As we talk about financial stewardship, it is important to first define stewardship as the act of managing that which belongs to someone else. Hence, the Ministry of Stewardship is about helping followers of Jesus understand that ALL they have is a gift from, and actually belongs to, GOD. Our time, skills and finances are all gifts He has given us. And in return, God asks us to manage them well.
Our role as church leaders is to teach the biblical principle of giving. Therefore, we must:
- Approach Stewardship from a Health Perspective
There are over 2,450 verses throughout scripture related to money and stewardship. This fact alone communicates the importance and significance God puts on the issue of resources and finances. He cares about our finances and what we choose to do and not do with them. As church leaders, we shouldn’t shy away from discussing spiritual disciplines related to financial stewardship. God wants us to be healthy and grow to maturity in all aspects of our lives! He knew our finances would be one of the most challenging areas to surrender control.
- Call Members to Generosity
While tithing is defined as a tenth of our first fruits, Jesus calls us to more! Scripture teaches us that everything, absolutely everything, we have is a gift from above and belongs to God. That being said, God being a generous God asks for just 10% to be given back to Him. He then expects us to manage the other 90% with discernment and wisdom. A true sign of spiritual maturity is understanding we can’t “out give” God, and He doesn’t need our money anyway. It has nothing to do with the almighty dollar and everything to do with trust, surrender and reliance on God. Giving is another way we express our worship to Him. Generosity expresses our love for His Kingdom.
- Creating a Culture Shift
As a church leader, it is our responsibility to create opportunities and provide resources for the Holy Spirit to work out the process in the life of the follower. This attitude shift doesn’t happen with a one-time sermon – it has to become woven into the life of the church. And be patient! Moving from “I have to tithe” to “I get to be generous” attitude is the most challenging, but also the most transformative part of understanding financial stewardship. Only God is capable of transforming a follower’s mind and heart, and He does it in His perfect time.
- Offer Tools
Most members want to be generous, but many feel that they can’t given the current state of their finances. Consider discipleship tools – financial freedom classes, budgeting, etc. – which will help create health in this area. Research shows that members free of personal debt are 4x more likely to tithe.
You have the unique opportunity to impact and shift the culture in your church. It first starts in the heart of the church leader, then the leadership staff, then overflows on the members. Remember it’s a process, a spiritual discipline to be developed and nurtured to maturity.
To watch Saddleback Church Pastor Chris Goulard’s full conversation around Creating Generous Financial Stewards on the PD Exchange, visit training.PD.church. To be a part of relevant discussions like this with other church leaders, head to PD.church/Exchange.