Overcoming Your Church’s Biggest Stewardship Roadblock…You

Overcoming Your Church’s Biggest Stewardship Roadblock…You

“You write the best stuff on stewardship. Your problem is no one cares.” A few years back, I was talking about writing with my friend, Brian Dodd. He made that comment to me. It’s the most stinging compliment I ever got. It is also revealing of why giving continues to decline in America. Stewardship is not something the typical pastor pays attention to. I came to the conclusion years ago that…

Disconnected pastors are the biggest roadblock to helping churches build and sustain cultures of generosity.

But you are reading this, so let me focus on you and help you overcome the roadblocks stopping you from building and sustaining a culture of generosity. For the next few weeks, I will be writing on what I feel is the key lane for sustaining our churches into the future. Before I start, I need to address the elephant in the room: disconnected pastoral leadership when it comes to stewardship. This Coach is entitled Overcoming Your Church’s Biggest Stewardship Roadblock…You.

Many years ago, I wrote a book on the top stewardship mistakes churches make. The first chapter, and first on my list, was the disconnected pastor. As I wrote that chapter I remember asking myself what was causing the disconnect I was seeing among pastors about stewardship. What were the reasons for disconnecting from something? Since writing that book, I have expanded my list of reasons, but here, from the book and years more observation, is my list of reasons:

  1. Many pastors are uncomfortable with anything money related. Too many, I fear, misinterpret the Scriptures, and think that money is evil. The Bible says, “The love of money is evil.” It does not say that money is evil. The reality is that many pastors are simply uncomfortable around money. Why?
  2. Most pastors come from humble backgrounds. I think that much of what causes us discomfort is our humble backgrounds. Very few ministers come from wealth. Most are from lower-class or middle-class backgrounds. Most find it hard to relate to money matters whatsoever. The average church budget is of a size that seems far beyond their grasp of finances from their humble backgrounds.
  3. Many do not feel adequately trained. Our Christian learning institutions have done a disservice to our leaders by not training them in this crucial field. Nearly everything a minister learns about stewardship they learned outside of the classroom. If I do not feel properly trained in an area, I will not operate in that area. If it weren’t for John Maxwell’s Injoy Life Club tapes, I would never have received any help in stewardship preaching, for instance.
  4. Some pastors are not convinced it is biblically their role. I find that we have been so conditioned by laypeople that we ministers are not supposed to know anything about the church’s finances that we incorrectly assume that is biblical. You can search the Scriptures, but you will not find a verse prohibiting the leaders from taking an active role in stewardship. Christian ministries that have leaders active in stewardship raise more funds and, in the end, do more for the Kingdom.
  5. Some pastors do not see the necessity of stewardship. Despite numerous studies showing the importance of the leader’s involvement in stewardship, many do not think it is necessary. As a result, their ministry struggles to achieve the dreams they have been given or, more likely, doesn’t have any vision for the future at all.
  6. It’s unpopular, and we like to be liked. No preacher wants to hear, “All you ever talk about at church is money.” The bottom line is that we like being liked and don’t want to do anything that will cause the above statement to be reinforced. So, we go out of our way, not to mention money. Could it be that people do not like us to talk about money because they have such a problem managing it correctly? Could it be that by not talking about money, we are giving them a pass on an area of disobedience in their lives? I’m not advocating beating them over the head with the pulpit Bible, but find ways to teach biblical stewardship principles, and they will love you for it.
  7. It often makes the leader uncomfortable. Closely akin to the above point, many don’t like to talk about stewardship because it makes them uncomfortable. They struggle to deal with difficult topics, knowing it will rub some the wrong way. They find that they cannot, with boldness, take a stand, so they ignore the issue altogether. It is easier to teach about the love of God rather than some subject that many find hard to listen to. Again, this attitude doesn’t help your members become good stewards, reaching financial security.
  8. The Tyranny of the Urgent. The last thing you want is someone loading you down with more work. You read my advice on Monday with good intentions to implement my advice. Then, well, life happens, and before you know it, it’s Friday, you’re exhausted, and stewardship planning gets pushed to the back burner. If you have read this far, your heart is there, but your schedule is in the way. Don’t wait for that clear time in your schedule that never comes. Continually putting off a stewardship plan puts the survival of your church in jeopardy. Act now!
  9. A failure to prioritize their schedule. How do you combat the Tyranny of the Urgent? You must work to prioritize your work week. I learned early in my ministry that my best time for sermon prep and planning was early in the day. By the afternoon, I was dealing with calls, emails, staff requests, etc. The pastors who get stuff done prioritize their schedules. Find a specific time in your weekly calendar and set it aside to think, plan, and pray about stewardship. For practical help on how, see my Bonus Section.
  10. Not seeing stewardship as a priority. My last reason is the number one reason why pastors are disconnected. Too many pastors simply don’t see stewardship as a priority. Guess what? Denominational leaders, most of whom were first pastors, don’t see it as a priority either. Until they can’t do what they want to do because of lack of funding. That day is coming faster than they know. Don’t let that be your story!

Are any of the above a roadblock for you? If so, what can you do today to eliminate that obstacle?

A few issues back, I wrote about the Pastoral Lane for building a culture of generosity. Here is one bullet point from that issue that I feel sums it up well. I wrote,

  • The pastor sets the tone for the entire church. It’s called leadership. Whatever a pastor has a heart for or is interested in will get the most out of their time. You will not raise funds if you do not have a stewardship leader.

I could not have said it any better! Are you leading your congregation in stewardship development? I’m here to help you know how! There is no one better suited for your church than you, pastor. It’s time to step up and provide leadership in this area. Let’s overcome your biggest roadblock so you’ll be ready for my next Coach.

Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach

OnlineGiving.org, the leading online giving processor in America, sponsors my writing. Find out more about their services at https://www.onlinegiving.org/.

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