The goal of Christian stewardship campaigns is to rally people to participate with God in His work through prayer, service, giving, and social interaction. Done right, campaigns build interpersonal and virtual community!
Because God’s Word contains no magic formula for success, how should we then lead? Research reveals that faithfulness to biblical teachings in three areas can help us position our church or ministry for fruitfulness.
(1) Leaders must live out the red letters
Many Bibles mark Jesus’ words with red letters. As leaders, we know them, but do we live them out? Recent findings of Chris Willard and Jim Sheppard show that generous ministries are led by generous leaders.
Last month, a pastor of a large church told me that for as long as he could remember, his church had insufficient funds to accomplish it mission locally, regionally, and globally. That is, until his “What if” series: “What if we actually did what Jesus said?” What if we lived out the red letters of Jesus.
In this teaching, the pastor preached the Word and shared aspects of his life that were inconsistent with Jesus’ teachings. For instance, he shared how he was guilty of storing up treasures in the wrong place (Matt 6:19-21). In repenting of his own foolishness, his church followed his example. Generosity starts with the leader.
(2) Organizations must put God’s resources to work
Most stewardship campaigns focus on what churches or ministries don’t have instead of what putting to work what they do have. If we only had more money… If we only had more square footage… Sound familiar?
If you feel you lack resources, remember the words of Adoniram Judson: “It is true that we may desire much more. But let us use what we have, and God will give us more.” Faithful stewardship is about putting God’s resources to work (Matt. 25:16) and trusting God to provide what is needed as the ministry grows.
Don’t look to money to grow your ministry, look to the Sustainer of all things (Col 1:17). Looking to money is described in antiquity as “the love of money” or “greed” which is idolatry (1 Tim 3:3; 6:10; Col. 3:5; Eph 4:5). Remember, as a steward leader, your role is to put God’s resources to work and leave the results to God.
(3) Stewards should be instructed to participate willingly from what they have
Consider how Paul approached the Corinthian church regarding their participation in the Jerusalem collection. In his first letter to them: he did not ask them to give, he directed them to take up a voluntary collection for their brothers and sisters who were in need (1 Cor. 16:1-4). All giving should be willing.
How much were they to give? “For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.” (2 Cor. 8:12). Participation in God’s work is not linked to percentages but to provision. If you’ve been blessed a little, give a little. If you’ve been blessed a lot, you get to give a lot!
Want to have a fruitful Christian stewardship campaign?
It starts with you. Are you giving willingly and generously from what you have? Because people will follow your lead, what does your example look like?
As an organization, are you putting God’s resources to work in accordance with the instructions in His Word? In so doing, your work may suffer, stagnate, or flourish. Only God only knows. Your role is to be a faithful steward.
Lastly, are you instructing stewards to participate willingly from what they have? If not, start today, because such giving is acceptable to God and helps people grow in the grace of giving.
If you haven’t signed up for the CLA National Conference in Anaheim – there’s still time. Be sure to check out the Intensive Training Institute (ITI). This year Gary Hoag, along with Chris McDaniel (Chief Business Development Officer – Delta Ministries) and Wes Willmer (SVP Advancement – Prison Fellowship Ministries), are teaching a full day session on How Authentic Leaders Maximize Generosity. Learn from their combined 70 years of practical experience. Register today!