Home Equipping Leaders Stewardship Should We Ask for Commitments of Time and Talent as Well as Money?

Should We Ask for Commitments of Time and Talent as Well as Money?

If you have had a year-round integration of Christian stewardship that is all-inclusive (time/treasure/talent/creation), then it makes sense to include all aspects of stewardship in the annual giving campaign. If you have said nothing about the broad dimensions of stewardship all year, you might as well be up front about the fact that you are asking for financial commitments and name your campaign a "giving campaign."

When the other areas of stewardship are included in the emphasis, but almost everything that is said during your campaign is about money, is it being honest to add the other dimensions to the commitment card? Your credibility is at stake. It may appear that you are embarrassed about asking people to give money, so you are hiding the giving in the middle of other issues.

Don't say that your campaign is about the whole of Christian stewardship and then provide commitment cards that have nothing on them except a place to declare one's intention around financial giving. If you are going to include a broad definition of stewardship, what commitments will you ask people to consider along with their giving commitment? Let's consider an example. The stewardship of creation is vitally important and a biblical theme. Even from a self-interest point of view, the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink is a life-and-death matter. What specific commitments will you include on the card so that people can take some responsibility about the air and the water?

A better plan may be to look at the whole year and to ask people to make different kinds of commitments each quarter. Some churches build their year-round plan around the four vows of members — prayers, presence, gifts, and service. One quarter of the year is focused on each of these key factors. People are invited to make commitments around each of them. If the giving campaign is in the fall of the year, financial "gifts" are the special emphasis during the fall quarter.

If the campaign is focused on financial giving, please do not call it a "stewardship campaign." Call it a "giving campaign" and invite people into the privilege of sharing their financial resources to spread the love and care of Jesus in your community and all around the world.

Herb Mather is retired from the Center of Stewardship Resourcing of the Discipleship Ministries.

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