a time without computers and the internet, and were raised by boomers, so they are impatient, and want to be involved directly in decision making and impact.

These are broad brush categories and descriptions, but they hold true for a large portion of the population. When there is a seeming communication gap or disconnect, these may help offer some explanation. When an institution – Foundation, NonProfit, or Religious Organization – is wanting to connect with new generations of contributors, board members and engaged community partners, understanding the generational trait can provide needed insight.

If Millennials do not see how they can participate and can’t measure the impact, they will not participate, no matter how “wonderful the organization or cause.” Boomers are still motivated by cause – help them see how the organization connects to and furthers causes about which they care and with which they can engage. Gen X cohort tend to be cynical, presenting a “prove it to me” posture and attitude. Underneath and behind that wall is a deep desire to do good and make the world a better place. They were latchkey kids, so they are trained to figure things out and do things on their own, not waiting around for permission from authorities. This makes them great innovators and hard workers.

One of the challenges not discussed was how to engage one group without alienating others. Younger generations tend to be drawn toward more edgy marketing and story telling, and are often more progressive about social issues.While we should not prejudge how people will respond, we also may want to consider how traditionalists will respond to a marketing campaign designed to connect with Millennials. Will they be offended? Will they even understand it? “Communication is not what you say, but what people hear.”* So it is OUR RESPONSIBILITY to understand HOW people hear, if we want to engage them in the conversation.

One way to approach this is simply to ask, “When I say XYZ (give, donate, volunteer, etc) what do you hear? What runs through your mind? What are your questions? What is most important to you?”

NextGenDonors LogoGoldseker is the co-author of #NextGenDonors. I was very interested that there was no social media connection information provided until the end of the presentation. I was attempting to post to Twitter and Facebook, but could not easily identify the hashtags or handles to use. We finally did get #NextGenDonors on Facebook and Twitter, and I found @2164Buzz on Twitter. I’m squarely in Gen X (born 1970) and I use social media to share ideas with colleagues and engage the larger community in conversation about topics that I find important. Not being able to do this easily, and more specifically not being encouraged and enabled to do this, at a session about Next Gen Donors, was confusing to me. Perhaps CF Texas only uses twitter for specific campaigns like North Texas Giving Day. I wonder if my friends at SparkFarm have any thoughts about this?

What does your organization do to connect with each generation? Do you intentionally focus on only one or two demographic groups, or do you try to connect with all four? What resources do you find most helpful?

* Michael Moynahan SJ. “Incarnation.” Hearts on Fire. Michael Harter SJ. ed