A little boy was given 2 dimes from mom: “You’ve been a good boy. One dime is to buy an ice cream cone this afternoon; the other is to put in the offering plate at church tomorrow.” As he headed to the ice cream shop he dropped his dimes—one of them rolled through the drainage grate on the sidewalk. He cried out loud, “Sorry God; there goes your dime!”
I’ll never forget her laughter. I guess I remembered it because as a good little boy I could relate. I’ll never forget learning that day that the church is about money and giving….and about priorities.
The joke’s on us if a new church doesn’t quickly learn this lesson, and that’s nothing to laugh about. To help with this we try to teach our planters a simple formula:
BS + CS + CP=SSF
BS…is Biblical stewardship (what were you expecting?). There are so many scripture references upon which to build this eternal truth that I couldn’t list them all here. Good sound biblical teaching on stewardship, generosity, sacrifice, and money MUST occur not just at the time of a stewardship campaign, but also sprinkled throughout the year in strategic ways. John Wesley developed a simple guide to sermons on this grand topic:
“Earn all you can—save all you can—give all you can.” John Wesley, “The Use of Money.”
CS…is common sense. At Boot Camp our planters are taught to personally thank individuals for their giving, via hand-written notes. This begins when the launch team first starts to meet. These gatherings create the first opportunity to teach biblical stewardship. But use common sense: Don’t guilt people, don’t shame them, be creative & engaging, set an example with your own giving, and THANK THEM PERSONALLY!
Common sense also realizes the importance of good fiduciary responsibility. Be sure your folks know you are using their money (God’s money) wisely and with absolute integrity. Be able to point this out and demonstrate it. For too many people, the church as they have known it (especially from TV preachers) is little more than a money-grabbing machine. So use common sense in sensing their suspicions and fears and make sure you are living out trust & integrity.
CP… is Conference Policies. Be sure you have and follow clear policies for your new church start in collecting, counting, reporting, and using funds. If you haven’t yet developed policies, feel free to check ours out in the North Texas Conference.
SSF…is Strong, Spiritual Finances. This is not only our very foundation, but our credibility. Without it, a new church plant is not likely to grow-up. Without the CS and the CP, all too often the BS sounds just like that to potential new church members…bs.
What’s your stewardship formula? How does your church claim giving as a ministry?