What is Stewardship?
Often people think that stewardship involves asking the congregation for money every so often – particularly if there is a financial crisis in the parish. However, there is much more to stewardship than money. Living a generous life is part and parcel of our Christian discipleship.
Generosity is rooted in our relationships with one another and with God. That generosity gives everyone an opportunity to share in the mission of Christ and the ministry which supports that mission.
When our churches ask us for money it isn’t to prop up a failing institution – it is because they are confident that what is on offer is worthwhile and important, and by sharing in that vision everyone can become part of something special and amazing.
I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
We really want people to give to our churches as part of a loving and cheerful response to all that we have been given by God. In reality, however, many people will give money to the church because they believe their money will be well used. If your church has robust and well-received mission plans, which you have communicated effectively to the church family, your people are more likely to think their gift will make a difference, and more likely to trust you with their money.
People also give because they are part of something – they feel they belong, and giving helps cement that feeling.
So if you want to encourage your church family to give, remember to tell them where the money will go, show them that you can manage their money, and be welcoming and inclusive.
Finally, it is part of human nature that we want to be appreciated and acknowledged, so thanking our donors, individually, will make a difference in all sorts of ways.