Joe Park, CEO at Horizons Stewardship, recently sat down with Pastor, Author, and Leader Dr. Mark DeYmaz for a three-part interview series to talk about his latest book, “The Coming Revolution in Church Economics: Why Tithes and Offerings Are No Longer Enough, and What You Can Do About It.”
The first interview explored the case Mark makes as to why tithes and offerings won’t be enough to fully fund ministry in the future. It is important to understand that he is a strong advocate of teaching biblical generosity in the form of returning God’s tithe (the first 10% of income) and our offerings (free-will giving beyond a tithe). Mark goes on to deftly make the case that changing socio-economic realities will impact your church sooner or later. Understanding and planning for this shift will help you and your church prepare for new ways to fund ministry and make disciples.
In this second interview, Pastor Mark unpacks the theological underpinnings that provide his roadmap for church leaders to examine how effectively they steward the assets God has entrusted them with. He challenges us to consider who Jesus praised in Matthew 25 as the good and faithful servant. Was it the one who focused on preserving what they had been entrusted with or the ones who multiplied what they were entrusted to steward?
A Theology That Informs The Future of Church Giving
Good Stewardship Requires Strong Theology
Mark believes there are far too many church leaders who feel that all a church needs to do is preach Jesus and the rest will take care of itself. While he would not disagree with the first part, he believes the latter part of that logic just doesn’t hold up.
If the local church is to be a hospital for the sick, a place of hope for the hopeless, and a refuge for the hurting, it must be able to sustain and expand its operations. While preaching the Gospel is absolutely an essential part of the Christian life, that doesn’t mean church leaders “get a pass” on the responsibility to leverage all its assets for Kingdom impact. So, while proclaiming Christ is central, it is not to the exclusion of wisely stewarding all the assets God has provided—time, talent, temple, treasure, and testimony—to be a beacon of light and hope for the people in our communities who desperately need help.
Turning Tables in The Temple
Jesus didn’t turn over tables in the Temple because money was being exchanged. He became angry because of the economic injustices taking place. People trying to be obedient to God’s law were being taken advantage of through outrageous practices of the few.
Unjust economics is something that should make all church leaders want to take action. When churches creatively leverage all the resources God has entrusted to them, Mark proves through Mosaic Church, they can embrace social justice, create jobs, reduce crime, increase access to essentials in food and services, expand their ministry offerings, and even create tax revenue. All of this boosts communities to function at higher levels.
The American Church is sitting on billions of under-utilized buildings and capital assets. This under-utilization also takes the form of failing to leverage the problem-solving abilities of the entrepreneurs and other human giftedness that God has placed in our churches. Mark suggests that good stewardship is less about preserving what we have today and much more about investing all that we are entrusted with to bring about the Kingdom of God in every way possible.
When our churches are more excited about the size of their endowments or preserving beautiful buildings than resolving the challenges facing our communities, something is off in our strategy—and in our theology.
Change Your Thinking, Change Your Kingdom Impact
When church leaders make space in their theology and planning for alternative sources of income to fund the increasing demands of the community it serves, two important things happen:
- More people become interested in the God we serve. When we serve others by meeting their physical, emotional, and justice needs, we become the hands and feet of Jesus. They encounter God’s love through us and naturally become interested in learning more about the God we serve.
- We advance the common good. When we invest our assets well, local churches become essential to the vitality of the communities in which we exist and everyone benefits.
Money, Mirrors, and This Material World
Now is not the time for cloistered thinking. That type of mentality will not lead to fully funded ministry budgets moving forward because it won’t compel new generations of givers. A better strategy is for church leaders to wisely invest everything they have to share God’s love for all people, proactively growing disciples of Jesus who are motivated to transform the world.
The world is watching. If we hold back, the world will not see a Gospel of hope but a Gospel of preservation. If we hold on to what we have, the world will not see a Jesus for all people but a Jesus for a certain group of people. If we cling too tightly to what we believe is ours, the world will not see a God of love but a God of limitations.
As a church leader, how you choose to invest your assets directly reflects what you believe about God. What does your Kingdom portfolio say about your church?
If you haven’t already, you’ll want to order a copy of his book, “The Coming Revolution in Church Economics: Why Tithes and Offerings Are No Longer Enough, and What You Can Do About It.”