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17 Jan. 2013 Posted by Denis Greene in Stewardship

The Bible is Full of Lousy Money Handlers

By Pen Waggener (Flickr: Economic Landscape) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsChurch Development talks about some ways to build a stewardship team. Up first: The initial recruitment conversation with people—focusing on how even the Bible did not have the best money handlers.

It shouldn’t be a surprise to many, but many of our consultants volunteer their skills to their church’s stewardship committees. As a result of that, we all share our stories with one another to improve our service.

Simply because we do this for a job doesn’t mean we get a free pass at our own churches. One of the greatest strengths we have as consultants is that we are mostly unknown to the churches for which we help raise capital. This allows us to provide a level of objectivity to financial issues without (as much of) our hearts tangled in the mix or fellow congregation members doubting our motivations. Within our own churches, however, we don’t have that benefit. We’re plugged in and we’re known. This means that we need to be even more creative in how we approach things. Here’s some of what we’ve found:

15 Jan. 2013 Posted by Denis Greene in Stewardship

Randy Alcorn on Tithing and Blessing

"If we pay our debt to God first (tithe) then we will incur His blessing to help us pay our debts to men. But when we rob God to pay men, we rob ourselves of God's blessing." ~Randy Alcorn

8 Jan. 2013 Posted by Denis Greene in Stewardship

New Year, Same Issues (Mostly)

Church Development looks at a Barna study on the temptations people struggle with coming into 2013. As money issues often come out high on the list, Church Development breaks down how it impacts different demographics. 

As it's the time of year for resolutions, the Barna Group released a list of temptations people commonly struggle with, and what's changed coming into 2013. The answer? Not much. However, two new and rising additions to the list are "going off" on someone via email or text (11% of adults surveyed) and spending too much time on media (44%).

Past that though, it's the same old temptations -- worrying/being anxious (60%), eating too much (55%), gossiping (26%), viewing pornography (18%), and lying/cheating (12%) -- tripping people up. Not surprisingly, the temptation of spending too much money came in high on the list, with 44% of adults surveyed admitting to the issue. However, it should be noted that the more serious the sin, the less willing people (seemingly) were to admit it. Overall, temptation keeps evolving in the digital age.

In terms of people spending too much money, however, how is that different in 2013, and do the statistics shift for different demographics?

13 Dec. 2012 Posted by Denis Greene in Stewardship

Missing Stewardship Parts

Church Development wraps up this series on failure by sharing some of the key evidences of organizational failure in stewardship cultivation.

Since Thanksgiving, I've shared some statistics on the value of failure. Last time, I talked about the systematic failure of stewardship in churches. In closing this series, I want to share some of the main ways I've seen churches fall short of cultivating a culture of generosity.

First off, here's what it's not: It's not to solely pressure your pastor to give another great sermon or twenty on why we should give. Often times, pastors have received very little training in the areas of financial management and stewardship. In the same way you wouldn't ask a novice to fix your car over a mechanic, financial issues aren't pastors strongest areas. Here are the missing parts that will help:

11 Dec. 2012 Posted by Denis Greene in Stewardship

A Major Malfunction

Church Development shares how, like the space shuttle Challenger, the failure of stewardship in churches is "a major malfunction."

I recently shared nine specific ways that churches fail in stewardship. This time, I want to address the overarching issue.

I remember watching the 1985 tragedy when the space shuttle Challenger exploded on lift off (pictured left). I'll never forget the first comment from mission control: "Obviously a major malfunction." What an understatement. This was a tragic loss for those families and the U.S. as a whole, but the stern commentary came out guarded. When I think of the church, I must admit that I think we're dealing with a major malfunction in terms of stewardship. Just like a major system failed on the Challenger, the stewardship failure of the American church is also systematic.

Here's the thing:

29 Nov. 2012 Posted by Denis Greene in Stewardship

Failure Analysis: Who Gives the Least?

Church Development shares a surprising statistic about who gives the least to their church. 

Last time I shared my admiration for the aviation pioneers, Wilbur and Orville Wright, and their perseverance despite all of their failures. Like the Wright brothers, I've made many mistakes. However, I've also studied virtually all the research related to failure and success in the area of stewardship.

Of churches, do you know whose congregants give the least?

27 Nov. 2012 Posted by Denis Greene in Stewardship

The Wright Brothers and the Value of Failure

In today's blog, Church Development President Denis Greene looks at his personal heroes, Orville and Wilbur Wright, and how they inspired his pursuit of teaching stewardship. 

My life's mission is to discover and share what naturally facilitates the increased flow of God's blessings through people. In a word, this is called stewardship. Since giving my life to Christ, I've devoted it to stewardship and serving churches / charities in their pursuit of nurturing generous givers. Along the way, I've sought to imitate Orville and Wilbur Wright.

Hebrews 11 talks of a hall of faith -- people we can seek to imitate because, in the end, they had faith in what God was doing through and around them. Me, I have a hall of failure -- people I can imitate because they failed and persevered so much that eventually they started to get it right. For the Wright brothers, "it" was getting the first airplane in the sky, and they did just that. However, it took them years of failures and mistakes to get airborne.

20 Nov. 2012 Posted by Denis Greene in Stewardship

On Being Thankful

Church Development shares the importance of a sense of thankfulness in stewardship.

"Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works."  ~Matthew 16:24-27 (NIV)

One of Church Development's consultants told me of a man who traded in 25 years of success in advertising to teach the Word of God around town. This man would say, "Advertising is easy. All you do is make people feel dissatisfied."

15 Nov. 2012 Posted by Denis Greene in Stewardship

Stewards of the Church

Church Development shares the importance of taking care of the church.

In building on our definitions of stewardship, I’ve covered being stewards of creation as well as stewards of vocation. Though the last one doesn’t rhyme, it’s as overlooked as the other two, even if it shouldn’t be.

As stewards of God’s gifts, we are not passive beneficiaries. We cooperate with God in the changes He’s bringing about in both our lives and the lives of others. We are also obliged to be stewards of the Church—collaborators and cooperators in pursuing the redemptive work of Christ in both the saved and the unsaved, which it is the Church’s essential mission. This mission—proclaiming and teaching, serving and sanctifying—is our task.

Each member of the church has a role (or several) in carrying out this task:

13 Nov. 2012 Posted by Denis Greene in Stewardship

Stewards of Vocation

Church Development shares the importance of being a steward of the work God has given us.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a student of stewardship who finds it easier to define and build upon this broad term in parts. Last time, I shared how we can be stewards of creation. This time I’m focusing on how we can be stewards of vocation.

For many people, work isn’t quite what it used to be. Although there’s blame on both employer and employee loyalty, the days are gone where you’d spend your entire career working for one company. I remember a study from last year that noted that 84% of people planned on changing jobs in 2012. I imagine now, a year on, the numbers aren’t that different for 2013. Though some may not follow through with that change, the number still seems higher than I thought it would be. 

While many of us would like to take a permanent vacation, I have to go back to what God thinks of work.