I’ve always been an aficionado of trucks. Ever since I can remember, I’ve liked trucks. Even today in my office, numerous trucks (including some which I had as a small boy) are scattered among the books.
Most larger trucks are designed for specific tasks. Some haul concrete and some are used to fight fires, while others are over-the-road vehicles that specialize in long-distance runs.
Stewardship programs are similar to trucks in some ways. Some programs are short-term in nature and are designed for a special one-time emphasis. Others last a few weeks and culminate in a special commitment Sunday.
“Effective Stewardship: Building on Biblical Principles,” though, is unlike anything else on the market. It is designed for the “long haul.” Its emphasis is not on the short-term or even on a special financial campaign. Instead, it is designed to function over many months by providing biblical instruction in the areas of money, material possessions and giving.
A few years ago, a book review featured The Abingdon Guide to Funding Ministry. The editors were quoted as believing that “developing Christian givers is a process rather than a program, that it takes practice and that it is a journey rather than a destination.”
That is certainly true of the “Effective Stewardship” program. It is a process and a journey, not a destination. It is designed to produce maximum effectiveness over many months.
That is one of the elements which makes it truly distinctive. That’s why the typical reaction to the program is, “We have nothing like this.” And that distinction needs to be kept at the forefront by pastors and lay leaders alike as their churches use this program.
It’s easy to become distracted from the main, long-term goal, especially when finances are lacking. It’s easy to conclude that “the program isn’t working” simply because a church’s financial problem probably took years to create and will not be solved overnight. Remember: Education and training — especially in the area of stewardship — take time, sometimes lots of it. Eventually, though, they bring results.
As you evaluate the “Effective Stewardship” program as it plants the seeds of God’s Word “line upon line . . . precept upon precept,” please be sure to keep in mind that it was designed for the “long haul.”