What is Stewardship
Being a steward means to serve as one who manages another’s property, finances, or affairs. When we talk of stewardship, it's not just a means for the church to raise money. For Christians, stewardship is a way of life that recognizes that everything we have is God’s and we are simply managing those resources on his behalf and for his purposes. Through our stewardship, we are the heart, spirit, and hands of God, reaching out in love to share with our world.
What the Bible Teaches About Giving and Stewardship
Stewardship has to do with how we use the gifts that are entrusted to us. The Scriptures teach that the Lord is the creator of all things, seen and unseen. Therefore, how we use the gifts of creation, including our financial resources, is a spiritual issue! Moreover, because nearly everything in our world today involves money, our stewardship of money is one of the most significant spiritual decisions we will make. This doesn't mean that other questions of stewardship are not also important—how we use our time, how we use are talents, how we live in community—but the significant role that money plays in our lives demands careful attention.
The Bible teaches that, as his stewards, God asks us to return to him a tithe (the first 10%) of the resources he entrusts to us in order to support his mission in the world. As United Methodists, we affirm that the local church is the most significant agent of God's mission in the world. Our goal as a congregation is to grow ever more faithful in our participation in God's mission! Therefore, we encourage all members and participants in the local church to strive toward tithing. For some, the giving of a tenth is a goal you are growing toward each year. For others, it is a starting point, and you give graciously beyond a tithe. Whatever gifts you bring, God blesses gifts given in faithfulness and joy.
A Life of Stewardship
Though stewardship is a value that we practice year-round, each fall we undertake a special emphasis on stewardship in which we invite all participants in the life of the church to consider how they will support God's mission through our congregation in the coming year. During the stewardship emphasis, members and friends of the church are invited to pray about their giving and make an estimate of how much they plan to give during the coming year. Not only does this help church leaders make important financial plans for the church's ministry, but it also helps each of us put God first in our financial lives.