Spirituality and Praxis of Church Resource Development

May Term, May 22-26, 2017

Course Description

Course participants will learn the latest theory and proven practices in managing a year-round resource development system for financial development and stewardship formation in churches of all sizes which is holistic in spirit and disciplined in execution.

This course of study is ideal for seminarians and experienced clergy and lay leaders alike in any size church or religious institution needing to host a meaningful conversation and also raise significant money for mission.

Participants will benefit from exposure to more than 280 proven templates and instruction in their use (www.fearlesschurchfundraising.com) and will be given perpetual access to them in their future ministry free of any charge.  We will discuss the ministries needed to form mission, inspire generosity, raise money and open hearts through stewardship programs in parishes for annual giving/pledging campaigns, major gifts and planned giving programs, membership growth campaigns and management as well as the leadership skills needed to plan and execute these functions with effectiveness and integrity.

Participants will consider their own issues about money and God, the impact of media on spending and on spirituality, the nature of fear and its role in people’s giving, and the spirituality of bounty out of which pledging occurs. Merging the earliest spirituality with the latest psychology, technology and literature on giving trends and strategies, students will learn to use strategic planning, communications, marketing and spirituality to assist in their work to raise annual, capital and planned giving funds for the mission of God’s kingdom on earth.

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for this course nor does the course presuppose any knowledge of fund-raising, non-profit management, communications, strategic planning or theology and spirituality.

Materials: There is a website for this course. It will contain copies of all materials other than the text: Fearless Church Fundraising—a text written by the instructor. This text and a laptop with access to fearlesschurchfundraising.com should be brought to the class. Registered students will be able to access the site during the class and in perpetuity for reference.

Required Texts: Fearless Church Fundraising will be needed for this course and will be available for purchase online or in the seminary/university bookstore. A Major Gifts Manuscript will also be referenced (publish date: September 2017)

Course Goals

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • design and manage a stewardship (financial development) program from planning to evaluation in a small, mid-sized or large parish;
  • access their own internal issues around money, fear, faith and hope as they pertain to giving, bounty and scarcity so as to lead others to do the same;
  • create a strategic plan which leads a parish or non-profit through a year-long stewardship program;
  • understand and create their own theology and philosophy of the intersection between God and our money, understanding the importance of this issue in our time and able to express that importance with fluidity and passion to the extent of their abilities;
  • manage the communications needed to raise funds in annual campaigns, major gifts initiatives, capital campaigns and planned giving programs;
  • have a working knowledge of major gift strategies;
  • have a working overview of capital campaign design, management and professional (hired) counsel management;
  • have a basic understanding of the main issues and vocabularies involved in planned giving programs as well as the ability to incorporate them into existing annual stewardship, major gift and capital programs;
  • understand cultural norms and societal realities which impact stewardship and financial development;
  • select and work with fund raising counsel without spending money on counsel pre-maturely;
  • understand ethical frameworks for fund raising in a parish or non-profit;
  • know how to proceed with further independent study through conferences and other existing materials in the ongoing strengthening of fund raising, strategic planning, non-profit communications and theological aspects of issues around money, faith and management.

About the Instructor

The Rev. Canon Charles LaFond, an Episcopal priest, speaker, author, and blogger has served The Episcopal Church as inventor, designer, and lead instructor for Project Resource until 2016, imagining a culture-changing initiative to get basic resource materials and adult-learning in church financial development and membership growth into the churches and dioceses of our church without any consulting fees required, ever, by anyone at any time.

Fearless Church Fundraising is a continuation, in an improved version, soon to include free teaching videos, new books in 2016 and 2017, and upcoming conferences. Charles LaFond’s book Fearless Church Fundraising and the extension-website fearlesschurchfundraising.com is LaFond’s award winning collection of church fundraising materials built over a 30-year ministry and entirely free for any church, any time, anywhere.

Fearless Church Fundraising is the first in a series of three books on church-based or church institution-based annual pledging, major gifts and membership growth.

LaFond has a passion for helping churches to help people to give their money to Jesus’ mission on planet earth. As canon steward at the Cathedral of Saint John’s in the Wilderness, LaFond is a potter, bee-keeper, priest, retreat leader, speaker, and author on spiritual depth and philanthropy. He spent a decade as a corporate non-profit development officer and a second decade as an Episcopal priest and monk. LaFond now lives in Denver where he raises money and membership at the Episcopal Cathedral as a member of its chapter. He blogs daily on spiritual life, food, hospitality and generosity at http://sjcathedral.org/DailySip which is syndicated on Episcopal Café weekly. You may read a sample of The Daily Sip at http://www.sjcathedral.org/DailySip/PostID/697. LaFond has considerable resources for church financial development including videos and manuals on his personal website www.charleslafond.net.


Lunch each day is included in the fee.

Monday through Thursday—9 a.m. to 12 p.m., 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Friday—8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Suggested Lodging

There are many options for accommodations in and around Sewanee.


If flying, you may arrive in either Chattanooga or Nashville. Groome Shuttle service provides regular trips to Sewanee from both.


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