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. There is much more to stewardship than money, however, and it should be part and parcel of our Christian discipleship.
In essence stewardship is a recognition that everything we have comes from God – from the world around us, to our friends and families, and our own particular talents and gifts. God has been incredibly generous to us, and a right and proper response should be to look after what we have been given, nurture our gifts, and give something back to God – joyfully rather than grudgingly.
Hopefully, our churches preach and teach regularly about stewardship and God’s generosity to us. 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 plans, which you have communicated effectively to the church family, 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. People often want to give at roughly the same sort of level as people like them, so it can be really effective in encouraging giving when the church leadership can make it clear how much they have committed, and invite others to do the same.
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 lead by example with your own generous giving.
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.