By Glen Guyton
I came across this quote recently, “Nothing tests the mettle of a Christ follower more than how he or she manages God’s resources.”—Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church; South Barrington, Illinois
Often when the church talks about stewardship it is just a code for “we need more money.” But as we think about stewardship we should broaden our thoughts beyond the weekly offering. Stewardship doesn’t mean fundraising, it is more than Creation Care, and it is not a building campaign.
Everything we have—our time, talents, resources and relationships—are gifts from God, and we are accountable for how we use them. Do we ignore money then? No the church needs that too. But the church also needs you.
Take for instance our national convention. While registration fee covers some of the cost, we could not pull off this huge event without hundreds of volunteers. We need teachers, greeters, nurses, transportation experts, AV techs, admin folks, and other skilled to volunteers to make our event a success.
The same is true in our home church in community. Finances are important but so are local volunteers. In fact giving of your time and talents can offset the need for the “money ask” which so many of us church folk dread. Each of us has gifts, time, talents, and maybe even some money to offer. The proportion of each may vary from person to person and even vary during different phases of lives.
It is our job to figure out the best way to use our resources as we manage what God has given us. A single college person may not have a lot of money to give to the church, but they may have an abundance of time. Business owners may not have much time or money, but they may have knowledge that is invaluable to the church that they can share.
Also as we share our resources we help to mobilize the church into the community. Keeping the resources of the church inside the church walls is more like hoarding than managing church resources. Being a good steward means sharing what we have beyond ourselves. We sow and we reap providing the world with an earthly glimpse of God’s Kingdom.
Want to learn more about stewardship in Mennonite Church USA? If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact Everence Stewardship Education Director Beryl Jantzi by email or by phone at (800) 442-7930.
Also check out Everyday Stewardship magazine from Everence. Everyday Stewardship is Everence’s flagship magazine, published three times a year for Everence members. The magazine offers educational columns plus popular stories of inspiring people who share their finances, health, and other stewardship issues in their lives.