Creating A Culture of Stewardship
Why – Your Role
Creating a culture of stewardship within your church begins with our role as pastors is to lead and feed the congregation with God’s word.
“Feed My lambs.”
”Tend My sheep.”
”Feed My sheep.”
— Jesus’ words to Peter (John 12:15-19)
As pastors, we are called to take care of God’s flock. The lambs represent people who are young in their faith, and the sheep represent the more mature believers. Our heart should be to provide multi-tiered biblical teaching, where some of the content is meaty enough to challenge and disciple the mature believers, and some of the content is proper for engaging the new believer in God’s word personally.
Not only are we called to preach in a way that engages both lambs & sheep, but we are also called to preach the fullness of God’s word. The primary reason churches should disciple people in the area of Stewardship, is because God’s word is filled with Teaching in this area. The secondary reason is that we are called to teach all of God’s word.
- There are 2,000+ verses in the Bible related to Stewardship.
- 62 of the 89 chapters in the gospels include at least one stewardship principle.
- Stewardship is introduced in Genesis 1, and it is emphasized in every book of the Bible.
Why – Their Pain
Your people are struggling in this area of stewardship! You have the only life-changing prescription, God’s word. Biblical teaching leads to heart change, which leads to behavior change, and then to new outcomes. Jesus said that mammon would compete for our affections (Matt 6:24) and that the deceitfulness of riches would choke out the word of God (Mark 4:18).
Here are some of the symptoms of this pain your people are experiencing.
- 78% of people in the U.S. live paycheck to paycheck.
- 60% of people in the U.S. couldn’t pay for a $1,000 emergency.
- 54% of people report feeling anxiety around finances.
- 31% of couples clash over finances at least once a month.
Now imagine looking out as you’re preaching and seeing 54% of your people carrying anxiety and stress related to finances, while you’re holding a written letter from God filled with the answers they desperately need. I’m not saying you have to preach on it every weekend, but it certainly would make sense to tie in a few stewardship principles to every sermon series that will in turn help maintain a culture of stewardship.
Creating a Culture of Stewardship vs. Financial Programs
The goal is to develop a culture of Stewardship in your church, not just run a financial program. The ministry’s objective is long-term discipleship. You want to shift the entire culture to one where people are consistently walking out these principles in their lives. Anytime something unhealthy enters the church, your staff, and your volunteers can introduce God’s word to the situation to bring healing and restoration.
Creating a culture involves the following elements.
- Preaching – scripture-focused motivation from the platform.
- Teaching – engaging groups and programs that provide practical application tools.
- Celebration – highlighting stories of lives blessed by applying these principles.
- Application – paying off church debt, planning and budgeting expenses, generous giving.
Over time, your model will change. When one curriculum has run its course, you’ll introduce another. This is natural. The structure of the church will grow from simple organizational structures to complex models. Still, if you make this a part of your culture by applying the four elements above, you’ll experience healthy fruit for generations.
How to Start Creating a Culture of Stewardship
Start by reviewing the vision and culture of your church. Is Stewardship mentioned? Is it well-defined? You may need to start by adding the cultural value of Stewardship to your core language. Often this principle is laced into other cultural values of the church, so it’s easy to bring new life to the concept of Stewardship with a new language emphasizing its importance.
Once you’ve established the cultural value, preach a sermon series filled with God’s word on Stewardship or generosity. I recommend Beyond Blessed or The Blessed Life. Next, identify a key volunteer or staff member who can lead the charge of teaching stewardship either in groups or in classes. Start with a biblically based practical program to help people with budgeting and debt reduction. Check out the free resources at the end of this article.
I’ve personally seen the fruit of this ministry. Intentionally building a culture of Stewardship will bring new levels of health to your congregation and grow God’s kingdom on this earth. May God bless you on this journey!
David Thompson is the Executive Pastor of Worship and Production at Gateway Church in Southlake, TX. Before managing Worship, he curated the discipleship content for Gateway’s 14 campuses and lead the Stewardship Ministry at Gateway Church. He is also the founder of StewardshipPastors.com, a website dedicated to helping pastors implement stewardship ministry across the United States. He co-hosts a weekly personal finance podcast, Getting Money Right, with the heart to help people get financially free and pursue their true life’s purpose.