Let me ask you a question. Is the senior pastor the spiritual leader of the congregation? Without question, the answer is “yes.” Then let me ask another question. Is giving a spiritual discipline? Again, the answer is “yes.” Giving is an act of worship. The Bible tells us to give. Giving is a part of being a disciple. If the pastor’s job is to raise up disciples, can he be said to be effectively doing his job if he neglects stewardship? Could it be that one reason giving continues to decline year after year is that pastors are neglecting this key area of responsibility?
It is easy to say that stewardship is a pastor’s responsibility. But what exactly does that mean? Here are some key thoughts about the pastor’s role in stewardship.
The pastor needs to be at the forefront of all stewardship discussions and planning. Not long ago I had a pastor tell me that his lay leaders would take care of reviewing the financial data of his church. Seriously? Are you too busy, too lazy, or simply too disconnected to see how important stewardship is to your church? Why would you even not want to be at the table when stewardship is reviewed and planned for? When a pastor is not at the table when stewardship is discussed, it tells me he truly is not the leader of his church.
The pastor sets the tone of stewardship for his church. The platform or pulpit defines the pastor. From here he communicates his vision, his passion, and his heart. What is important to him gets preached on and highlighted from the platform. If you never preach on stewardship, then what are you saying to your members? If stewardship is never mentioned by the pastor, his church will soon struggle to make ends meet. Jesus talked more about money and possessions than any other thing. Preachers who want to be like Jesus will do likewise.
George Barna, in his book How to Increase Giving in Your Church, found that churches in which pastors preach:
- Single messages about giving raise more money than do churches in which no stewardship takes place.
- Two or more nonconsecutive messages do not have any advantage over churches that only preach on stewardship once a year.
- Two or more consecutive messages about stewardship raise more money than do those churches that only hear one message a year.
- Two or more consecutive messages about stewardship matters raise significantly more money than churches that hear two or more nonconsecutive stewardship messages.
- A series on giving is nearly two and a half times more likely to experience an increase in giving than preachers who only talk about stewardship once a year or on two nonconsecutive times in a year.
The bottom line is that the more you preach on stewardship, the more dollars you will raise. Don’t shy away from preaching on stewardship. The challenge is to do so effectively.
Learn how to effectively communicate stewardship in your church, and you will raise the funds needed to fuel ministry. There is no one else in the congregation equipped to do stewardship like the pastor. Pastors who lead in the area of stewardship are the pastors who have the funds to do what God lays on their hearts. Be that kind of pastor.