Like them or not, preachers are integral to the mission of the church. While not all pastors are gifted in the area of stewardship and financial ministry, they still need to exhibit a basic level of leadership and oversight, just as they would in most areas of ministry. Over the next few blogs, we will look at some of the most important places where pastors can make a difference. I list them here:
Pastors need to give
Pastors need to be aware of the financial situation
Pastors need to share good stewardship theology
Pastors need to develop relationships with givers
Let us start with this most important point of leadership—pastors need to give. There are many important reasons for this. First, giving is one of the measurements of our spiritual discipleship, and one of the disciplines to which we commit. It is the way of Jesus to live with an eye toward abundance and generosity. It is the way of God to give. The more we learn to give, the more we are like Jesus, and the more God lives in us.
Secondly, your church needs the money. You were not appointed to live at arms-length from your congregation until you could move to a new one. You are all in—be it messy or amazing—and it will be both. Invest your time, talent, and treasure. One thing that will happen is that you will care a lot more about the financial picture of the church since you are invested in it.
Third, it is easier to talk about something when you are doing it. If you don’t pay your taxes, it is pretty lame telling others to do so. If you eat beefsteak your call to being a vegan rings hollow. The same is true for giving. I might add, this disconnect usually brings a deep sense of discomfort and/or guilt within a person’s spirit. Because of that, the easy answer is to avoid the subject altogether. Thankfully, when you give it is easier to talk about giving, to talk about the struggles of stewardship, to laugh at your failures, to show others the path forward, and to challenge folks in your charge.
Finally, giving is a pathway to greater ministry, and greater joy. “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your Master.” There is nothing better than the joy of being used and filled by the grace of God. Joy is the right word.
Pastors, be a giving leader in your congregation. You will bless God, your church, and even your own soul.
If you want more ideas for stewardship and giving, whether pastor or lay person, contact us at your United Methodist Foundation here or by calling us toll free at 877-391-8811.
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Director of Development
United Methodist Foundation of Indiana