Blog readers please note: I have just started a weekly feature where I will be posting content from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix Book Summaries for church leaders. SUMS takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; and each solution is taken from a different book. As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS provides 26 editions per year, delivered every other week to your inbox).
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What is the generosity revolution all about? It is about living in a reality in which our churches are free to do the work God is calling them too - regardless of the cost. Here is the way we unpacked it last year in SUMS Remix:
Solution #3: Focus on making disciples, not raising money.
THE QUICK SUMMARY
Maximize is the ultimate how-to book for pastors and church leaders who long for their churches to be fully resourced and able to carry out ministry initiatives without financial strain. Shining a light on the often-taboo subject of money, Maximize offers an innovative, step-by-step plan for systemizing and maximizing financial gifts while growing strong disciples. You'll learn how to:
- Cultivate first-time givers
- Challenge people to tithe
- Develop an ongoing stewardship system
- Follow-up with givers the right way
- Develop multiple giving options
- Shepherd the five types of givers in your church
- Educate people to grow in the grace of giving
Stewardship is an essential part of discipleship. This revolutionary, biblically based guide will chase the money discussion out of the darkness and bring it the attention it deserves.
A SIMPLE SOLUTION
Other than the kingdom of God, talking about money (stewardship) was the favorite subject of Jesus public proclamations. He talked more about money and possessions than faith and prayer – combined. If our sermon schedule followed the same frequency as that of Jesus, every third Sunday would be spend on stewardship.
Jesus knew that a correct understanding and practice of stewardship was an essential part of every believer’s journey to becoming a disciple.
Unfortunately, somewhere along the way we lost the importance Jesus placed on stewardship. While we may find it easy to talk about knowing and loving God, loving and serving our neighbors, and sharing God’s love with others, we shy away from talking about stewardship.
Sadly, most conversations in churches revolve around one or two weeks talking about giving, usually in the context of annual budget time. While we may be able to convince or even “guilt” people into giving once or twice, what happens when we can no longer convince them? The giving stops.
However, if we understood the principles of discipleship in such a way to help move people along a path of discipleship, we will see the results of a fruitful life – of becoming a more faithful steward.
Your heart’s cry for your people should be that they are continually growing into fully developing followers of Jesus. As you demonstrate this desire to see them grow by investing in their stewardship education, you will be equipping them to honor God through cheerfully giving back to the kingdom.
You and I, as leaders of Christ’s church, have been called to be shepherds of the people placed in our care. Here’s one thing we all know about the souls we’ve been entrusted with: they are highly focused on, confused about, and concerned with money. Their hearts are weighed down because their only understanding of their treasure is deeply rooted in the thinking of this world. The time has come, fellow church leader, for you and me to step up and shine the light of God’s truth on our people’s financial lives.
If we internalize the biblical principles we’ve been studying and decide to be faithful in implementing them, we can spark a revolution in the church. We can live in a reality in which our churches are free to do the work God is calling us to regardless of the cost . . . a reality in which the Great Commission is not only talked about but also acted upon without restraint. We can excel, corporately, in the grace of giving and reap the eternal benefits.
Our job is to disciple people along the path to financial stewardship.
- Nelson Searcy, Maximize
A NEXT STEP
The process of discipling people along the path to financial stewardship begins like any successful journey – understanding where you are starting from and then charting progress along the way.
First, establish the current level of giving in your church. Every church has different types of givers: those who have never given; those who are first-time givers; those who are regular givers; those who are percentage givers; and those who are generous, even extravagant givers.
Second, your goal is the same for all these groups: to move them to the next level in their personal giving journey. 2 Corinthians 9:7 provides a simple principle that will help you launch your congregation on that journey
Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (NIV)
No guilt trip. No compulsory giving. Simply helping people to grow closer to God, and giving your gifts in heartfelt devotion back to him.
Taken from SUMS Remix 1.7.3, published February, 2015
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