Regularly, I am asked the question, “What type of results should we expect from the ‘Effective Stewardship’ program?” That question, or a variation of it, is usually asked by Finance Committees, Church Councils, Stewardship Boards, or similar groups as they consider adopting the “Effective Stewardship” program or after their respective churches have used the program for several months.
The question is a good one. After all, it’s fair to try to determine what kind of results this program can be expected to bring. But the question is also a difficult one. Here’s the reason: Much of the answer for a given church is determined by that church.
The emphasis of the “Effective Stewardship” program is not so much on next Sunday’s offering as it is on financial support down the road. As such, users of the program should not expect that it will bring immediate results. Although sometimes this happens, the program was not designed with immediate results in mind.
But what causes the program to be more effective in one church than another? Why are the results more dramatic in church A than in church B? A number of factors influence the overall effectiveness of the “Effective Stewardship” program, including:
- The type of stewardship training done in the past. (If a lot of training has been done, the results of the program may be lessened somewhat.)
- The overall support of this program (which could range from negative to skeptical to positive), especially from the pastor and key lay people.
- The manner in which the program is carried out in a church. Are all the elements of the program being fully utilized?
- The emphasis in a church on long-term trends rather than immediate results.
Make no mistake about it: The “Effective Stewardship” program heightens a congregation’s awareness of scriptural principles concerning money, material possessions and giving. As it does so, it usually leads to an increase in overall giving and financial support of the church. The final results of the program are very dependent on how the program is carried out in a given church. And remember, the full benefit of the program may well go unseen for many years.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9).