Many years ago, I began preparing tax returns for my elderly parents. Then a few years later, I began managing their investments and paying their bills for them. In spite of being on fixed, limited incomes, until the day of their deaths, they continued to be very faithful in their financial support of their church and other Christian ministries.
It doesn’t take an expert in actuarial studies to determine that their generation is rapidly passing away. As that happens, the Lord’s work is losing a significant group of people who know what it means to give generously and sacrificially.
For the most part, baby boomers, busters, millennials and others born in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s do not know what it means to give in this way. Although there are some exceptions, most of those born during these decades think they have done a lot if they put $5 in the offering plate every other Sunday at church. And most think they are far too busy to be actively involved in the life and outreach of their church.
One of the primary goals of the “Effective Stewardship” program is to teach people how to be better stewards, and one of the main “target groups” of this instruction is that group of people born since 1960. Based on the authority of the Word of God, the program seeks to bring about a change in conscience (what a person believes) and lifestyle (how a person lives) concerning stewardship.
Speaking of God’s Word, these verses from Psalm 78 are very relevant: “That the generation to come might know them, the children who would be born, that they might arise and declare them to their children, that they may set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.”
That’s one reason why the focus of the “Effective Stewardship” program is not so much next Sunday’s offering as it is the offerings two and three years down the road. And that’s why there is a residual effect which benefits a congregation long after the actual program is over.
Think about it: If you want to make a difference in the conscience and lifestyle of those born from 1960-1990 in your church, as well as in the lives of their children, what better goal could you have than that of following the same pattern which the Psalmist described?