By Julie Simonton, Officer for Congregational Development and Stewardship

0188-DSC_0229Tax breaks are almost the last reason people give to your church. People give their work, their wisdom … and their wealth … because the church has made an irreplicable, enduring impact on their lives and on the lives around them; because the church continues to make an impact; and because the church has the potential to make an impact in a way no other organization may. Why?

God is at the center. Jesus is at the center. The Holy Spirit is at the center. And when we are centered in Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, goosebumps happen. And when goosebumps happen from God’s impact amongst and betwixt us, we want to share the goosebumpy goodness in every way possible.

At the 2014 National Episcopal Church development symposium, this is the conversation that captivated me. This conversation about how God is goosebumpy. As I travel around the Diocese of Virginia and hear stories of God’s presence through a parishioner holding a priest’s hand before the priest goes in for surgery; of Jesus’ presence through the sacrificial efforts of providing hypothermia shelters; of the Holy Spirit’s presence through an audible whisper and palpable shoulder nudge as a college student makes career decisions, I know God transforms lives every day.

However, sharing the story of God’s transforming impact within the comfort zone of most Episcopalians requires a plan. One of the first steps in this plan is to tell the stories of your parish through a narrative budget that engages emotions. In other words, give rise to goosebumpiness!

Your diocesan staff is ready to help you create your church’s first narrative budget plan, to review your current one, or to explore entirely new directions in telling the stories of Christ among us! Call 1-800-DIOCESE or e-mail me at to begin the conversation. Until then, check out a few compelling narrative budgets from around our diocese for inspiration … and enjoy a few goosebumps of your own…

*Buck Mountain Episcopal Church,Earlysville, tells their narrative through song this year. See the video here. Learn more about Buck Mountain here.

*Immanuel Church on the Hill, Alexandria, offers their narrative through a color-filled, action-filled brochure. Take a look here. Learn more about Immanuel Church on the Hill here.

*St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Simeon in Charlottesville captures their narrative in an energetic Annual Report. To take a look, click here. Learn more at St. Luke’s here

Posted by DioStaff

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