Transformational Leadership in a Consumer Age
By Pastor Jack Borchert
The dream of a comfortable, well-furnished home, recent model cars, offshore vacations; these were all within sight following Robert and Valerie’s graduation. They entered the workforce and their jobs provided them with the kind of income they needed to live very comfortably. This bright dream started to become their cloudy nightmare when Valerie’s job was “rationalized”. Gone were the two incomes, gone were the plans for vacations, further home furnishings, one of the cars. In fact, the dark and gloomy nightmare became a reality when Robert and Valerie were forced into personal bankruptcy.
This kind of story is far too common today. Statistics Canada reports that in Canada, 60,669 persons declared bankruptcy in 2017. There is a strong likelihood that some of these consumers may have a seat near you in our church.
SBC must provide not only hope but practical help and Biblical teaching that meets people at their points of need. One of the most critical needs in the church today is helping people come to grips with their finances. There is a pressing need for churches to engage in the area of stewardship education and training.
The first reason is obvious. Money is a huge issue of life – for those who have a lot and for those who have little. An ever-increasing number of folks, like Robert and Valerie, are being crushed by consumer debt. Money is one of the leading causes of conflict in marriages, and lives are shattered by the outcomes of poor financial decisions.
Even more compelling for SBC is that a person’s relationship to their money and material possessions is directly connected to their spiritual growth and well-being. Our spiritual formation is a lifelong journey and an improper relationship to money is a huge roadblock in that journey.
The topic of money is mentioned in over 2,300 verses in the Scriptures. Consider these three verses:
“You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24 NIV)
“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:34 NIV)
“The deceitfulness of wealth chokes (The Word), making it unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22 NIV)
Dick Towner, the stewardship leader states, “If an improper relationship to money can keep people from serving God, steal their hearts from God, choke out God’s Word in their lives, and lead to all kinds of evil, is it not vitally important that the church equip them in this arena of their lives?”
There are three important principles that we want to reinforce through good stewardship:
1. The objective of stewardship is life transformation, not increased giving. This principle is described as transformational stewardship. It has been the experience of many churches that an effective stewardship ministry will increase giving, especially when the church has a compelling vision and the leadership is trusted to use resources in God honouring ways, but this is not the intent of our Stewardship. We are called to be good stewards of all that we have.
2. The entire leadership team, staff and laity must be on board and supportive of a stewardship ministry. Support is not just giving verbal assent but they must be committed to living out Biblical financial principles in their own lives.
A good stewardship ministry is for everyone. Very often the impression is that Biblical financial training is just for those facing financial difficulty. Everyone is bombarded with the incredibly persuasive messages in our culture that are diametrically opposed to Biblical principles. Jesus said, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded” (Luke 12:48 NIV). Most Christians in Canada and in Summerland have a great deal, but we do not understand what a great privilege it is to participate together as a steward in ministry. Are you interested in joining a stewardship (financial) information journey or a financial class on Sunday mornings or evenings. Let us know in the office.