Stewardship leaders are often looking for ways to reach the large percent of church members who feel no real obligation to support the local church. The following principles, by Don E Crane, will assist with that challenge.
Select the ideas that will most benefit your church stewardship and strategic plans.
1. Develop a biblically-based philosophy of stewardship and teach members how to do the same.
2. Teach total-life stewardship, so church members will understand that stewardship involves every aspect of life.
3. Exemplify Christian giving. Church members need to see the pastor, elders and all church leaders setting the example of giving. Important: These leaders should be able to give positive testimony of the blessings of God and their growth in giving. For example, a positive may involve:
(a) How I started giving.
(b) What I am doing now.
(c) What God has done for me because of my faithfulness.
(d) How I plan to grow as a giver.
4. Teach stewardship lessons regularly.
5. Preach regularly on stewardship themes and include stewardship ideas in sermon material.
6. Establish a Stewardship and Strategic Plans Committee. Train the committee members to become involved in all of the recommended functions of education, budgeting and receipting, and strategic planning and promotion.
7. Develop a clear, concise statement of your church’s mission, and help create an awareness and understanding of its meaning.
8. Select prioritized challenges and strategic objectives that will give meaning and purpose to ministry action plans.
9. Build a church budget based on the important ministries within your church.
10. Plan an annual every-member response that supports your church’s mission and strategic objectives.
11. Conduct new-member stewardship training classes.
12. Visit all new members in their homes. Explain how to use the tithe and offering envelopes.
13. Prepare in advance to make the tithe and offering time a genuine part of the worship experience.
14. Provide a 3 to 4 minute testimony that incorporates a positive stewardship message.
15. Give information about church member giving. What was the giving this past Sabbath in tithes and offerings? Did we reach our church budget objective? Make this very short and informative.
16. Use the tithe and offering envelope system. Encourage usage and report on envelope effectiveness in educating members to give regularly.
17. Distribute envelopes to children and youth. Encourage parents to instruct the children in their use as a growth-in-giving experience.
18. Plan special instructions for children on total-life stewardship.
19. Use leaflets, bulletins, posters, videos and letters in stewardship education.
20. Study church management practices regarding tithe and offering funds, from counting to receipting. Recommend methods to improve church member confidence.
21. Maintain up-to-date records of member giving. Report on member faithfulness.
22. Request your conference to conduct an annual audit.
23. Build a series of stewardship seminars on the relationship of stewardship to end-time events.
24. Lead out in personal and family finance seminars.
25. At the end of each church year, evaluate the progress and effectiveness of church objectives, strategic plans and the church budget.
Oliver J. McKinney, Jr. is Stewardship Director for the Southern Union Conference, P. O. Box 849, Decatur, GA 30031. Phone (404) 299-1832.