Do the Igniting the Flame of True Christian Stewardship or 4-P Church Strategic Planning programs really work? What do people say who have gone through the training? How have these programs been evaluated?
The facts are, they do work and they can re-vitalize and re-energize your Parish and make a positive difference. Parishes and Metropolises and National churches all over the country that have implemented this program have reported significantly better engagement of their parishioners in ministries and the life of their churches, and, of course, substantial increases in giving of time, talents and treasures. But don’t believe me. Hear what those who have received been through the program say.
The Igniting the Flame of True Christian Stewardship and 4-P Church Strategic Planning programs consistently receive a median score of 10 out of 10 (where 10 is the best). The overall average evaluation score is a 9.6+ out of 10. Igniting the Flame is now the official stewardship program of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco and the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta, and all of the Parishes in the Western and Southern United States will be systematically implementing it, as have many other churches throughout the United States.
I have been blessed to implement my 4-P Strategic Planning approach for the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco, the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta, the national Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and many churches throughout the United States.
Read below some of the many wonderful compliments from those who have attended. These evaluations are merely offered to demonstrate the enthusiasm and opinions of those who attend, and not for any other reason.
Just a quick note to wish you the best, and tell you that you are responsible for feeding about 7,000+ homeless men over the age of 55. Our Church program was down to its last few dollars in December and we didn’t know if we could continue, but with this donation we can. As a result of your inspirational Stewardship presentation, I secured funding to feed at least that many in the coming year. May God Bless you.
I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and am certain that everyone present benefited from the sterling presentations. The material was outstanding – based on solid empirical evidence. Something that is not always the case with such methods.
Theologian, Professor and Clergyman
After attending your inspirational stewardship program my colleague on the Parish Council admitted he was not doing all he should and came back to the Parish and immediately wrote a $10,000 check to the church. Since then, he has been relentless in trying to implement what we learned in the program.
Midwest Parish Council President
It was great to meet you at the Stewardship Workshop… Your presentation was fantastic and very inspiring. Having been in a Big Four consulting firm for over ten years I have seen and given thousands of presentations, and yours was by far one of the best presentations I have ever seen on any subject period.
I wanted to let you know that I have taken what you have given me and plan to help my parish accomplish the same…. Thank you again for your help and when our paths cross again I’ll be pleased.
Connecticut Parish Council Officer
You Bill are amazing, inspirational, and fun! I have to be honest, when I was on the way to the Strategic Planning session Saturday, I was thinking, I know it is important to be there, but is this going to be 4 hours of boring, endless discussions that get no where, etc? What I can tell you is if you missed it, you missed an excellent presentation!! It moved along, it was interesting, and his humor is infectious! What a wonderful day it was. He also provided all the steps and info we need to really make an impact, in whatever areas we decide. This is up to us to do the work and analysis, and I know we CAN!!
Florida Parish Leader
I found the experience to be truly transformative, both personally and for the Church. For years I have been frustrated by our Church’s limited ability to “spread the Gospel.” Orthodoxy is the one true Faith and yet our Faith is a relative secret among seekers and non-seekers alike. We need to be more active in sharing Orthodoxy with others. Your approach to strategic planning does just that. I went home truly inspired and with a sense of enthusiasm, energy and much hope. For the last few decades I have been active in the Church, but never before have I found such direction and potential to make a difference. I pray we are able to discern God’s will in our efforts and then implement that which He wants us to do.
Aside from our work for the Church, I found the program to be personally inspiring. … I write this with true respect and deep admiration. It has been a transformative and inspirational experience.”
Strategic Planning Team Member
I was on the Archdiocese’s Stewardship Ministry many years ago. I’ve been Stewardship Chair on and off, for over a dozen years. I’m telling you this so you realize that I’ve been around a while, and have worked with some of the best in my time of involvement. Bottom line, the Church is blessed to have people like you, who can inform, educate, inspire, and motivate others, to get out there and be disciples of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You are a true role model of Stewardship.
Massachusetts Parish Council member
I once again want to thank you for your absolutely essential Ministry and for the sacrifices you make to bring it to life. It is difficult for me to conceive of a more crucial calling in these troubling times than to educate and enable the “troops on the ground” to make their Parishes meaningful and relevant to the People.
I promise you that your seeds have not fallen on barren soil. God’s hand has been truly apparent over the past year, and every day gives me new hope that we will truly rise from the ashes better, more relevant, and walking more in His Path.
Thank you so much
A Southwest Parish Council President
I cannot tell you how much I enjoy, appreciate, marvel at, and am indebted to your work which continues to influence the way we have structured our community activities and has had an ENORMOUS impact on stewardship. Gratefully, we understand that the Church runs on “eternal time” so we were not discouraged at the slow-moving glacier that was our ministry program. It is now beginning to bear fruit – and it is sweet…
The naysayers are fewer, the workers are many, the delight is palpable. We have had much success with our Council of Ministries – the leaders of each ministry are at the same table making decisions together, understanding their duties and responsibilities and giving their insight and experience to running this large new facility that God has blessed us with. Emphasizing Cooperation, Coordination and Communication and remembering that Christ is at the center of all we do, is how we achieve the Excellence we are working toward.
