Every Sunday, thousands of pastors are asking themselves the question, “Where is the spiritual vitality in my congregation?”
After nearly a decade in stewardship ministry, Dave Briggs, Director of Stewardship at Central Christian Church, had an insight that may well answer that question. It came through the parable of the seeds found in Matthew.
The Third Seed
The third seed in the parable very clearly illustrates that the busyness of life, the desire for more things and the deceitfulness of wealth make the Word unfruitful. This struck Briggs as a major reason why we are not seeing more spiritual vitality in many congregations.
“Most people don’t make the connection between a wrong relationship to money and its ability to diminish the power of God’s Word in our midst.” But as we make the connection between the two, we realize the importance of teaching people that their relationship with “stuff” directly impacts their relationship with God.
“Many church leaders who are blasé about the need for healthy stewardship ministry may be suffering the ill effects of it without realizing it.”
Stewardship is about far more than raising funds to accomplish the church’s mission or helping people who are completely broke. It’s about the universal need to have a proper relationship with money. Briggs said, “What you choose to do with money will either draw you close to God or take you further away.”
There are plenty of examples in the Bible. For instance, the Good Samaritan was willing to help a wounded stranger, using his money as an instrument of God’s goodness. The widow who gave her two mites powerfully demonstrated the importance of prioritizing God over money. “Money became a way to draw each of these people closer to God,” Briggs said.
On the other hand, you have the rich young ruler and the rich farmer who chose wealth above God—a choice that cost them their closeness with Him.
It’s not about the amount of money someone has—after all, the Good Samaritan had plenty, the widow just a few bronze coins. It’s about prioritizing service to the Lord above service to cash. “I am convinced that there is much difference between the heart need to someone with few resources and someone with a lot of resources.” In other words, someone can have plenty of money but still struggle with spiritual issues that aren’t visible to the outside world.
“If done from a biblical perspective, stewardship takes on the same importance as prayer, Bible study and discipleship,” he said. “It is all about growing the individual through a relationship to money that grows them closer to God rather than takes them away.”
Stewardship is about so much more than money. As church leaders see that and cast a new vision to their congregation, the entire culture of the church changes.
Dave Ramsey has created a program called ChurchWide to help churches teach their congregations what it means to live out biblical generosity. ChurchWide is all about bringing people back to God’s view of money management and cultivating a culture of lasting generosity. Discover today how ChurchWide can help your congregation.