Not long ago I read about a fellow who decided to buy a chain saw.
A store owner sold him one guaranteeing it would cut down 15 trees in a single day. A week later, a very unhappy customer came back to report that the saw must be faulty—it was barely cutting down one tree a day.
The merchant grabbed the saw, reached down, pulled the cord, and the saw promptly fired up with a “Bzzzzzzzz.” “Hey!” demanded the startled customer, “What’s that noise?”
Have you ever felt that your church’s stewardship has 15 tree possibilities but is only bringing in one tree returns? You have the tools. You hand out the pledge cards. You offer the online giving. You make copies of the budget. So, what is happening?
The engine for your stewardship is keeping the giver connected with God, rather than your church budget. The giver needs to be powered by the gospel mission of changing lives, not just the marketing of slick promotions and commitment cards.
Just so we are clear, I believe the tools are important, by all means, keep your tools sharp. Use them. But no amount of “tool” is going to make up for a lack of “engine.” Are you reminding folks, by preaching and teaching and example, that their generosity is tied to their spiritual growth? Are you sharing biblical models for giving? Are you inviting people to cover their commitments with deep prayer and thoughtfulness? Are you helping them find gratitude for their life and its blessings? Are you opening their eyes regularly to the ways their gifts are transforming the lives of adults and children? Are you keen to share the teachings of Jesus regarding the place of money and possessions in our lives? Are you offering folks a safe place to talk about their victories and defeats in trying to be more Christ-like in this area of their lives?
People who are growing spiritually are giving. People who are giving are growing spiritually. That is the engine behind stewardship. Perhaps this autumn we could spend more time pulling on the cord of the engine rather than pushing on things that do little but wear us out.
Invite us out for a chance to visit with your leadership team on developing stronger stewardship all throughout the church year. You can reach me by clicking here or 317-788-7879.
Would your church like help building stronger stewardship? Our Foundation is here to help. Give us a shout by clicking here or calling 877-391-8811.
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Director of Development
United Methodist Foundation of Indiana