That frees up the Parish Council to tackle the hard work of the future which I was delighted to see is your focus on strategic planning. We need that at the parish level… I have reviewed everything you’ve been generous enough to send. I am a “true believer” and I found it all attractive enough to continue reading, simple enough for the uninitiated to understand, and interesting enough to capture the imagination and put into practical use.
New Jersey Parish Council Leader
Christos Anesti !
I attended your Training. Needless to say – it was TRANSFORMATIONAL.
Please let me know when/where your next session is on the East Coast (Virginia to Boston) so I can make sure the entire Parish Council attends!!! Way too good to miss.
Thank you for “igniting the flame” and validating some of the things we’ve already begun such as Greeting parishioners at the Church Door and making sure we get to know new people and visitors.
We were a moribund community but we believe with all our hearts that these groups will make Christ the center of everyone’s family life by their good example and good works – and the Church the center of Christ’s community.
Thank you again for your invaluable training and insight. Please let me know where we can travel so others will receive this amazing training.
Pennsylvania Parish Leader
When Spiro and I heard you last May, we were both moved by your God-given ability as a layman to effectively impart a theological and inspiring presentation as well as your incredible ability to motivate people. And your visit to our parish was even more powerful and touched many more people!
I am indebted to His Eminence for encouraging you to offer your message here, and equally so to Spiro for his persistence in making sure this would happen. Bill, it was providential that your presentation coincided with our parish feast day – and you are correct, the response was excellent, and still today after your closing message, I heard very positive responses from parish members (from some who normally do not attend either retreats or seminars in our parish!).
There is admittedly much hard work ahead of us, but by the grace of God and the application of even some of the principles you offered, His blessings will abound!
Your brother in Christ,
West Coast clergyman
We still have the buzz going at church as Father and others are listening to the tape we made of your presentation a few weeks ago. I personally feel that my fellow PC members who have expressed a desire to have you come to our church have not made the connection that this will be an intense and spiritual work endeavor that will require nothing less than a changed life. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am as I have waited over 25 years to hear someone such as yourself…
At the rate that we’re going as an Orthodox presence in the US, we will be relegated to the dustbin of history in a few generations if we don’t begin to realize that what we possess is so unique and life changing. We live in a world that is perishing while we spend a prodigious amount of time making sure that we have enough feta for the festival….
New Jersey Parish leader
I would like to express my deepest gratitude for the time and effort you invested in our church community. Our time with you this weekend was incredibly eye opening and soul stirring! Thank you for bringing your Stewardship Evangelism to our church family. We needed a wake-up call and you were the perfect mouthpiece for the message God has for us.
I am currently working towards obtaining my Masters in Nursing with an emphasis in Leadership… You provided us with the “master plan” to move forward with the paradigm shift. I have to admit I was feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of being a part of such a monumental task….then, I was blessed to hear your homily this morning. We will take this race 100 meters at a time!
Parish Council Officer
Mr. William B. Marianes,
THANK YOU !! for your valuable time and visiting our great Parish. The power of your stewardship talk was great and unbelievably inspiring. The power of the Holy Spirit was felt in your talk to our parishioners. That is a big mission that you doing for the Greek Archdiocese on stewardship !!
This was just a fantastic program. If every Orthodox Church implemented this, we would grow faster than the Mormons.
Nevada Parish Council Officer
I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoyed your presentation today. You really touched me with your presentation.
Connecticut Parish Council member
Best presentation I’ve heard in 60 years of seminars.
Parish Council Officer
Thanks Again and Again for inspiring more and more people to understand stewardship as service to Christ through ministry and not just a “fundraising” method that we leave at the Church property as we exit the parking lot.
Our group is “transformed” – even the skeptics. As our Priest, Parish Council President and Philoptochos President attended, we thank you for helping us get on the same page.
Now, if you can find it in your schedule to visit our brand new complex for a presentation….you’d be doing all of NEW JERSEY a great service!!!!
New Jersey Parish Council Officer
I feel your ministry is very important and I thank you for the opportunity to hear you speak again. I feel your perspective on stewardship, and in general the church, is a very refreshing and revitalizing and gives me encouragement to continue in my own ministry! God bless you and your ministry and hope we can convert more people to a new way of seeing things.
Words cannot adequately express my deepest gratitude for taking time out of your busy schedule to help our Parish and Metropolis in our journey to Theosis. Your ministry, and personal sacrifices, have inspired many of us to re-examine what it truly means to be a follower of our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus.
Massachusetts Parish Council Officer
Thinking of you and praying you arrived safely. Presvytera and I are so grateful for your ministry to the Church. We will continue to pray for your ministry and diakonia. The seminar was amazing and dynamic and real.
South Carolina clergyman
From my point of view, Mr Marianes, you were able to bring my regional area from the dark ages to the 19th century. Your effect on our area has been paramount. It’s your enthusiasm (which means God is with you), your commitment and your knowledge combined have made an impact on people who I had considered a waste of oxygen.
