Spread the Stewardship Word pt. 1

Spread the Stewardship Word, Pt. 1

As a stewardship leader, you have been entrusted with the responsibility and privilege of sharing financial wisdom with your congregation. But how exactly do you do that? What are the means you can use to help “spread the word” about stewardship? How do you promote stewardship as more than just what your congregation puts in the offering plate each week?

Your church may offer some vehicles you can use to help educate your congregation about stewardship. Perhaps a page on your church’s website, a “stewardship tip of the month” in the church bulletin, or maybe a post on your church’s Facebook page might help spread the word. Remember that different generations in your church get their information through different means, so using multiple vehicles of communication is important.

Do you have an option to set up a Twitter account you could use to share stewardship wisdom 140 characters at a time? Have you come across some articles in our newsletter that you think would be helpful for your congregation?

Does your church make use of monitors or screens to show announcements before or after weekly services? Is there a bulletin board (yes, actual cork!) where you could post Biblical financial principles?

Some churches teach on stewardship or financial management yearly or every other year. Is there a way you could tie into that, either with a bulletin insert or maybe an announcement?

These are just a few ideas to get your own creative juices flowing. Look around at your church and note the most-used, most effective means of communication for your congregation. How can you make use of those?


Stewardship Transformation pt. 1: Limited or Liberated?

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?


Faith & Stewardship

Truths That Transform: Faith & Stewardship

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. — Hebrews 11:1

Thomas was the “Missouri apostle” – he wouldn’t believe the testimony of the other disciples who had seen the risen Christ unless he was shown. When they told him about having seen Jesus, he responded, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples and this time Thomas was present. In response to Thomas’s exclamation of worship, Jesus said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:24-29)

On one occasion, Jesus was approached by a centurion who asked him to heal his servant. Jesus offered to go to the centurion’s house, but the centurion declined, asking Jesus to simply say the word. “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.” The centurion didn’t need to see Jesus act or see the healing; he simply believed that Jesus had the authority and that if Jesus said it, it would be so. Jesus was amazed that the centurion’s faith: “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” It wasn’t just that the centurion had faith to ask Jesus for a miracle; he had the faith to believe even if he didn’t see the miracle right away.

This is the same kind of faith that Jesus charges us to display in the Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 6:8, he assures us that God knows what we need before we ask him. After showing us how to pray in faith (Matthew 6:9-13), he returns to the topic of faith, promising us that God will take care of our needs as we seek his kingdom. As a result, we need not worry (Matthew 6:25-33) – for worry is, indeed, the opposite of faith.

There are many ways in which faith applies to our stewardship. We believe by faith that God will take care of our needs, as Jesus promised. We believe the wisdom of the Bible – that as we apply stewardship principles to our lives, God blesses both our desire to honor him and the practices we put in place.

Sometimes, we’ll see immediate results from our obedient stewardship. These times are blessings, and they can help increase our faith by showing us that God does indeed keep his promises. But these times don’t require much of an exercise of faith. We exercise faith when we give part of our earnings to God, even though there are bills to be paid. We exercise faith by saving wisely but not trusting in those savings for our security.

Faith is being sure of God’s provision when we haven’t yet seen it. Faith is trusting in God’s wisdom as revealed in His Word, rather than in the advice of the world. Faith is storing up treasures in heaven, safe but unseen, rather than accumulating treasures on earth, where they are seen but not safe. Faith is committing our finances to God in prayer, and responding to His leading.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. –Hebrews 11:6

 


Prime Storage

February 2017 Good $ense Newsletter: Prime Storage

Dear Good $ense Friends,
Early last month, my husband, two little girls and I moved into our new home. In our nine years of marriage this was our 4th move and first move with two kids 3 and under. With each move (two being across the country) we purge, reduce, reconcile why we need to keep something. So while packing, purging and donating I kept asking how did we acquire so much stuff? We have two household rules that try to keep all the stuff to a minimum. Feel free to borrow, use and share these rules with those in your ministry.

First, if we get something new – maybe a toy, a book, clothes, a kitchen pan or furniture – the old one is given to a friend or donated to someone in need. This includes when we receive gifts during birthdays and holidays. Harsh? Actually, it works really well. Great habit and teachable moments for our girls.

Second, we don’t put anything on the floor in the garage and hang only the necessary tools for yard work or handy work on the walls. Our storage option in the lower Midwest, in a home without a basement, is the garage or attic. On purpose we chose to not purchase a home with more garages than we had cars. We don’t put anything in our attic minus holiday decorations. The fake Christmas tree takes up too much space in the garage!

As friends were coming over to help unpack boxes we heard the same questions over and over: This is all of your Tupperware? Where are your extra blankets? Why do you not have boxes of seasonal clothes? How are you already able to park your cars in the garage, don’t you need your garage for storage?

Down the road from my new neighborhood are 4 different brand new storage companies. Wow. These are places where when necessary or for a temporary time things in life need to be held. Sadly, more times than not, these will be filled with things that will never get used. Payments made every month to keep stuff just for keeping sake. It really breaks my heart how much time, how much money and how much effort goes into keeping up with our stuff. Is that really stewardship? Is that really wise?

There is a song playing on Christian radio lately by David Dunn, I Wanna Go Back. Lyrics talk about a simpler time in life namely childhood when there is so much freedom, faith and innocence. Several lyrics stand out to me:

Oooh, I wanna go back to Jesus loves me, this I know,
for the Bible tells me, for the Bible tells me so.
I wanna go back to this little light gonna let it shine,
gonna let it shine, I wanna go back.
When I was a kid, I didn’t care to keep up with the Joneses,
I was just happy that they lived next door.

Isn’t this the foundation of stewardship ministry, to just be happy that the Joneses live next door not worry about keeping up with them? Stuff is not bad. Having nice things is not bad.

I shared with my recent class of Raising Financially Freed Up Kids about Treasures in Heaven. How do we keep that childlike innocence about being happy about the Joneses next door? How do we impart scripture to our kids, students, those in our ministries?

Given my focus on stuff, I wonder what if we, especially those here in the United States, drilled home the verses of Matthew 6:19-21? “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Our team is praying this verse for you, for your ministry, for your church, for our world. May we only store our treasures up in heaven and be happy that the Joneses live next door.

Cheering you on,

Brooke Bartlow
Good $ense Movement
www.goodsensemovement.org
Transforming Finances!  Transforming Lives!
(844) Freed Up / (844) 373-3387 x701


Stories of Transformation