Increase Effectiveness… Go Undercover!

Stewardship educators worldwide are exulting with joy during this 1st quarter of 2023. Having an entire Sabbath School quarterly dedicated to stewardship topics is not ordinary. The last time this happened, in 1st quarter of 2018, it greatly impacted the community of believers. Join us in praying and working for a similar outcome and even more. What next after March 25? We can either wait for another stewardship quarterly or reproduce the conditions underlying the success of this approach at a localized scale.

Using the Sabbath School quarterly to educate in stewardship has helped mainstream a message which usually remains on the fringes of what we preach and teach. Some elements are contributing to the resounding success of this initiative:

  • It is happening in the local church.
  • The resources needed (human, financial, and time) for implementation are available.
  • It reaches a large audience, those studying their lessons and attendees of Sabbath School.

These triple conditions can be used to assess the potential impact of future initiatives. We can confidently expect our stewardship education programs, done under similar conditions, to build upon what we are currently achieving during this quarter and thrive.

An effective way of ensuring the presence of these conditions consists of doing stewardship education through existing ministries, programs, and channels of the local church. It is known as the undercover strategy. In this perspective, all levels of the church facilitate the local church’s work and are satisfied only when it is happening in the local church. Regarding resources, the stewardship ministries should avoid the unhealthy practice of competing for the exclusive use of limited resources but seek a closer partnership with other church ministries. The solo mindset is replaced by “let’s do it together.” As a result, members won’t be pulled apart, and available human, financial, and time resources in the church community are shared to grow disciples and not advance a single department. Furthermore, the undercover strategy acknowledges that stewardship ministries is not a crowd puller. Hence for the message to infiltrate all segments of the church, it would be best vehiculated through other ministries which have an audience, such as pastoral, youth, children, women, and family life, just to name a few.

For this new issue of the Dynamic Steward, I would highlight the interview of G. Edward Reid, JD, the principal contributor of the Adult Sabbath quarterly. It is a must-read from a monumental Adventist stewardship educator! Enjoy all the good articles. May God renew our interest and insights to do stewardship through existing ministries, programs, and channels of the local church.

Aniel Barbe

Aniel Barbe

Aniel Barbe is the associate director of the Stewardship Ministries of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and editor of the Dynamic Steward magazine