Effective Stewardship

Doing What We Don’t Want to Do

Ken Williams

When he was head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Tom Landry once said, “I have a job to do that is not very complicated, but it is often difficult: To get a group of men to do what they don’t want to do so they can achieve the one thing they have wanted all their lives.”

In some ways, that sounds like the role of a pastor, doesn’t it? To get people to do what they don’t want to do so they can achieve the things they have wanted all their lives.

One of the areas in which a pastor frequently has to try to get people to do what they don’t natu­rally want to do is that of steward­ship, particularly of trying to get people to give of their time, talents and finan­cial resources to the work of the Lord. Stewardship is an area which many pastors prefer to avoid altogether, but they realize that the work and ministry of their re­spective churches are dependent on the in­volvement of their people.

What’s a pastor to do? Some do nothing, of course, hoping that somehow, some way, their people will catch a vision of what it means to give of oneself to the Lord. Others scold and try to lay a guilt trip on their people for not giving as they are ca­pable of giving or at a suffi­cient level to meet the need. Still others preach an occasional sermon on steward­ship, usually as part of an annual financial empha­sis (a.k.a. “the Fall Campaign”) or when there is a pressing financial need. And others choose to operate by having their churches use a variety of commercial fund-raising techniques whose benefit is usually short-lived.

Then there are those who choose to use the “Effective Stew­ardship” pro­gram, not as a fund-rais­ing tool, but rather, to provide bib­lical steward­ship edu­cation and training. These pas­tors quickly discover the truth of what Rev. Thomas Barnett of Kirkwood, Missouri, stated so suc­cinctly, “As you promised, this pro­gram has not become yet an­other job for the pastor.” As much as possible, the burden for training the congregation concerning steward­ship is lifted from the pastor’s shoul­ders and shared by lay people as the program consistently instructs concerning God’s ownership of all things.

As you try to get people to do what they really don’t want to do in order that they might achieve the things they have wanted all their lives, which approach do you think is most effective?


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