What core actions can a congregation encourage to become generous as a faith community? Stewardship teacher Michael Reeves put together an eye-opening list that can serve as our guide and goal.
These “attributes of a biblically generous church” point to how faithful stewardship and generous-hearted living can be seen as whole-life issues, part of that church’s culture and values. Instead of using the word “stewardship” just to talk about money, church leaders encourage people to develop the skills, experiences and gifts God has given them. This includes identifying and using their spiritual gifts1 in their families, communities, and/or church.
It’s not a matter of multiple choice when we pledge our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness to God through the church. Each of these dimensions is an important part of our maturing process as Jesus’ disciples. To help this happen, the pastor and other church leaders need to recognize stewardship as a distinct ministry within the church, linked to their programs of Christian education, spiritual formation, worship and mission, as well as to finance. Financial generosity (percentage, not amount) is intentionally a qualification for church leadership, with the focus on mission: the difference the church is meant to make in the world on God’s behalf.
One biblical example I immediately think of is Dorcas, also known as Tabitha, who gave her abilities, time and compassion to people struggling with poverty in her town. When she died, the recipients appealed to Peter, asking for a miracle and showing him all the clothes she had made for them, as evidence of her whole-life generosity. (Read more in Acts 9:36-42 to find out what happened next!)
These days, as church participants come alive to all the ways they can be generous givers and receivers on God’s behalf, the congregation’s atmosphere of discovery, commitment and celebration to Christ’s mission grows. What a joy it is when we help our churches become such biblically generous congregations!
Your partner in ministry,