Stewardship is a journey, not a one-time event. Central Christian Church’s Director of Stewardship Dave Briggs would be the first to tell you how important it is for church leaders to understand that. While classes, seminars or one-time initiatives are great, 100% of the congregation will need ongoing stewardship training.
“The god of money will be whispering in our ears for the rest of our lives. He doesn’t go away!” Briggs said. “Once we choose to turn our back does not mean he will give up. We have to constantly be vigilant toward insulating ourselves against the temptation to divert our path.”
It’s kind of like maintaining physical health. A single afternoon at the gym isn’t going to do the trick—we must eat well and exercise every day to maintain health. We can carry the same principle over into financial health.
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Briggs’s says the most successful stewardship model he has seen is known as “toolbox.” A fully organized stewardship ministry has a stewardship pastor as well as a full gamut of resources to help people. Financial Peace University (FPU) can be an integral part of the stewardship pastor’s toolbox. According to Briggs, “FPU is the single best thing for someone starting out on the journey.”
A Word on Senior Pastor Support
One of Briggs’ major goals is to engage pastors and decision makers around the country and prove to them how powerful creating a culture of stewardship in their church can be.
“I’m convinced that there are many pastors who would get into this if they were given a compelling case of why it’s important,” he said. He’s seen many start walking that direction as soon as they realize how much it can impact the vitality of their congregation.
Many pastors’ education and experience falls short on matters of stewardship, and they are hungry for information once they see what a difference a proper stewardship ministry can make. And when leadership is interested and engaged, positive change soon follows.
“I have never seen a stewardship ministry thrive without the full, total commitment of the senior leader,” said Briggs. That’s because stewardship ministry is seriously hard work, because money is often something that goes straight to people’s emotions. “Unless the senior pastor is communicating his passion and support, it isn’t going anywhere.”
Briggs says that if you try to start a stewardship ministry without the full support of the senior leader, you’ll end up in a closet somewhere. People will be sent to you when they are hopelessly in debt, and that’s about as far as that ministry will ever go. “I wish it wasn’t that way, but it is,” he said. “Every single stewardship ministry that is thriving is doing so in large part because the senior ministry has bought in to how important it is to the congregation—enough to devote a significant amount of mental, spiritual and financial resources to support it.”
But when the senior pastor is on board, incredible things start happening. Briggs is one of a growing number of stewardship pastors who have experienced it. If your pastor hasn’t caught the vision yet, don’t get discouraged. Just keep praying that your leaders will understand the importance of this issue and present helpful information when you can.
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.