Is your church in the middle of your stewardship campaign? Remember this: When you provide leadership in stewardship at church, you do essential work. You help people connect their money and their faith. Both money and faith are part of everyday life, and bringing them together is one of the most vital connections in the spiritual life. It took me a long time to learn this lesson and to embrace this part of ministry.
You don't need to be anxious, defensive about asking people to give. Nor do you need to dread it. In fact, it is possible to learn to love it.
Stewardship is a spiritual opportunity for you and for your people. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:21)
Here are three reasons to love asking people to give:
1. You counter the pervasive fear, anxiety and selfishness around money. You make a real contribution to individuals, families and the culture at large. Asking people to give is a ministry to them. You are inviting them to consider their resources, where those resources came from, and to make a decision about sharing them. Try this: as you prepare for stewardship meetings, mailings and sermons, visualize the people in your church, or scan the directory. Pray for them, and think about how you hope to contribute to them through the stewardship process.
2. You grow in your leadership when you have the chance to share the vision for the ministry of your church, and invite people to give to the vision. This can be fun - much more fun than asking people to give to the budget. Vision helps create momentum and energy for you and for others. Try this: If you're not clear on the vision, simply ask yourself, with a prayerful spirit, "what do I want for this church?" Keep asking and jotting, and see what emerges. Work your ideas into your stewardship sermons and invitiations.
3. When people give to their church, they become more engaged with the ministry of the church. They will be more committed. Having more committed people is more fun for you and for everyone. The work of stewardship, and the invitation to give, provides an opportunity to create a deeper community. Try this: Give thanks, by name, for those who make ministry happen at your church. Even better, thank them in person.
What would you add to this list? What ways have you found to love asking people to give?
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