Greetings in Christ!
Today I’d like to talk about why I felt the need to establish this blog and part of my calling here on earth.
As you may or may not be aware, God has designed us for financial freedom, and there is a tremendous need for churches to educate and assist people with managing their resources in God-honoring ways.
Unfortunately, many pastors feel unprepared and ill-equipped to teach and train others in biblical stewardship. A survey by the Christian Stewardship Association revealed that fewer than 10 percent of seminaries offered a course on biblical stewardship and few of those were required. In addition, money expertise is not a central focus for most pastors—if it was, they would be in a field other than ministry. Combine the lack of preparation and knowledge with the typically modest income of most pastors, and it’s easy to understand why many feel intimidated and hesitant.
One other issue that dominates the discussion of money in the church, especially in the more independent and “emergent” churches, is the fear of being seen as money-grubbing and greedy by their congregations. This fear is often based on a long history of the church being legalistic about tithing and rather forceful in their gaining God’s provision for their tabernacles.
These fears must be abandoned if we are to learn God’s true purpose for our finances. That is the reason I spent the time and research to create a Stewardship-based financial seminar, specifically for church members that focuses on following God’s plan for their finances as set out in the Bible.
The benefits of a stewardship-focused program to help church members take control of their finances are incredible. Not only can church members find relief from the crushing stress and anxiety caused by consumer debt, restore marriages torn by conflict over money, and heal the wounded self-esteem and shattered confidence resulting from poor financial decisions, but also discover and learn to avoid the stumbling blocks to spiritual growth that financial issues often cause. Dick Towner, from Willow Creek Community Church, refers to this as transformational stewardship. The result is a congregation whose finances—and lives—are characterized by grace, joy and freedom.
According to researcher George Barna, “There are five significant barriers to more generous giving:
- Some people lack the motivation to give away their hard-earned money because the church has failed to provide a compelling vision for how the money will make a difference in the world. These are donors who can find other uses for their money and are not excited about simply handing money over to a church.
- The second group, he continued, are those who see their giving as leverage on the future. They withhold money from the church because they do not see a sufficient return on their investment.
- The third segment is comprised of people who do not realize the church needs their money to be effective. Their church has done an inadequate job of asking for money, so people remain oblivious to the church’s expectations and potential.
- The fourth group is composed of those who are ignorant of what the Bible teaches about our responsibility to apply God’s resources in ways that affect lives.
- The final category contains those who are just selfish. They figure they worked hard for their money and it’s theirs to use as they please. Their priorities revolve around their personal needs and desires.
While there is not much that can be done to help first, second, and fifth groups, a large portion of your congregation will be impacted simply by being educated on the Biblical purpose God intends for their finances and the need for proper stewardship, not only in support of their local church ministries, but to open themselves to more of God’s intended blessings for their lives and the lives of those around them.
A proper stewardship ministry must include three important elements: teaching the what and why, training in the how, and providing support and encouragement.