Stewardship and the Persistent Pastor

Pulpit ministry is ongoing.  So are caring ministries, worship, and educational classes.  Why can’t stewardship ministry function as a continuous thread throughout the congregational life calendar as well?   It can, but it often does not because this particular ministry is not embraced as a top priority for leaders (for my thoughts on the prioritization and planning of stewardship ministry, read my previous blogs on these topics).  Upon the decision to prioritize and plan, senior pastors and elders will need to adopt and lead with one more trait:  Persistence. 

Church stewardship development can’t be redefined, rebuilt, relaunched, and reworked with a few steps or with the introduction of one new generosity initiative.  Time must be your friend—meaning you have to stick with it and identify small advancements over time.  Quite possibly the new, younger stewardship committee did not bring in the level of funds all hoped they would during the recent annual stewardship campaign.  Frustration identified.  However, also celebrate the fact that this young demographic agreed to lead the effort, period.  And, in the last few weeks, I have had a few pastors from churches openly discuss the fact they preached more generosity sermons in 2014 than any previous year in ministry.  However, they are somehow disappointed with themselves, as they thought more sermons would produce much more giving than was realized.  My commentary to these pastors is to build from this.  The fact that more sermons were preached on the topics of generosity and stewardship is a good starting place. This is advancement.  Keep with it.

More sermons, possibly sermons with more depth/challenges on the topic of stewardship, new faces on committees, an improved annual report, etc., are all good strategies to implement for the fostering of a regular stewardship ministry.  There is more to do, more people to involve, more discerning ahead.  Keep going. Be persistent with stewardship development.  Read another book on the topic.  Persist.

Fast forward 3 years from now.  You have faithfully given your leadership, creativity, and time to stewardship ministry for 36 consecutive months.  Other leaders have contributed to the effort as well.  A stewardship committee has been meeting each month over this period and has been executing a 3 year plan to strengthen stewardship in the congregation.  What do you think will have happened as a result of such work and persistence?  I have an idea.  I hope your mind envisions the possibilities as well.

Are you ready for your next step?  Remember, you can’t do this alone.  I share this mantra in most of what I write.  You need a cast of characters to help you rewrite this story.  Share your 3 year stewardship vision with others.  Ask them to persist with you.  Establish short term goals and persist.  I have another idea: Pray with these people.  Pray and pray again.  Allow our generous God to do this work through your strategizing, planning, and formation.  After all, it is the will of God we hope for and pray will chart the course.

Go.

Collaborate.

Persist.

Pray.

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