Building Your Stewardship Ministry Vocabulary

On those occasions when stewardship is the topic of conversation in your church community, what are some of the familiar words spoken?  Words like giving, generosity, and budgeting come to mind.  You might think of a few others similar to those as well.  Stewardship ministry introduces words, their meanings, and helpful word pictures.  To equip the members of your community to develop as stewards, you will need to offer vocabulary lessons to help them grow in their understanding of the language.  Here are five words I would suggest your stewardship team and pulpit ministry intentionally state and clarify:

  • Tithing. Just because the four gospels don’t suggest Jesus talked about tithing much doesn’t mean we should ignore it.  Tithing is talked about in Scripture, so we need to have an understanding of what Scripture actually says about tithing.  Also, we need to know what we should be saying about it in response to our reading and interpretation.  In other words, if I met you for coffee and asked, “Would it be good for my spiritual health if I practiced tithing?”, how would you respond?  Prepare your answer to this question now.  Believe me, tithing will be a topic in a future conversation you are involved in, so be ready for it.
  • Sharing. From my time with Scripture, I am becoming more convinced of the modern, American church’s need for sharing. To give is something we can do as individuals and as a community of faith. But to share means we live similarly to the early church. To share is to carry one another’s burdens and ensure that none of us have need.
  • Poverty. We are called to remember the poor.  We are called to serve the least of these.  In building a congregational stewardship vocabulary, the poor need our focus.  In addition, help your congregants pay attention to the story shared in 2 Corinthians 8, and the particular reference to “poverty” in these verses.  The churches of Macedonia are said to have practiced extreme generosity while living in extreme poverty.  What can you and your congregants learn from the churches of Macedonia about poverty?  How might the practice of these churches prepare our thinking for the next recession in America?
  • Fasting. This is an important discipline for the generous life.  Fasting involves an intentional neglect of a particular consumptive behavior for the purpose of creating a renewed focus on God.  To fast spending and other habits helps redirect focus on what truly matters.  Is fasting part of your current vocabulary?  How often do congregants discuss and practice fasting?
  • Gratitude. Many suggest we can’t fully live in the present moment apart from gratitude.  Gratitude helps us appreciate what is and to enjoy God.  Gratitude will keep us from utter despair and enable us to confidently put our trust in Jesus who has promised His church I will never leave you or forsake you. Are we grateful for the presence of Jesus?  Do we trust He is present?  Are your congregants practicing grateful trust in the providential love and care of God?

What are other words you think should be added to this list?  How can you begin to introduce this vocabulary to community members?  Are you willing to intentionally use these words in future conversations with fellow members?

Are ready to begin working on your 12 month stewardship ministry plan and practice use of these words in an upcoming capital campaign? I’d love to help you. Contact me here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *