I get all the effort made to engage donors … I really do! That attention and work is important for the success of your mission and ministry. People might be moved to donate a little something for a variety of reasons. Baby steps, right? Grow people where you can and as widely as you can. But, how do you develop stewards?
How do people move from being donors to being stewards?
That goal is not accomplished with a fund-raising or a data-mining strategy. Please, I am not picking on good, intentional, data-smart, fundraising strategies … great stuff that everyone should be doing to open the doors. But how do people move from donor-ism to stewardship?
Stewardship, I am convinced, is about a conversion experience –
not a moves management chart.
Stewardship is a leap of faith, not a next step in giving. Stewardship is a life change, not a habit adjustment. Stewardship is a joyful expression, not a dutiful chore. Stewardship is about the possibilities and potential in the world beyond myself. Stewardship is a life-altering choice that changes perspective, priorities, and my fundamental definition of who I am. So, how do you invite people to that place?
The story of Zaccheus (Luke 19:1-10) speaks volumes here. Find a bible and read the short story right now. Besides being a “wee little man,” Zaccheus was a sinner (welcome to the club) and, of all god-awful things, a political tool tax collector. But he was curious about Jesus. Jesus noticed Zaccheus and invited himself to dinner at Zaccheus’s home. We do not know what they did or what they talked about (it is a very short story). We do know that Zaccheus decided to radically change his life in some very specific and very real financial ways. Jesus had something to say about the radical changes Zaccheus made.
Jesus’s response was not, "Good job upping your pledge this year!"
Jesus’s response was, "SALVATION has come to this house today."
Salvation – that is a really big deal (which stewardship follows as an expression)! Perhaps we have been missing a step in our stewardship strategies. Perhaps we should also be focusing on how we provide the contexts and experiences leading people to exclaim that salvation has come to this house this day!
How do you get people to meet Jesus?
Not just to meet your church or your people or your programs or your fellowship, but to actually meet Jesus? I am not trying to be terribly trite or ridiculously religious here; but I am asking an important question – how do you invite people to meet Jesus in your church?
Stewardship is a result of connecting meaningful, transformational, conversion experiences to a clear sense of missional purpose and personal action.
Where does that happen in your church? In intentional small groups? Through hands-on mission opportunities? In deep relationships? In being the very presence and body of Christ? Probably not just in fantastic stewardship campaigns, awesome sermons, and cool programs.
I can help you raise more money. I can help you clarify your mission and call to action. I can help you to build trust and confidence. I can help you be more successful in all of these areas. All worthwhile stuff! But I cannot transform your life and make you a Steward. I can not bring salvation to your house. Only a real encounter with Jesus can do that. So, again, how are you (and we) helping your people to meet Jesus?