How can we help our local church become more generous – understood in the full biblical sense – as a group of Jesus’ disciples? Stewardship coach Michael Reeves says that a biblically generous church teaches stewardship of all dimensions of our lives as part of the church’s training of its members. Holistic stewardship is part of their intentional Generosity Plan, which includes a clear understanding of what good stewardship is, and how they expect one another to act as stewards of all that God has entrusted to them.
Teaching about stewardship needs to be done for all age groups. (See my book Growing Generous Souls to identify the best teaching resources.) Reeves reminds us that education is not to be confused with asking for contributions! Christian education about living as God’s stewards has to do with Christ’s Lordship and our relationships with God and with one another. He notes that while the Bible contains almost 400 verses about prayer and more than 700 verses about love and justice, it has over 2,000 verses about stewardship.
Christian leaders don’t just teach generous stewardship; they model it, as well. Our family doctor is known not only as an excellent surgeon (as the one other doctors choose to go to), but also as a generous person. He gives several weeks each year to volunteer his services in a Christian medical mission. But modeling doesn’t have to be dramatic to be effective. Look at the impact on the Bible’s Timothy, thanks to the influence of his mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois (2 Timothy 1:5-7), and the difference Timothy made spreading Christian faith alongside Paul throughout the world. These days, thousands of church members generously volunteer their time and involvement in Vacation Bible School, feeding and sheltering the homeless, and in countless other ways. Generosity is lived out in diverse ways by millions of Christians.
How we apply our stewardship understanding is important. Great steward leaders seek not only to teach biblical generosity, but also to model it by the ways that they live. Grace, sheer grace!
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