A mindset is a fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person’s response to and interpretation of situations. It is also an inclination or a habit.
Mindsets can be good or bad, depending on their orientation and the situation. For example, a mindset to brush one’s teeth after eating can prove beneficial. On the other hand, a mindset to run red lights can prove fatal.
Mindsets — we all have them. They are the product of our environment, our training, our heredity, and the decisions we make along life’s way.
Churches have mindsets, too. We’re not speaking of the church building per se, but rather, of the group of people known collectively as “a church.” Like an individual’s mindset, a church’s mindset is a product of its people, its history, its leadership, and its environment. This is particularly the case in the area of stewardship and financial matters.
Some churches have a mindset to discuss financial matters openly in an above-board manner. Others, though, are not quite as open about financial matters. Their mindset is to talk about money only when their needs require it or during an annual financial campaign.
When it comes to stewardship, mindsets come into play. In fact, one of the saddest experiences we have encountered in providing the “Effective Stewardship” program to churches all across North America is that of a church with a mindset “not to talk about money.” Never mind that because of the “Effective Stewardship” program, the church is meeting its budget for the first time in years. Forget the fact that it is possible for the church to pay its bills on time for a change. Disregard the forward progress of the overall ministry of the church made possible by adequate finances. A few well-meaning souls begin complaining about the emphasis on money, material possessions and giving. The first thing you know (usually against the counsel and wishes of the pastor), church officials decide to terminate the program.
Not that many do so, mind you, but whenever this scenario takes place, we view it as a sad situation. It says that the mindset of that church — in spite of all the empirical evidence to the contrary — has prevailed. It will be business as usual, and that is usually to the detriment of the church and its ministry.
Say, how’s the mindset in your church concerning biblical stewardship instruction? Do you have an open mind concerning the necessity to sow the seed of God’s Word for a future harvest?