Senior East Coast clergyman
As previously mentioned, our Stewardship Committee is fully engaged in a very dynamic program presented back in January by Bill Marianes. We have very high hopes that, when asked, you as the Stewards of our Community will be helpful with giving input and opinions in the near future regarding this endeavor.
Mr. Marianes invoked a mind-set that we are fully embracing. This “mind-set” is that we are to do as Christ and His Apostles did, and that is to engage and connect with each person we encounter. We will not simply do this while at the Church, but in a personal setting. In doing so, we hope to fully understand and meet the needs and desires regarding our offered ministries and activities. Our goal is that each person and family in our parish will have a place for fellowship with others. Please be attentive, as more details will be forthcoming.
West Coast Stewardship Chairperson
I wanted to take a moment this evening to thank you for visiting our parish and for the inspiring presentation that you gave us. I can tell you that it has left a very lasting impression with our parishioners and has given many of them a new insight on Orthodox stewardship. Personally, I’m still coming down from the weekend and you have reinforced in my mind that the direction that I want to take our parish is the right one.
We spoke so often this weekend of the gifts or “charismata” that we each have received from God and how we need to use them to return back to Him that which is already His. The ministry that you are providing to the Church, using the gifts that you have received is such a powerful witness to true Stewardship. It serves as a prime example of how we, as Orthodox Christians, should use the talents that we have received for the Glory of Him “through Whom all things were made”.
Ohio Parish Council President
Dear Mr. Marianes,
It was a pleasure to meet you today, and I wanted to write to thank you for all the wonderful information you provided during the stewardship seminar. Much of what you said in the first half really hit home for me, as I’ve been lazy about acting on my intentions to reach out to the community. Now, I am much stronger in my conviction to actually go through with my intentions, so I thank God that I was able to attend.
I also want to thank you for really emphasizing the importance of personal connections and communication. Our parish has what seems to be a high proportion of introverts to extroverts, and as an introvert myself, it’s often difficult for me to discover their interests and how they can be involved. However, you provided a number of tools that I believe we can implement, and I will definitely be passing those along to my priest and fellow parish council members. Thankfully, we are still small, and we can use your model as a framework upon which to build good stewards in the church.
Kansas Parish Leader
I cannot tell you how delighted I was to be able to listen to your comments. You are redefining the Paradigm of what the Orthodox Christian mission is all about. Your concept of engagement and organization of the Parish councils and Parishioners is so simple and straightforward, but also revolutionary.
Good afternoon, Bill!
I hope this email finds you well and safely home from a productive time in Arizona.
Thank you very much for your energy, obvious love for what you do, and candor. You held the audience with ease and left us all feeling “deputized” to think more with our hearts than simply our heads for greater reach and effectiveness.
Our community is its own living, breathing organism and yet, no different than most. You have imparted great knowledge on many parishes and those who internalized that knowledge, committed to the steps illustrated in your presentation, and made those practices part of their DNA on a go-forward basis, have flourished as a result.
Your message was embraced and in speaking with many in attendance following your presentation, there is a new level of excitement and promise to what lies ahead. Like anything of importance, it will be a challenge to change mindset, create new practices, follow them consistently, and stoke that fire with regularity to protect the prescribed dynamic process but will be well worth it in the long run. As you mentioned in your closing remarks…with knowledge comes responsibility.
Arizona Parish Leader
You made an invigorating presentation this past Saturday! All in attendance with no exception were truly enlighten and appreciative in having the opportunity to be present, to listen and to learn. Thank you!
East Coast Senior Clergyman
Your presentation on Saturday was the best that I’ve seen on (true) “Stewardship” and “Best Practices” for the future of our Greek Orthodox Ministries. I’m currently leading the Stewardship efforts at my parish and we will use the lessons learned to move our Ministries forward.
Virginia Parish Leader
I’d like to take a minute to thank you or agreeing to conduct the stewardship seminar in our Church yesterday. The entire program was professionally conducted. I’m confident that everyone who attended got something out of it that will help grow their stewardship program in their own Church. Everyone who attended was talking about the program during the dance last night and during the General Assembly (in fact, the analysis you provided of our community’s balance sheet proved to be very useful during our Treasurer’s Report).
Virginia Stewardship Chairman
Good Morning Bill,
“Doxa Theo!” I have to tell you that we were so inspired by your words, your Spirit, and your stamina as you presented the need for “True Christian stewardship”. Ellen and I were practically cheering and thanking God for finally sending us a servant with the drive and spirit to move even the most heart hardened Greek Orthodox to see the light. We, unfortunately, got there a few minutes late and we missed the food. It didn’t matter as we were fed such spiritual manna. We hardly noticed that almost five hours went by!
The psalmist says, “create in me a clean heart, Oh God, and renew a right Spirit within me.” You certainly inspired all of us and for this we thank you. You have been blessed with the speaking abilities of a successful lawyer and the understanding of God’s word of an early Church Father. It must be something in that Southern gospel belt water!
If we are to remain relevant as a church and if we are to have an influence on first our parishioners and then a hurting and dying outside world, we have to change our exhausting and futile “fund raising mentality” and become a church that encourages participation and Spiritual growth and renewal. You hit this on the head all day long and it was magnificent!
New Jersey Parish leader