The first place Oklahoma Baptists need to think of when we think of giving to fulfill the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) is the local church. With that in mind, I would like to share with you some principles that will aid pastors in leading their church members to take their stewardship to the next level.
The following steps are reprinted from the guide Next Level Stewardship: Developing a Stewardship Culture in the Local Church. This guide highlights five simple steps that will assist your church in elevating biblical stewardship.
Pray. When you don’t know how to articulate a subject then pray about it. Pastors who lead their congregations to pray demonstrate a desperate dependence upon God “. . . because your Father knows what you need before you ask Him” (Matt. 6:8). The most important step of increased giving is when a congregation comes before the Lord asking Him for guidance in biblical stewardship. Scripture teaches that “we have not because we ask not” (James 4:2). The church must begin by turning to God in prayer, asking Him to send a spirit of true stewardship. We should place our needs intentionally and explicitly before God—including praying over the weekly offering and praying over special financial needs. He is a good Father and will provide.
Plan. Churches that do stewardship well focus on it more than just a couple of weeks in the fall. A year-round strategy to help church members learn that stewardship is not about how the church pays its bills, but it’s about lordship and understanding everything belongs to God. Regardless of the size, whether 50 members or 500 members, each church should have a comprehensive giving plan. The plan should cater to the needs and the calling of the local church. Church members want to see a manifestation of their giving.
Promote. Keeping biblical stewardship in front of the congregation has to be intentional and creative. One of the basic communication principles is that a person has to hear about a concept 17–18 different times and seven-eight different ways before they truly hear it the first time. Repetition is key. The more you communicate stewardship the more people internalize it. Pastors must have a genuine excitement in communicating biblical stewardship.
Preach. We know from research that pastors who preach on stewardship experience increased giving. Stewardship is not just a biblical discipline, but it is a godly characteristic. Generosity is the fruit that results from a church whose members remain in Christ. Stewardship should be interwoven into all sermons, but frequently focusing on the discipline of stewardship will fortify the commitment of the church and its members.
Practice. A basic leadership principle is: “People don’t do what you say; they do what you do.” The pastor must practice biblical stewardship and hold leaders in the local church accountable to doing the same. James reminds us, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only. . .” (James 1:22). Pastors must provide regular opportunities for the congregation to practice generosity and recommit to biblical stewardship.
Here are some other helpful resources: Pastor’s Stewardship Education Kit
The above steps will be helpful to any pastor who wants to use stewardship education to develop a culture of generosity in their church. Oklahoma Baptists have recently gathered a collection of additional stewardship resources, the Pastor’s Stewardship Education Kit, which will be useful for this purpose.
Pastors who are looking for ideas for promoting stewardship in their church will appreciate the Pastor’s Stewardship Education Kit. The kit includes eBooks, PowerPoint presentations, promotional tools and sermon starter ideas:
- Next Level Stewardship: A planning guide and full PowerPoint presentations for you to use cultivate a stewardship culture in your church.
- Practical Ideas for Stewardship Promotion: Scores of easy-to-use ideas you can use right now to keep stewardship in front of your members.
- Ten Percent: Theologically sound stewardship counsel and sermon starter ideas for your pulpit.
- It’s a New Day: A full financial freedom curriculum to help church members better manage their personal finances.
Visit oklahomabaptists.org/cp/stewardship-kit to download the Pastor’s Stewardship Education Kit