Articles to help you develop and lead your stewardship ministry, and stewardship tips you can pass on to your congregation.
What is a Stewardship ministry?
A stewardship ministry is a ministry program that teaches your congregation Biblical principles of financial stewardship and equips them to put these principles into practice.
A stewardship ministry is different from a benevolence ministry (though the two can work together) in that the goal of a stewardship ministry is discipleship, while the goal of a benevolence ministry is more about aid in crisis. A benevolence ministry might help people in crisis get “over the hump”; but a stewardship ministry will equip them with Biblical principles and practical tools to help them stay out of crisis over the long run.
Why do I need a Stewardship ministry?
Your congregation is learning financial principles from someone. Perhaps it’s marketers, whose goal is to create discontentment in order to get people to buy things. Or maybe it’s financial planners with an emphasis on continuous acquisition and wealth-building. Or possibly it’s stores and credit card companies with their enticements to enjoy something now and pay for it later.
Whoever it is, it’s not very likely that they’re teaching Biblical financial principles. Instead, the culture pulls your congregation in exactly the opposite direction of the mind and heart of God when it comes to finances. A stewardship ministry counters this pull with direct instruction from God’s Word and practical tools to put that teaching into practice.
Is Stewardship that important?
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that our hearts follow our treasure (Matthew 6:21). This statement may be surprising – we would think that we’d put our treasure where our hearts already are. But often, the decision about where we put our treasure conditions our hearts, rather than the other way around.
So if you’re looking to develop a congregation of disciples who walk closely with God, grow in the character of Jesus, and make other disciples, Biblical stewardship can set them on that course. Because Biblical stewardship teaches that it’s all about God, not about us – and isn’t that the basic tenet of discipleship as well?
From a practical standpoint, think of it this way: if half of your congregation is struggling with debt, how much opportunity do they have for service and generosity? How can they help meet the needs of others in the congregation? At the other end of the spectrum, if the folks in your congregation who are well-off are concerned only about their own retirement and “building bigger barns”, how is that helping them to become better disciples?
Who is a Stewardship ministry for?
This is like asking, who should we be equipping as disciples and disciple-makers; the answer is, Everyone! Those in financial crisis can find instruction and tools to get to a place of stability. Those who are not living intentionally with their finances can gain clarity on this key area of discipleship. Those who are more affluent can discover the joy of making an impact for God’s Kingdom.
In all of these places, people are constantly choosing whether to serve God or money (Matthew 6:24). A stewardship ministry can equip them with Biblical principles to help them consistently choose to serve God with their finances – whether with little or with much.
In addition to the benefits to any individual, a stewardship ministry can help equip your congregation in key life stages. It can help couples get on the same page in what is often the most stressful area of their marriages. It can help parents train their kids in Biblical financial principles. It can provide teaching and even coaching for those who are struggling financially.
How is Stewardship different from giving?
Many believers equate stewardship with giving, but giving is only part of it. Stewardship is about all that we do with the resources God has provided, including earning, giving, saving, spending, and debt.
Stewardship starts from the place of understanding that God created and owns all things, and that he has entrusted resources to us to manage for him (see the Parable of the Talents, Matthew 25:14-30). Part of that management is, of course, giving. But teaching about giving outside the context of stewardship misses much of the truth of Scripture and also can miss the mark practically. For example, it’s hard for those who are saddled with debt to consider tithing, no matter how much emphasis is placed on this from the platform.
The mindset of stewardship is one of contentment and gratitude for what God has provided, as well as trust in God to continue providing for our needs. As a result, believers are freed from the grip of serving money, because security and contentment are found in God, not in money. Stewardship teaches us to put our treasures in heaven and to serve God rather than money (Matthew 6:21-24). The stewardship mindset encourages believers to honor God with all of their resources, not just what they give to the church.
Stewardship ministry is about what we want for people – financial freedom, transformed finances and lives, treasures in heaven – not what we want from them.
How is Good Sense different from other stewardship training programs?
First, Good Sense programs are designed to offer a balance of solid Biblical teaching combined with practical tools. It’s not just verses to memorize with no practical application and it’s not financial advice with the occasional Scripture verse thrown in.
Second, Good Sense programs are designed to engage the entire congregation, not just those struggling with debt. We believe that stewardship is for all believers, and we offer programs that challenge and encourage believers in every financial situation. Additionally, with specific programs for parents and for training coaches, we can make a difference church-wide.
Finally, Good Sense values a grace-filled approach. Some other programs heap judgment on people already burdened with significant financial stress. We believe that God’s grace applies in all situations, including finances. So we emphasize hope for the future rather than judgment for the past.
What programs does Good Sense offer?
Our newest addition, the FreedUp app, is a stewardship training program for the entire congregation. It includes resources for small groups and couples and can be launched as a small group initiative or a church-wide program, with optional resources for weekend services. Currently available in the United States and Canada.
For churches outside the United States and Canada, Freed-Up Financial Living is an online program designed to teach the basics of Biblical stewardship. Built on the same Scriptural framework as the FreedUp app, this program will guide participants through the Biblical foundations and practical steps to create a Spending Plan that honors God with their finances. The program can be used individually or as part of a small group.
Training Good Sense Coaches will help your church to equip financial coaches to guide people from financial stress to stability. Coaches will learn how to develop and sustain encouraging relationships that form the basis for a coaching process that’s both Biblical and practical. A perfect complement to the FreedUp app! This is an online program that can be taken either individually or as part of a team.
Raising Financially Freed-Up Kids will equip parents in your congregation to train their children in Biblical financial principles. The program includes age-appropriate activities for parents of children ages 4-18. The course is workbook-based and best experienced in an in-person setting.
How can I take Good Sense programs for a test drive?
Our FreedUp app is available for download for iOS or Android formats. You can download the app and work through the first module for free, then decide if this is a program that would benefit your church. For other options, book a call with one of our Good Sense consultants.
Our church meets virtually. How can we make use of Good Sense programs?
Most Good Sense programs are online or app-based, so they can be used anywhere and don’t require people to be in the same room. In fact, the pilot group for our new FreedUp app was an all-virtual small group! Because of the online nature of our programs, participants can learn at their own pace or at the pace of a small group going through the programs together.
How can I get more information about Good Sense?
We’d love to consult with you to design a program that works for your church! Our FreedUp app and program is perfect for empowering your entire congregation toward God-honoring stewardship – not just those deeply in debt! And for those who need additional help, we can help you train financial coaches to walk alongside them with Biblical principles and practical tools.
Every church is different. Whether you’re looking for a program to launch through your small group ministry, an all-church launch with weekend service materials, or guidance for equipping specific ministries like benevolence or marriage, we’re here to help! Click below to book a call with one of our Good Sense consultants.
Book a call with a Good Sense consultant using the button at the bottom of this page!