“Giving is the first step in our training for our reigning with God forever.” – Dallas Willard
Dallas said it well.
Sixteen out of 38 of Christ’s parables deal with money; more is said in the New Testament about money than Heaven and Hell combined; five times more is said about money than prayer; and while there are 500-plus verses on both prayer and faith, there are over 2,000 verses dealing with money and possessions.” – John MacArthur, Jr.
Here are some principles that will assist you in teaching and promoting stewardship. Stewardship must be a mindset. Stewardship says, “I manage; therefore I am responsible to Christ for how I handle His stuff. Since I don’t own, I must have faith in God’s ability to provide all of my needs.” Philippians 4:19
Stewardship is part of fulfilling the mission of the church. Therefore, money is a medium, not an end result. Stewardship must be holistic, not just about the tithe. God expects us to handle our families, spiritual gifting and other aspects of our lives with the same dedication we handle the tithe. When people see that tithing is just one aspect of the stewardship life, tithing loses its stigma. The congregation must see stewardship as a personal issue before they take personal responsibility for it.
Stewardship must be year-round, not event driven. It must also be seen as a major emphasis throughout the year. Stewardship must provide ways for people to come into compliance with God’s Word. It you teach them to tithe, provide money management seminars to help them get out of debt and plan for their future; if you teach them to be good parents, give them a seminar to develop their parenting skills; your focus will dictate the events you use to implement the teaching. Will and estate planning seminars will prepare your people to pass on their legacy to the next generation and bless the church with a tithe.
The answers to the following questions may give you some direction for your stewardship promotion
How should a new member be approached (if at all) about tithing?
- Biblically – Malachi 3:10; 2 Corinthians 8
- When – New Members class or “Introduction to our Church” class
- Where – In Church or small groups in homes
- How – Saddleback Community’s 101, 201, 301, 401 classes
Who should approach them?
- Minister of Education
- New Member class leader/facilitator
- Church friend who tithes
How should we regularly follow up with members to encourage them to tithe?
- Sermons by the pastor
- Bulletin inserts
- Money management seminars
- Stewardship Bible studies
- Will seminars
- Testimonies during services
- Drama during worship service
- Will seminars (California Baptist Foundation, 800.333.9893)
What should be shared with the membership on a regular basis?
- Reports during services of what God has accomplished – make it visible
- Post in the bulletin and newsletter what God is doing
What might the Finance Committee do to enhance income?
- Keep the ministry heads focused on the purpose and vision – go boldly, spend wisely
- Follow a stewardship calendar
What might the Pastor do to enhance income?
- Preach on biblical stewardship
- Identify every area of life as a stewardship issue
- Identify stewardship as something we are, as well as something we do
- Address and bless stewardship efforts – teamship
What might the Deacons do to enhance income?
- Be aware of possible financial problems among the membership
- Be prepared to help members with financial issues
- Be bold in their own stewardship – model it
There are many more ways to promote stewardship, but a solid focus with follow-through is the real answer. Is it hard work to make this happen? Yes, but your people will be blessed when they undertake the stewardship lifestyle. The church will be blessed with additional receipts and workers who have a new passion to live out their faith. The Kingdom will be blessed when adequate finances make it possible to send missionaries who are currently trained, but unable to go do to lack of funds. This is a win, win, win situation for the Kingdom of God. It’s your choice!
For more information about stewardship, contact:
Church Finance Specialist & GuideStone State Representative
559.229.9533, x. 258
E-mail Rod Wiltrout