Archdiocese Local

New director sees stewardship as more than a collection basket — it’s a way of life

Lisa McKelvey is the new director of the office of stewardship and development for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. She started on May 8. LEAVEN PHOTO BY MOIRA CULLINGS

by Moira Cullings

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Lisa McKelvey has been active in church life since she was a teenager.

“I know the things that I benefited from in high school,” she said, “and even more so in college at the Newman Center when I was at the University of Oklahoma.

“I’m not sure I’d be Catholic, let alone working for the church, if I didn’t have access to all of those resources, those programs, that I had growing up.”

McKelvey is the new director of the office of stewardship and development for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. She started on May 8.

“For me, working for the church, it’s that way of giving back,” she said. “It’s a way of making sure that those things that I had access to are available for the next generation and generations to come.”

McKelvey grew up in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and ultimately earned a master’s degree in philanthropy and development from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota in Winona.

She comes to Kansas City with eight years of experience in stewardship and development. She worked for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma in a variety of roles before becoming director of stewardship and development for the Diocese of Corpus Christi in Texas.

Carla Mills, chief financial officer for the archdiocese, said McKelvey’s professional background made her the perfect fit for the role.

“During her interviews, she clearly evidenced her understanding of the operations, challenges and opportunities involved in this field,” said Mills.

“Lisa has a history of personal    involvement in the church and has a strong faith life,” she continued. “We felt this made her an excellent fit within our chancery and the greater archdiocese.”

When she heard about the director position in northeast Kansas, McKelvey felt pulled to apply.

“Kansas City had been on my radar,” she said. “There are a lot of great things happening here with the church.”

McKelvey, a parishioner at Church of the Ascension in Overland Park, is eager to get involved in the young adult group City on a Hill.

She’s also excited to explore northeast Kansas.

“I’m looking forward to getting out and visiting the parishes,” she said. “There are some absolutely gorgeous churches in this archdiocese.”

In her role, she’ll get to know the clergy, parish staff and lay Catholics of the archdiocese.

“We’re part of a really big Catholic family — whether that’s our parish or the diocese,” she said. “And so, I’m really looking forward to meeting the people.”

When it comes to stewardship and development, said McKelvey, the office is more than what meets the eye.

“Most people are going to know the office because of Archbishop’s Call to Share — the annual appeal that funds over 40 ministries for the diocese,” she said.

“While, yes, that’s a very public element of the office,” she continued, “the office really is here to support any aspect of stewardship, and stewardship isn’t just talking about money.”

The office focuses also on the pillars of stewardship, including hospitality, prayer and formation.

“Those things are so key to that stewardship way of life,” she said. “It’s not just about are you putting your whatever percent in the basket at Mass every week.

“Are you engaged, are you involved, are you praying for the church?”

One of the challenges McKelvey expects to address is online giving.

“We’re turning so much more to a digital lifestyle,” she said. “I know a lot of parishes already have online giving, but not everybody is comfortable with online giving yet.”

McKelvey will work with the parishes to make sure it’s a simple and easy option for people.

She is grateful for the opportunity to enhance stewardship in the archdiocese.

“We’re able to make sure those ministries and programs that really do benefit so many people [flourish],” she said.

“And not just Catholics,” she added, “but our entire community and the people who walk through the doors of the church searching for something.

“We’re able to help them.”

About the author

Moira Cullings

Moira attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park and Benedictine College in Atchison. She majored in marketing, minored in psychology and played center midfield for the women’s soccer team. Moira joined The Leaven staff as a feature writer and social media editor in 2015. After a move to Denver, Moira resumed her full-time position at The Leaven and continues to write and manage its website, social media channels. Her favorite assignment was traveling to the Holy Land to take photos for a group pilgrimage in 2019.

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