When we think of stewardship, our minds typically turn to giving. That’s because the Church tends to equate these two terms.

But stewardship is more than just generosity. Stewardship starts with a foundational recognition that all we have belongs to God. As a result, whether we’re spending, saving, or giving, we’re doing it all with God’s resources. God isn’t interested only in what goes in the offering plate (physical or virtual).

By conflating stewardship with giving, the Church creates a false dichotomy between what belongs to God and what belongs to us. And by focusing narrowly on giving, we end up challenging our people to give without equipping them with the intentionality of stewardship that can set them up for generosity. We make stewardship about supporting the church’s programs rather than about discipleship and growing a heart for God.

Podcast host James Lenhoff challenges church leaders to see and teach stewardship holistically and to frame generosity in the context of a steward’s mindset.