The main reason why every pastor should teach about stewardship in their church is because, in my opinion, ‘being a good and faithful steward’ defines who we are as Christians.
To start with, a biblical understanding of stewardship is founded on understanding that God is the creator and owner of all things.
In Genesis 1:26-28 we read how God created humankind in his own image and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
As Christians we don’t really own anything – we have been entrusted with resources, skills, money and time to be used for God’s purposes. In 1. Corinthians 4:1 we are also described as ‘stewards of Christ and of the mysteries revealed to us.’ (‘stewards of the gospel.’)
If being a steward is an essential part of our identity as followers of Christ, then every church leader should teach and encourage their congregation to understand what being a good steward entails and practice it in their lives.
Here are five reasons why every church leader should teach stewardship in their church, which we will explore in more detail at our webinar on the 13th of July
1. God calls us to become good and generous stewards
Turn to Deuteronomy 14:22-15:18 and there you will find an array of commands God gives his people on how to enjoy material delights, how to worship by bringing the ‘first fruits’ to him, and how to show compassion to the poor and the needy.
Turn to the New Testament and you will see that about half of Jesus’ parables focus on the use of material resources to further God’s purposes and it has been said that Jesus talks about money five times more than he talks about prayer.
These observations point to one thing: growing in generosity in every area of our lives is the hallmark of being a disciple of Jesus.
Any church leader who wants to stay true to the teachings of the Bible cannot avoid teaching and encouraging congregation members to become good and generous stewards.
2. Generous stewards sustain the church’s mission
Think for a moment about the multi-purpose church buildings that host a wide range of outreach activities, or the rural churches that are the beating heart of a community. Consider the work of countless pastors, church planters, youth workers and missionaries who take the gospel to deprived areas or remote parts of our world.
All these things happen because of the sacrificial giving of time, skills and finances of God’s people past and present.
Churches and Christian charities are able to carry out their valuable mission work and to turn their vision into reality because many people of faith make giving to God a priority in their lives.
3. Good stewards enable the church to grow and thrive
In my experience, once members of a congregation understand what biblical stewardship is and commit themselves to give generously, churches often see an increase in giving.
When church leaders teach consistently about stewardship and give their congregations opportunities to practice generosity, a church may see a 10%-20% increase in giving in response to specific projects
Over time, churches that regularly teach and practice good stewardship of their resources are likely to see a 5%-10% increase in giving compared to churches that fail to teach on this topic.
4. Teaching on stewardship can increase engagement in church activities
Without a biblical perspective on stewardship, many churches fail to get the majority of their congregation to volunteer their time, skills and resources. Few people are likely to volunteer to lead outreach activities and the majority of the congregation turns into a ‘collective consumer’ of Bible teaching and fellowship.
However, in churches that embrace a biblical perspective of stewardship, every member is invited and encouraged to share their time and skills in different areas of church’s ministry.
By teaching stewardship as a way of life church leaders can see new expressions of mission and ministry spring up as congregation members begin to invest more of their time, skills and resources into local mission.
5. Teaching stewardship can aid the spiritual growth and prayer life
Before focusing on any other activity, a good steward surrenders more of their life to God. Those who truly hear and understand the call to being faithful stewards of everything God has entrusted to them are likely to spend more time in reading the Bible, in prayer and other faith enrichment activities.
Why? - Because they realise that they cannot be good stewards of God’s provisions if they do not take the time to establish a closer relationship with God and seek his guidance. Their giving becomes a joyful expression of their unconditional love for God – which is the ultimate purpose of giving.
Join me on the 13th of July at 10:00 for a day of inspiring and insightful biblical reflections and practical discussions on how to teach stewardship and grow generous stewards in your local church.