February 5, 2017

Stewardship Transformation pt. 1: Limited or Liberated?

Many in your congregation have probably made several starts at getting their finances in order. Some of them are discouraged at repeated failures to achieve their financial goals. When you speak of financial freedom to these disheartened brothers and sisters, they retreat to a place of defeat.

Many believers, after several well-intentioned efforts to move the needle on stewardship, have bought into what Michael Hyatt calls “limiting beliefs”. Examples of this type of belief are:

  • “I don’t make enough money to make ends meet and also give generously”
  • “I’ll never get out of debt”
  • “I have too many bills; I can’t set any money aside for savings”
  • “I can’t live on a budget”

These beliefs are typically based on past experience, but the past does not need to define the future. As a stewardship leader, one of the most effective ways you can assist your congregation on the journey to financial freedom is to help free them from the past.

This is where faith comes in. The believer has a tremendous advantage here over the non-believer: the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Paul tells us that it is for freedom that Christ has set us free (Galatians 5:1). He’s speaking here of freedom from the Jewish ceremonial law, but Christ has set us free from much more than that.

While this freedom is ours to claim, the believer must actually claim it to begin to live it. One way to do that, based on Hyatt’s research, is to replace the limiting beliefs that keep us enslaved with liberating truths that set us free. With reference to the above limiting beliefs, the corresponding liberating truths might be:

  • “I have enough resources to meet all my needs and also to give back to God”
  • “With discipline and planning, by God’s grace, I can get out of debt”
  • “God has provided enough for me to pay my bills and also to save wisely”
  • “I can create and live by a workable budget”

Merely repeating these statements like a mantra won’t make them come true, of course. This is not humanistic positive thinking. Rather, it’s an acknowledgment that there’s a difference between “I haven’t…” and “I can’t…”. For the believer, these liberating truths are expressions of faith in God and in his ability to provide. The past does not need to determine the future; faith teaches us to believe in what we cannot yet see.

What limiting beliefs are holding you and others in your congregation back from realizing all that God calls you to in the area of stewardship? What truths can help set you free?