If you’re like most stewardship ministry leaders – whether paid staff or volunteer – you’re probably thinking about the new ministry season and how you can maximize the fruitfulness of the stewardship ministry in your church this year. Over the next few months, we’ll offer in this column some tips to maximize the fruit from your church’s stewardship ministry.
The first key is prayer. As we indicated in our Stewardship Conversation article in this month’s newsletter, churches that disciple people well in anything – including stewardship – are churches that pray. We can teach, encourage, and provide accountability – but only God can mold hearts to see stewardship as He sees it and to respond faithfully. Here are a few areas to serve as thought-starters for prayer.
Faithful hearts. Ask God to grant your congregation faithful hearts desiring to honor him financially. If you know individuals in your congregation who are struggling financially, pray especially for them.
Direction and wisdom. Ask God to show you where He is already moving in your congregation in the area of stewardship. Is there a particular ministry, age group, or other demographic where He seems to be bringing conviction and a desire for life-change? Our ministries are always the most fruitful when we’re coming alongside God in areas where He is already working, rather than trying to set the direction ourselves.
- Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. — Proverbs 19:21
- If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. — James 1:6
Favor. Ask God to grant the stewardship ministry favor in the eyes of church leadership. As a stewardship leader, you want to be “rowing the boat” along with your church leadership, rather than stroking alone or even against the prevailing rhythm. Often, church leaders have many things on their minds and there are typically many priorities competing for attention. Ask God to put the right level of emphasis on the stewardship ministry in the eyes of church leadership – and then trust that He’s doing just that!
Congregation. There are many ways to pray for your congregation in the area of stewardship. In fact, this may be the single most important contribution you can make to those in your congregation who are struggling financially. They need instruction, encouragement, and the right tools – but more than anything else, they need God’s work in their lives. Pray for:
- Hearts open to God’s direction in the area of stewardship
- Protection from the pull of the culture, from materialism
- Wisdom in making sound financial decisions
- Conviction when changes are needed in attitudes and practices
Obviously, these are just a few of the many ways you can pray. It’s been said that “When a man works, man works; when a man prays, God works.” God is in the business of winning battles we could never hope to win (check out 2 Chronicles 20 for one of many examples!).
- Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. — Proverbs 16:3.