What do church stewards do?
Church stewards have been around since the 18th century when
John Wesley recognised that ministers, who because of the itinerant
nature of their role, are often unable to oversee every matter in
church life. And so, the role is tightly woven into the DNA of the
While church stewards are responsible for practical things, such
as looking after local preachers who are visiting their church,
making sure the offering is taken and announcements are made that's
not where it ends! There are also responsibilities which have more
of an overarching reach.
For example, church stewards focus on fostering unity
within the church and 'talent spotting' those with potential,
encouraging them to become involved in leadership roles. They
also make sure that any new policies which are made by Synod
and the Church Council are communicated to their congregation,
ensuring that decisions are upheld and acted upon.
Church stewards' duties are set out in the constitution of
the Methodist Church, The Constitutional Practice and Discipline,
which is known as the CPD. To find out more about this document
follow this link.
Some of the responsibilities church stewards have
- Contacting the visiting local preacher before the
service to fill them in on the traditions and customs of
For example at what point in the service the offering is
taken and if the children leave during the service to attend their
- Welcoming the local preacher before the
The preacher might have travelled quite a distance or feel
nervous, so a friendly face and prayer will probably
be most appreciated.
- Looking after the local preacher when the service
Church stewards should always ensure that the local preaches has
an invitation to a meal after the service and should offer to
pay their travelling expenses.
- Working with others.
Collaborating and cooperating with those who are also involved in
the Sunday service, for example worship leaders, organists, crèche
and Sunday School leaders to ensure that the service runs
- Greeting all churchgoers.
Whether they are new faces or old friends it is vital that people
feel welcomed in our churches. A genuine smile can make all the
difference! Often Welcome Teams are set up.
- Keeping up to date with safeguarding
For the latest safeguarding news and information see the Safeguarding
- Organising an alternative service if the
appointed preacher does not turn up!
If there is a minister or another local preacher in the
congregation ask if they would be happy to help out. In the event
that there is not spare local preacher to hand the church steward
will need to step into the breach. Copies of services which would
be appropriate to use in these tight spots, called Readers'
Services, are available on the Local Preachers pages.
- Attending official church meetings.
These include the Circuit Meeting, the Church Council,
the General Church Meeting and the Pastoral Committee.
Church stewards and the Sunday experience
The practical duties church stewards carry out are crucial to
creating a positive experience both for the visiting local preacher
or minister and the congregation on a Sunday morning.
For many people the Sunday service, rather than housegroups or
interest groups, is where they find their main point of connection
with the church. More churches are also finding that a growing
percentage of their congregations feel a strong sense of belonging
but are unable to attend every week. For churchgoers, and for the
regulars, there is an even greater need for continuity and quality
in the church service.
Church stewards have a key role to play in enabling a worship
service which expresses Kingdom values of grace, love and
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