What’s the Difference Between Stewardship and Giving?

Stewardship Series, Capital Campaigns, and Fundraising Drives. These phrases are too often used interchangeably. They are pinned to the masthead of our church websites and printed in bulletins to let folks know it’s that time of year: it’s our final push to fund the church budget.

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It comes from an honest place. It’s not a bad thing. The Bible talks a great deal about how Christians ought to handle and relate to money. Many church members give cheerfully and faithfully. Sure, a few wish they could turn the volume down on the conversation–as if it were a pitch from public broadcasting. But the Church would be broke without members who give.

Generosity with personal finances is an inherently Christian characteristic. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” There is an assumption that believers will give, and the premise is to do it cheerfully.

Stewardship is about more than money.

The classic summary of what we offer to the Lord–and by extension the Church, and our neighbors–is time, talent, and treasure. How can God’s people holistically contribute to the work of ministry? Volunteer work (both within and without the church building) and utilizing the unique giftings and perspectives the Lord has given are additional ways in which your people can give.

Stewardship is a rich term. The Biblical use of the word refers to the role of a house manager—one who is responsible for the upkeep and management of the home and property of another. A person who takes care of someone else’s stuff. In the ancient world, such a vocation was a place of honor and great responsibility. God’s people are his stewards of creation. We are to maintain, manage, and oversee what already belongs to him. We take care of God’s stuff.

Understood in this manner, church members have a new lens through which to understand their contributions. It isn’t that we are “giving away” some of our money. It’s that we are “giving back” to God what is already his. Assuming a 10% offering, it isn’t that we are “donating” 10% to the church. It’s that we are “keeping” 90% to meet our needs. This perspective shift has a massive impact on how your people manage their personal finances and how they grow as givers.

Philanthropy and stewardship aren’t the same.

Philanthropy. You know, what your alma mater expects you to do now that you’re out in the real world. It’s what all nonprofits count on. Your generosity. Giving to the cause, to the mission. If we take the original meaning of the word to be significant – “love of humanity” – then we get a clearer picture of what it means to be philanthropic. We support the causes we care about and organizations doing work we love. Philanthropy puts us in the position of sponsoring work we can’t ourselves do.

Philanthropy can certainly fit into holistic stewardship. It is a component of managing the resources God has given us. It provides us with the opportunity to endorse good, restorative work within creation.

Philanthropy is a part of stewardship, but not all of it. Biblical stewardship involves every aspect of our lives.

“One of my servant leaders who is 83-years old texted me that she thanks God for Pushpay because it allows her to stay connected to the church.”
-Kevin Johnson, Dare to Imagine Church

Stewardship generates gratitude, gratitude generates generosity.

The posture of our hearts is important to proper stewardship. Of course, no pastor can change their peoples’ hearts. But you can certainly lead them down a path of understanding biblical stewardship. And, you can create occasions for your people to practice stewardship.

Providing opportunities for your church to serve and give —and communicating them effectively— strengthens their faith. It deepens their trust in the Lord. Stewardship points us back to God. It changes our hearts. Stewardship produces generous church members.

Recurring giving is a prime example. By providing a church giving platform that allows your people to be consistent in their tithes and offerings, you create the ‘flywheel’ effect that fans the flames of gratitude and generosity. Recently, we discovered that for every $100 of recurring giving, we see an additional $28 of spontaneous giving. Focusing on holistic stewardship creates generous, faithful disciples.

Maximizing stewardship requires proper management.

Pushpay’s church management software can help you manage all aspects of your members’ generosity. Whether they are first-time guests stepping out of their comfort zone to ask questions about your church. Maybe it’s a long-time member who’s boldly decided to tithe for the first time. Perhaps a committed church-goer who’s looking to deepen their relationship with the Lord through discipleship. Maybe you have a sudden rise of folks who want to volunteer to serve in the church or initiate outreach ministry. However, your church members are desiring to steward their time, talents, and treasure; Pushpay and Church Community Builder have the tools to help you manage and engage them.

“The functionality of the tool itself is the best we’ve ever experienced. It integrates perfectly with Church Community Builder, our database…. And best of all, it enables our congregants to give to support our church.”
-Jimmy Papia, Director of Business at Emmanuel Christian Center

Now, the best-in-class giving software of Pushpay and the world-class church management software of Church Community Builder are available in one complete package: ChurchStaq.

ChurchStaq brings together digital giving, donor development, church apps, and ChMS to deliver a fully integrated engagement platform equipping churches of all sizes with the technology they need to:

  • Grow generosity and participation.
  • Measure and understand ministry impact and church health.
  • Connect and engage with congregants both in-person and online.
  • Streamline church services, group management, and community involvement.

To learn more about how ChurchStaq can be the one tool to manage holistic stewardship, talk to a software expert today.

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