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?