I’m no Webster, but I can certainly define “faithful.”
I see it in parents who unconditionally love their kids through good times and bad. I see it in dependable employees who serve customers and company alike. I see it in marriages that last forty, fifty, even sixty years. And I see it most in my loving heavenly Father who, scripture assures me, is a steady rock, a fortress, a strong tower; He never fails to stand by me, especially when I deserve it least.
So when it comes to being faithful in our stewardship efforts – most often associated with time, talent, and treasure – we do not lack for definition. Rather, we lack the conviction to remain steady, dependable, trustworthy, and consistent in how we manage what we’ve been given. We often fail to grasp how various aspects of faithful stewardship – such as regular giving, time-limited campaigns, and legacy planning – need to work in harmony to facilitate long-term stability and community impact. Such “big picture” thinking will help you break out of worn molds and tired methods.
If today’s church leaders desire a revival in attitudes regarding possessions, ownership, and sacrificial living, we must raise up a new standard for faithful stewardship. This comes about only through reliable Biblical teaching, diligent modeling of its principles, and faith-driven, prayerful expectation of what God will accomplish in response to our obedience.
Ponder this great sound bite from Pastor Lynn Hill of Franklin (TN) UMC, who blessed us with his testimony following their most recent church capital campaign. While he rejoices in the campaign’s financial success and their partnership with Impact, his true joy stems from seeing an understanding of stewardship take root in his congregation:
“… faithful stewardship is more than dollars and sense. Faithful stewardship involves lifestyle, it involves priorities, it involves value… having people be grounded in prayer, to be grounded in scripture, and then ask the question, ’What would God have me do?’
“When the campaign ended, [the people] then became more involved in the life of the church, teaching Sunday school, or being involved in a small group. And so the participation level of the church increased by having Impact lead us.
“And so the spiritual impact has been, that we see this campaign as more than, ‘How do we raise money?’ but ‘How do we become more faithful in stewardship, in all of its phases, in the life of the church?’ ”