If your congregation is like most, you have people in different places financially. This was true before the pandemic, and is potentially heightened now by economic uncertainties. You likely have some folks who are stressed out, struggling to meet their monthly bills, and wondering how they’re going to get through the month. You probably have others who are making it from month to month but are in unrealized danger because they’re not being intentional enough with their money. And you likely have others who are blessed with relatively abundant resources but aren’t maximizing the impact of their situation.
In other areas of discipleship, you probably recognize that people at different places in their spiritual journey need different approaches and emphases. The same is true when it comes to financial discipleship. People at different places in their financial journey need different kinds of help, instruction, and accountability. The person struggling with debt gets no value out of a course on investment strategies. The person with abundant resources probably doesn’t need tips on how to execute a debt reduction plan.
How are you serving them?
How completely is your stewardship ministry serving your congregation? Are you focused on just one segment of the congregation (say, those who are struggling with debt)? Or are you addressing individuals and families in different financial places? Does your stewardship ministry produce real disciples in the area of Biblical stewardship from people in all different places financially?
In this newsletter, we’ll address three common situations in which people find themselves financially. We’ll look at their key motivations, their most pressing needs, and the spiritual growth that each area calls for. And we’ll give you some tools to help people realize what state they are in and to help them wrestle with what good stewardship looks like in that situation.
God calls all of us to Biblical standards of stewardship. But exactly what that looks like differs in different circumstances. Jesus told the rich young man to sell everything and give to the poor, then come and follow him; but he made no such demand of Zacchaeus, who nonetheless demonstrated Biblical stewardship in his own way (compare Matthew 19:16-22 with Luke 19:1-9).
Stewardship means being faithful with God’s resources in whatever situation we’re in. We can be faithful stewards (or not) in the midst of debt. We can be faithful stewards (or not) in the midst of plenty. Faithfulness in stewardship is not so much about where we are financially, but more about being obedient with God’s resources in that situation.