God created everything. He formed us in His own likeness and charged us with managing His creation. All of this is God’s, and so are we: Our time, our finances, our abilities. All of it belongs to Him.
Imagine if we submitted all we have to God’s ownership, plan and purpose. When we really live our lives that way, things change. We become grateful, not discontent. We become generous, not greedy. It changes how we serve, how we give, how we use our time and our passions. It changes everything.
Imagine the influence the church would carry if we lived this way. People engage, ministries thrive, lives and cultures are transformed. People begin to take notice and see the glory of God working through our lives.
This is stewardship, and it was the subject of the 2016 Stewardship Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. About 500 pastors and other ministry leaders gathered to understand the power of stewardship and learn about its transformative potential if churches took it to heart.
Speakers like Dave Ramsey, Chris Brown, Pete Wilson, Perry Noble, Todd Mullins and others painted a picture of possibility around stewardship and invited attendees to join them on the journey. If you missed it, here are the top nine stewardship principles you need to know from the conference.
1. One annual giving sermon isn’t going to cut it.
“I thought if I preached on money one time, it would be enough. As pastors, we have the curse of knowledge. We think that people in the church know what we know. But when they think we’re losing our minds is when they’re finally getting it.” — Perry Noble, senior pastor, NewSpring Church, Anderson, South Carolina
2. Building wealth and earning money aren’t evil.
“Redistribution of wealth isn’t the culture of Abraham, it’s the culture of Hebron. But our prayers shouldn’t be for God to give us more money. They should be for God to give us more people to serve. And the money we earn is a certificate of good performance. It is proof that you are taking care of God’s other children.” — Rabbi Daniel Lapin, author of Thou Shall Prosper
3. Faith and finances aren’t mutually exclusive.
“When it comes to stewardship, it’s not either-or. It’s both-and. Just as in any ministry, you have the practical side and the spiritual side. It takes both. Even if there are no Scriptures telling you whether to make certain financial decisions, there are principles in the Bible that will guide you.” — Todd Mullins, senior pastor, Christ Fellowship, West Palm Beach, Florida
4. In church leadership, effectiveness—not efficiency—is the goal.
“From a standpoint of a senior leader’s stewardship of his team, effectiveness and efficiency are two different things. Efficiency is when you’re trying to figure out the best use of a team member’s time. But effectiveness is empowering a team member so they can develop. As a senior pastor, when you’re doing more than you should, you’re actually robbing someone else of development, of their being able to rise to the next level. You’re supposed to use tasks to develop them, not use them to do tasks.” — Chris Brown, speaker and pastor
5. At its core, stewardship is about discipleship.
“I don’t think you can do discipleship well without stewardship. It’s one thing to be preaching about it, and it’s another thing to be teaching about it, to have the tools in place to have our church grow in that area. A healthy stewardship ministry will spiritually transform your church. And as a by-product, it will also release generosity. But the trick is to not have the cart before the horse. If you look at a stewardship ministry as a way of paying your bills or raising money for a building, you’re going about it wrong. That is not a stewardship ministry. It will raise some money for you, don’t get me wrong. But you’ll have a lot more money and you will grow your church a lot better if you go in with the attitude of helping people grow.” — Chris Goulard, stewardship pastor, Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, California, and board member of Christian Stewardship Network
6. Spiritual conviction and relationships are the strongest motivators for high capacity givers.
“The truly spiritual will trust the leadership. They’ll give to the leadership. So if they trust the senior pastor, they’re going to give recognizing it’s going to be used well. Their belief system and their conviction will drive the right behavior.” — Ron Blue, financial expert and author
7. Stewardship ministry is horizontal.
“Stewardship ministry is not a vertical ministry. Every single ministry and person in the church is touched by the challenge to develop a healthy and spiritual relationship to money. The way we can be most effective as stewardship leaders is to partner with every single ministry within the church. It’s an opportunity to begin to not only change the culture of the church but to change the individual attitudes of your people about stewardship. That leads to increased spiritual vitality, because you have a biblically based relationship to money.” — Dave Briggs, stewardship pastor, Central Christian Church, Phoenix, Arizona, and board member of Christian Stewardship Network
8. Pastors need to model generosity.
“You have to tell your giving story. The number-one predictor of a generous church is whether it has a generous pastor. I feel that in the past, I haven’t been strategic enough in telling people how generosity has played out in my own life. Every time I teach on giving now, I try to tie it back to my personal story in some way.” — Pete Wilson, senior pastor, Cross Point Church, Nashville, Tennessee
9. You need to know about the Christian Stewardship Network.
“If you’re going to get involved in the stewardship space, you need to be part of Christian Stewardship Network. It’s a necessity, because they’re on the forefront of an entire movement. If you want to learn about tactical stewardship—boots on the ground stuff that’s really working—these guys know more on their little finger than most people put together in North America.” — Dave Ramsey
Are you ready to make stewardship a part of your church’s culture? Learn how Momentum can help your congregation or talk to one of our stewardship advisors by calling 877.378.2667 and they’ll help you get started.