Stewardship Matters

In the mid-’90s, Paul Powell of the Annuity Board of the Southern Baptist Convention wrote a book titled “Taking the Stew Out of Stewardship.” While the book was well circulated, many pastors still find themselves in a “stew” regarding teaching and preaching about stewardship. Perhaps it is the fear of being misunderstood or having our motivations questioned. Many pastors shy away from teaching and preaching about our responsibility as managers of all of God’s resources. I have a pastor friend who confesses he will spend 15 minutes talking to his congregation about stewardship and 15 minutes apologizing for the previous 15 minutes. Sound familiar?

Having pastored for over 43 years, I know the tension of talking about money. D. L. Moody said, “Blessed are the money raisers, for in heaven they shall be next to the martyrs.” While the task is daunting, the Father has called us to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. Developing fully devoted followers of Christ includes teaching our folks to be obedient stewards.

Let me share with you six reasons stewardship matters.

Preaching & Teaching on Stewardship is Biblical – The Gospels charge us to give sacrificially (Mark 12:41-44). The apostle Paul admonishes us to give consistently (I Cor.16:2). Furthermore, the Biblical challenge is to give gregariously (IICor.9:7).

Preaching and Teaching on Stewardship is Foundational – For many, the missing element of the disciple-making process is a clear understanding of the Biblical expectations concerning our resources. Along with prayer, Bible study, witnessing, and fellowship, a comprehensive grasp and an unmistakable application of God’s ownership are vital for a fully devoted follower of Christ.

Preaching & Teaching on Stewardship is Profitable – In George Barna’s book “How to Increase Giving in Your Church.” He found that churches in which pastors preach…

  • Single messages about giving raise more money than churches in which no stewardship preaching takes place.
  • Two or more nonconsecutive messages do not have any advantage over churches that only preach on stewardship once a year.
  • Churches that hear two or more consecutive messages about stewardship raise more money than those that hear only one message yearly.
  • Churches in which pastors preach two or more consecutive messages about stewardship matters raise significantly more money than churches that hear two or more nonconsecutive stewardship messages.
  • A series on giving is nearly two and a half times more likely to experience an increase in giving than preachers who only talk about stewardship once a year or on two non-consecutive times in a year.

Preaching & Teaching on Stewardship is Sensible – Regardless of your preaching paradigm, preaching about stewardship can and should fit into your schedule of preaching. If you prefer a topical/textual approach, simply slot a message series into your preaching calendar. If you prefer a verse-by-verse, book-by-book method, then spend a few weeks between books to teach about God’s ownership and our responsibility. Many like to start the year off with a series on stewardship.

Preaching & Teaching on Stewardship is Educational – I was in a meeting recently with several ministers with advanced degrees, and not one of them felt their denomination or higher educational institutions had trained them well in this crucial field. What you learn about stewardship will come from outside the classroom; as you dive deeper, you will grow in understanding and appreciation of God’s provision. We have heard for years that Jesus says more about our possessions than any other topic. If this is true, we should be a student of that which Jesus deems significant.

Preaching & Teaching on Stewardship is Spiritual – When we teach our people what constitutes a Biblical mentality about ownership and management. We give them tools to combat the false God of materialism. Spiritual issues like supporting missions, assisting the poor, and preparing for the future can all be addressed as we shepherd the souls of our hearers.

Winston Churchill reportedly said, “You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give”. A life of generosity is both taught and caught. We owe it to our people to communicate the antidote for materialism, the joyful cycle of giving to receive to give even more. God owns everything; He simply allows us to manage a portion of His wealth.

Wendell Lang is the Director of Ministry Relations for WatersEdge. Wendell can be contacted at wlang@watersedge.com

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