Stewardship is a word used frequently in Christian settings, yet is one that has multiple meanings. All are important in our walk with Christ as well as our work in the church.
Stewardship as Biblical Principal
The Bible speaks to stewardship as a call upon our lives. Made in the image of God, our role is to be stewards of God’s creation and all that is in it. In other words, we are to take care of it as if it belonged to someone else, because it does. How are you living out this call in your life? Are you a steward of your natural environment? Young people or those in need? Your own physical, mental and spiritual health? Whatever ways you serve, a faithful Christian walk includes stewardship of self, others and the natural environment because all belong to God. We are merely the caretakers.
Stewardship as a Congregational Action
We are also called to be stewards of Christ’s body, the Church. For church leaders, this includes stewarding church assets. It’s important to remember that this form of stewardship is active, not passive. It requires church leaders to think creatively and act responsibly at the same time. Remember the parable of the talents. Two of the stewards put their talents to work and doubled their value; one didn’t even do the minimum of putting it in the bank! He just hid the talent out of fear. If a church fails to invest its assets out of fear of loss, or passively relies on assets to pay the bills instead of regularly encouraging members to tithe, that isn’t good stewardship. To be good stewards, church leaders must ensure that church assets are actively building God’s kingdom.
Stewardship as Annual Giving Campaign
The role of stewardship in our faith walk is so important that we encourage every church to have an annual stewardship campaign. During this timeframe, members and attendees reconsider how they will be stewards of what God has entrusted to them, and recommit to making a financial investment of time, talent and treasure in the church’s kingdom-building work. Stewardship campaigns are how churches stay active, vibrant and growing.
Stewardship in our personal and corporate lives, keeps us focused on what is most important: one day hearing the Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
If you have questions about stewardship or would like assistance with your church stewardship program or church investments, please contact the United Methodist Foundation of West Ohio at info [at] umfwestohio.org.