For the next two Sundays at my church, we will have a stewardship campaign under the theme of A Hopeful, Joyful Generosity. Below is the letter I sent out to our church on the whats, the whys, and how to prepare. Pray for us that our church would continue to show a generosity toward Kingdom work in helping all of Denver and the nations believe Jesus is enough!
Dear beloved ARBC Family:
I pray this letter finds you well and blessed.
For two Sundays in August (the 14th and the 21st), we will be having our stewardship campaign under the theme of Hopeful, Joyful Generosity. God calls His people to become hopeful, joyful disciples of Christ who believe that He and He alone is enough. This cascades into every area of our lives, even our resources (time, gifting, and finances).
Everything we do, every system we have, everything we teach, every song we sing, every person we greet, every corporate prayer we pray, every offering we take, every missions work we do both here and abroad, every discipling endeavor, every SNAP/Connect Group/building program/VBS, etc., must connect hope and joy in with this mission of making hopeful, joyful disciples of Jesus. Hope is contagious. Joy is contagious! That hope and joy even reaches our wallets and purses.
Why a stewardship campaign? Simply put, Jesus set the standard. Did you realize that He taught more on money than He did on heaven and hell combined? Read over His parables! Sadly, many (including myself) spend very little time on the subject. Many pastors have swung the pendulum from talking so much about money to talking so little about it for fear of coming across materialistic.
Yet, given all that Jesus taught, He perfectly realized that this would be an issue for many believers. He said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21). The apostle Paul plays off what Jesus said when he wrote, “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10).
I use the term ‘generosity’ intentionally based on what we read in 2 Corinthians 8-9, specifically 2 Corinthians 8:2 and 9:13 (see also Matthew 6:21-24; 20:15; Luke 21:1-4; Romans 12:8; and 1 Timothy 6:17-19 in their context). The word ‘generosity’ in the Greek NT deals with a simple and pure liberality in their giving, regardless of circumstances and out of an overflow of what God gave us in Christ by the gospel.
Why ‘Hopeful?’ The use of the word ‘hopeful’ deals with the hope we have in the sovereignty of God over all things, along with the hope we have in the gospel to save now, and the hope we have of eternal life. Throughout the New Testament, all the writers warned us about the grip of our finances that could be idolized in giving us our ultimate hope in this life.
Rather, we remind our people (or introduce to those who are new to this concept) that God brings the hope of the gospel so that, in hope, we use our resources to accelerate that hope in the hearts of others. If all we tell people is to give so we can pay our bills and keep the lights on, few will rally around that mindset. If we share that the resources with which God has blessed us will be used for Kingdom purposes to provide resources necessary to make disciples in obedience to the Great Commission, this both obeys Christ’s commission to His church, and serves as a more hopeful vision around which our church family may rally.
Joyful. Christ instills a joy in His disciples for their salvation and sanctification—not to mention the heaven that awaits. Our joy (as well as our hope) is found in the phrase “Jesus is enough!” Paul tells us that “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). Later in that chapter, Paul say, “You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God” (9:11). Our joy in the sufficiency of Christ reaches down to all aspects of our lives, especially our resources.
What can you do to prepare?
First, make an effort to come on August 14 and 21. I knew a pastor who would warn his people about his upcoming ‘money’ sermon, giving them time to plan their vacations. His assumption was like so many others—people, even Christians, don’t want someone else telling them what to do with their money. That’s right—their money. We need reminders that we are stewards of His money.
Secondly, please pray. Pray about this area of your lives. Is Jesus enough to trust Him with what He’s already given to us? Is our hope truly in the life to come, or exclusively in this life? Be ready for God to show you where you stand in your hope and joy.
Lastly, practice good stewardship/generosity. We will give you some great tools and resources to help you take that next step in your walk with Christ both with the money you earn and the money you give.
It’s exciting to serve our King! When we see what it means for Jesus to be enough even over our finances, He will set us free with the truth of His will and way (John 8:31-36).