June 2018 Good $ense Newsletter


Would you consider yourself someone who enjoys a surprise? Something like attending a surprise party, receiving an unexpected gift, running into someone you have not seen for a long time or the ultimate surprise—watching a family reunite after months apart? To be on the same page, I really like this definition of a surprise:

1. an unexpected or astonishing event, fact, or thing. “The announcement was a complete surprise”
2. shock, bolt from the blue, bombshell, revelation, rude awakening, eye-opener, wake-up call;
3. (informal) shocker

A shocker, a bombshell or a revelation. Those words stick out in my mind. God can surprise us in small ways or on a more grandiose scale. He surprises us in ways we don’t expect, in ways that only God can do, in shockers, bombshells or revelations.

Each year, as the Good Sense Movement team, we meet together to do a strategy weekend, our retreat. It’s fun, practical and gets our team calibrated on our goals for the upcoming year. This year, God surprised us and said we left something out of our planning. We had clearly identified our marketing group for the year as English-speaking North American churches to leverage the current resources we have in our inventory. God laughed and brought us 3 different International opportunities to impact people through Good Sense. Surprise!

  1. We are now available to host Freed-Up Coaches trainings world-wide.
  2. We are working with a group in Brazil to get GSM Brazil relaunched.
  3. We are also working with a missionary couple in Nicaragua using Good Sense Spanish resources to impact communities in country(*).

Talk about a God-sized surprise and revelation for our team! Please join us in praying for these new opportunities.

How is God surprising you in your ministry? How can we equip and pray for you?
Cheering you on!

Good Sense Movement Team

* To learn more about how God surprised us in Nicaragua, check out this story from La Semilla Ministries.

Good $ense Movement
Transforming Finances!  Transforming Lives!

Truths That Transform: The Steward’s Mindset (pt. 1)

God Created It All

When we think about stewardship, we often think in terms of how we manage God’s resources. And this is certainly an appropriate stewardship mindset. But stewardship doesn’t begin with us – it begins with God. God is the one who created the universe and who put us in place to manage his creation, including the resources he has provided. So we’ll begin this multi-part column on The Steward’s Mindset with an affirmation of what Scripture teaches us about God as our Creator.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” — Genesis 1:1
Genesis 1 tells us the story of creation, how God created the universe and specifically the earth and all life on earth. The story climaxes with his creation of man and woman:
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
Paul tells us specifically that Jesus was involved in creating all things: “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.” — Colossians 1:16.

Because God created us, he has the right to define the roles for which he designed us. He began this with Adam and Eve: “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground. ” — Genesis 1:28. God put Adam and Eve in charge of all the animals and gave them the garden to watch over. As part of this dominion, God gave Adam the task of naming the animals (Genesis 2:19-20).

Acknowledging God as our Creator and as the Creator of all things is the beginning of our concept of stewardship. All other developments in the mindset of a steward spring from this one truth. This is why it’s important to start our understanding of stewardship with recognition of God as our Creator; if he had not created us, what would be the source of his authority?

So we begin at the beginning, with God as Creator. Scripture goes on to affirm that Jesus “sustains all things by his powerful word.” (Hebrews 1:3). We owe God every breath we take. This is where stewardship begins.

A Better Stewardship Year, pt. 3

A Better Stewardship Year, pt. 3

Do you have goals for your stewardship ministry? What are you looking to accomplish as you promote stewardship values to your congregation? As we noted last newsletter, “If you aim at nothing, you’re sure to hit it.” So what are you aiming at in stewardship ministry this year?

Last year, we looked at Michael Hyatt’s framework for setting SMARTER goals. What might that look like as we think through potential goals for stewardship ministry?

First, SMARTER goals are Specific. A goal such as, “teach the congregation about stewardship” is too general. It doesn’t help us get to a plan. We can make a goal more specific with questions like What? and How? For example, we could replace a goal like this with a more specific one like, “Offer three classes on Financial Stewardship in our Sunday School curriculum”. This tells us what we will do to teach the congregation and how we will do it.

Second, SMARTER goals are Measurable. A goal is measurable if we can easily determine whether we’ve met the goal. Specific goals tend to be more measurable than general ones. In the above example, it might be difficult to determine if we effectively taught the congregation about stewardship; but it would be very easy to know whether or not we offered three stewardship classes in our Sunday School. Generally, numbers tend to make a goal measurable. “Develop stewardship leaders” will be very difficult to measure. But “train 5 stewardship coaches through the Good $ense coaching curriculum” is easy to measure.

Third, SMARTER goals are Actionable. They’re written in such a way as to indicate actions to be taken, using active verbs rather than passive verbs. A goal like “Help our congregation to be better stewards” doesn’t suggest any specific action. But a goal like “Preach a sermon about God’s ownership using the parable of the talents” gives a specific step to take.

Fourth, SMARTER goals are Risky.   Our goals should be difficult enough that they are worth celebration when we meet them. They should be goals that push us, not goals that we would accomplish just through normal course of events. For example, a goal of “Preach two sermons on stewardship” won’t be much of an accomplishment in a congregation where that already happens every year. But a goal like “Lead a group of stewardship class participants to reduce total debt by 25%” is the type of goal that will drive us to our knees in prayer, dependent on God for an outcome beyond our control. Risky goals are like that – they tend to emphasize outcomes more than actions.

Fifth, SMARTER goals are Time-bound. They have a target date. “Develop and offer a Bible study on stewardship” has no time limitation. As a result, it will likely never get done. But “create a Bible study on stewardship by June 30 and incorporate it into our small group curriculum for the new ministry season by August 31” puts a deadline on the goal that will help motivate us to accomplish it.

Sixth, SMARTER goals are Exciting. They’re goals that motivate us and keep our attention. They’re goals worth celebrating when we accomplish them – which is one of the reasons they need to be a bit “risky”.

Note that part of the excitement can be generated by setting milestone goals, helping us to stay motivated on the way to the larger goals. For example, a goal of “Coach 20 couples or individuals who are in significant debt” is a large goal. Milestones might include, “Train 5 financial coaches,” “Preach a sermon on the dangers of debt,” and “Offer a budgeting class.”

Finally, SMARTER goals are Relevant. They’re meaningful in our current context. For example, “Establish a year-round financial stewardship ministry” may not be relevant for a startup church dealing with issues like finding space to rent, hiring a pastor, etc.

Specific. Measurable. Actionable. Risky. Time-bound. Exciting. Relevant.

As you think about the current ministry season coming to an end and beginning planning for the new ministry season in the fall, what might some SMARTER stewardship ministry goals look like for your next ministry season?


Stories of Transformation