December 1, 2018

Make it Happen (pt. 2)

Last year, we applied Michael Hyatt’s “Best Year Ever” teaching in a context of personal stewardship.  This year, we’ve taken that a step further by applying those concepts to the creation and maintenance of a stewardship ministry in a church.  Last month, we looked at six key steps toward realizing the goal of an effective stewardship ministry; this month, we’ll look at the remaining six key steps. Note that these are not necessarily in chronological order, but are different steps to take to stay on the path.

  • Share your goals selectively.  Find a small group of people to be your “tribe” – people who share the vision for a stewardship ministry, who will pray for the ministry and for your efforts in it, who will encourage you in the midst of obstacles, and who will hold you accountable for your commitments.  Share your goals with this group and get them praying!
  • Maintain forward momentum.  Build on completed actions and realized goals to establish new plans.  Follow-up with class participants after a class and ask them what would benefit them as a next step. Keep stewardship ministry in front of your church’s leadership. Don’t rest on the laurels of a completed class! Pray about and plan for your next steps.
  • Plan for contingencies and obstacles.  Any ministry runs into obstacles, and more so with effective ministries (our enemy wouldn’t bother much with ministries that aren’t producing fruit).  Take stock of your church’s culture, leadership, and spiritual maturity and plan for any obstacles that might arise in these – or other – areas.  Can I make a recommendation?  Read through the book of Nehemiah and note the obstacles he anticipated and encountered in the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s wall, and how he prepared for them and responded to them.
  • Ask for help if you need it.  Who are we kidding – of course you need help!  If stewardship ministry were easy, someone would have flipped a switch long ago and it would now be humming along smoothly.  First, you need God’s help – so spend plenty of time in prayer.  And don’t just submit your plans to God – actively seek his plans.  Second, you need the help of others.  We’ve already talked about a tribe of supporters, but depending on how the ministry evolves, you need class facilitators, financial coaches, and admin support.  Ask God to lead you to the people that he has gifted and prepared for this ministry.
  • Pivot if you need to.  Being committed to goals is a good thing, but the strategy to reach those goals should be kept flexible.  What’s working?  What isn’t?  What haven’t you tried yet?  For example, maybe you run a well-attended Free-Up Financial Living class and you plan to follow that up with Freed-Up From Debt.  But suppose a number of young couples come to you and indicate a need for some help with raising up their children to be responsible stewards.  Don’t get so caught up in your plans that you can’t respond to needs as God reveals them.
  • Celebrate your wins.  Did you have a fruitful class, with observable life-change as a result? Did one of your financial coaches make a significant difference in the lives of a couple she counselled?  Did you get agreement from church leadership on a key teaching series regarding stewardship?  Celebrate!  First, give God all the glory, then celebrate with your tribe and key volunteers.  Don’t let these wins get by without calling attention to the fruit that God has given – this will both glorify Him and encourage your people.
  • As you pursue stewardship ministry, clear goals, effective strategies, and commitment to planning and execution are key.  But even more key is being led by God in the direction He wants you to go.  Above all, seek God’s guidance every step of the way.  Remember, at heart, this is God’s ministry, not yours or your church’s.  No one cares more about fruitful stewardship on the part of God’s people than God Himself!