Stewardship is the practical expression of the Christian faith. However, one common temptation among Christians is to embrace a pragmatic approach to stewardship practices. What counts is the results and outcomes, but not the scriptural foundation. As an example, we feel satisfied when believers are generous and supporting God’s mission financially without asking if current practices stand in harmony with God’s clear instructions. For the stewardship pragmatist, the ideal situation occurs when the giver is happy and comfortable and the church, as recipient, has the needed resources to run its ministries. This approach has the weaknesses of being human-centric, and of leaving God out of consideration.
In this issue of Dynamic Steward, our objective is to revisit some common financial stewardship practices and ask two questions about them: “Why do we do it?” and “How does God want us to do it?” The topics covered include foundations for stewardship, management of personal resources, charitable giving, tithing, and systematic offerings.
The contributors to this issue have heeded to the invitation of Peter to “be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Pet. 3:15, NIV). They will attempt to do so by following the well-tested advice from William Miller: “To understand doctrine, bring all the scriptures together on the subject you wish to know; then let every word have its proper influence, and if you can form your theory without a contradiction, you cannot be in an error.”1 During this stormy season of ours, the wise “hears these words of mine and puts them into practice” (Matt. 7:24, NIV).
Most articles in this issue are deliberately presented in a Bible study format in order to best serve the objective of seeking answers from the Word of God. We believe that the various articles will provide stewardship educators and local church leaders with a ready-to-use toolset to instruct God’s people in financial stewardship.
In this magazine, you’ll also enjoy the last section of the series of three articles entitled “The Most Needed Kind of Offering” for a global church. As the 61st Session of the General Conference is some few days ahead, you can have a foretaste of our live webinars for the GC Stewardship Virtual Exhibitions Booth. We look forward to connecting with you in this setting.
For the next issue of the Dynamic Steward, we’ll be in a new administrative term for the world church. Our team is grateful for the opportunity we had to serve during these past years, and we hope that we have made a difference to your ministry. Our prayer is that God’s people will grow in their trust in Him and their partnership in His ﬁnal mission through your ministry.
Aniel Barbe, Editor
¹ William Miller, in The Midnight Cry (PDF), Nov. 17, 1842, p. 4.