Posted: Sep 29

Stewardship Begins with God's Abundance & Our Response to It

By JR Lander

I was recently sitting in a meeting of stewardship and development leaders in the Church. In the midst of this meeting, it became clear to me that we as the Church too often see the words ‘stewardship’, ‘development’ and ‘fundraising’ as synonyms. By doing so, we do a disservice to ourselves and to the important work of all three.

As we are an organization that defines ourselves with the word ‘stewardship’, I hope to parse out at least my understanding of what is distinctive about ‘stewardship’ ministry. Stewardship includes aspects of development and fundraising, but the work of stewardship is much more expansive.

Stewardship is living out our lives with the belief that all we are and have is God’s, entrusted with us to share.

  • Stewardship includes vocational discernment.

  • It includes care of creation.

  • It includes formation of our young people.

Yes, stewardship does include aspects of development and fundraising. But the starting point for the stewardship conversation is the individual recognizing that we need to share what God has given us. The starting point for stewardship is not the need and mission of the institution.

giving-hands---copy.jpgI often say that I will not see TENS as meeting our mission if we only get people giving more money to their churches. We are about generosity. We are about encouraging people to live with their money in a way that is rooted in our faith, and our understanding of God’s abundance. We do teach, and financial stewardship leadership must include, compelling statements for the Church’s needs, fiscal transparency, and treating givers with respect.  But…

Stewardship begins not with the mission of the church, nor the needs of its institution, but rather with God’s abundance and our response to it.