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Research

Contemporary thoughts amongst Evangelical Leaders why Stewardship is Declining

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
Stewardship Research Part XIV

Stewardship Research Part XIV

Quotes from the "great" Christian thinkers on this subject

· Francis Schaeffer, Are you still thirsting? Christ gives the invitation not only to others but to you. He is the fountainhead.

· Francis Schaeffer , Faith in God's provision certainly does not exclude asking fellow believers to give, for in fact God's most regular means of providing for ministry is precisely through the generosity of his people (2 Corinthians 9:11) -

· Francis Schaeffer, Thinking always precedes action .... Whether it's using tech in a worship service or giving to those in need

· John Calvin, All the blessings we enjoy are Divine deposits, committed to our trust on this condition, that they should be dispensed for the benefit of our neighbors.- (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion

· C.S. Lewis wrote, the sacrifice of selfish privacy which is daily demanded of us is daily repaid a hundredfold in the true growth of personality which the life of the Body encourages. Those who are members of one another become as diverse as the hand and the ear. That is why the worldlings are so monotonously alike compared with the almost fantastic variety of the saints. Obedience is the road to freedom, humility the road to pleasure, unity the road to personality. (C.S. Lewis, The Weight Of Glory (New York: Collier Books, 1980)

· James R. White aptly said, "There is no warrant for the 'Lone Ranger Christian Syndrome' so popular in Protestant circles these days." (James R. White, The Roman Catholic Controversy (Minneapolis: Behtany House Publishers, 1996).

· G.K. Chesterton wrote, "In truth, this vividly illuminates the provincial stupidity of those who object to what they call 'creeds and dogmas.' It was precisely the creed and dogma that saved the sanity of the world."(G. K. Chesterton, St Thomas Aquinas (New York: Doubleday, 1956).

· Vance Havner said, "In this age, all too often, the church is but a mutual congratulation society." (Vance Havner, Rest Awhile (New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1941).

· Jonathan Edwards said, "Prayer is as natural an expression of faith as breathing is of life." (Ralph Turnbull, Jonathan Edwards The Preacher (Grand Rapids: Baker Book, 1958).

· Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Feel for others--in your pocket.

· Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Earthly goods are given to be used, not to be collected. Hoarding is idolatry.

More quotes on thinking and faith proceeds stewardship

· Jesus didn't tell us not to store up treasures. On the contrary, he commanded us to. He simply said, "Stop storing them up in the wrong place, and start storing them up in the right place." -Randy Alcorn

· I value all things only by the price they shall gain in eternity. -John Wesley

· Christ offers us the incredible opportunity to trade temporary goods and currency for eternal rewards. -Randy Alcorn

· When our eyes are set on eternity, the news that someone has come to know the Savior means a great deal more than the news of a salary raise or the prospect of getting the latest high-tech gadget. -Randy Alcorn

· It ought to be the business of every day to prepare for our last day. -Matthew Henry

· Stewardship isn't a subcategory of the Christian life. Stewardship is the Christian life. After all, what is stewardship except that God has entrusted to us life, time, talents, money, possessions, family, and his grace? In each case, he evaluates how we regard what he has entrusted to us -and what we do with it. -Randy Alcorn

· Let temporal things serve your use, but the eternal be the object of your desire. -Thomas A Kempis

· Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face; and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. -Helen H. Lemmel

· God doesn't prosper us to increase our standard of living, but to increase our standard of giving. -Randy Alcorn

· There is no heavier burden than a great potential. --Linus, "Peanuts"

· Life is like a ten-speed bike. Most of us have gears we never use. "Peanuts", Charles M. Schulz

· Not he who has much is rich, but he who gives much. -Erich Fromm

· If our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot because our charitable expenditure excludes them. C.S. Lewis

· God's work done in God's way will never lack God's supply. -Hudson Taylor

· Can a man be poor if he is free from want, if he does not covet the belongings of others, if he is rich in the possession of God? Rather, he is poor who possesses much but still craves for more. -Tertullian

· How different our standard is from Christ's. We ask how much a man gives. Christ asks how much he keeps. -Andrew Murray

· Giving produces freedom 100% of the time - freedom from the bondage of things, freedom to receive more from God, and freedom to be a conduit of blessing to others. -Tricia Mayer

· Giving is the safety valve that releases the excess pressure of wealth. -Randy Alcorn

· Their property held them in chains … chains which shackled their courage and choked their faith and hampered their judgment and throttled their souls. They think of themselves as owners, whereas it is they rather who are owned: enslaved as they are to their own property, they are not the masters of their money but its slaves. -Saint Cyprian

· Make as much as you can, save as much as you can, and give as much as you can. -John Wesley

· Five minutes after we die, we'll know exactly how much we should have given rather than kept. -Randy Alcorn

· The less I spent on myself and the more I gave to others, the fuller of happiness and blessing did my soul become. -Hudson Taylor

· Only one life, 'twill soon be past. Only what's done for Christ will last. -C.T. Studd

· I have held many things in my hands and I have lost them all. But whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess. -Martin Luther

· For many wealthy people, giving a tenth is a way of robbing God. Their tithe becomes a tip. -Haddon Robinson

· I am afraid the only safe rule [about how much to give] is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc. is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditures exclude them. -C. S. Lewis

· We're most like God when we're giving. -Dixie Fraley

· The lust for affluence in contemporary society has become psychotic; it has completely lost touch with reality. -Richard Foster

· Where riches hold the dominion of the heart, God has lost His authority. -John Calvin

· God created us to love people and use things, but materialists love things and use people. -Randy Alcorn

· Adversity is sometimes hard upon a man, but for one man who can stand prosperity, there are a hundred that will stand adversity. -Thomas Carlyle

· God is not glorified when we keep for ourselves (no matter how thankfully) what we ought to be using to alleviate the misery of unevangelized, uneducated, unmedicated, and unfed millions. The evidence that many professing Christians have been deceived by this doctrine is how little they give and how much they own. God has prospered them. And by an almost irresistible law of consumer culture (baptized by a doctrine of health, wealth, and prosperity) they have bought bigger (and more) houses, newer (and more) cars, fancier (and more) clothes, better (and more) meat, and all manner of trinkets and gadgets and containers and devices and equipment to make life more fun. They will object: Does not the Old Testament promise that God will prosper his people? Indeed! God increases our yield, so that by giving we can prove our yield is not our god. God does not prosper a man's business so he can move from a Ford to a Cadillac. God prospers a business so that 17,000 unreached peoples can be reached with the gospel. He prospers the business so that 12% of the world's population can move a step back from the precipice of starvation. -John Piper

· "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot -- He wasn't saying he didn't want treasure, just that he didn't want the kind you lose! -Randy Alcorn

· What do we value most? What would we most hate to lose? What do our thoughts turn to most frequently when we are free to think of what we will? And finally, what affords us the greatest pleasure? -A.W. Tozer

Modern Christian Thinkers

· George Barna: "In the competitive market for people's donations, you cannot assume that just because someone attends your church they will support it financially. In this well-researched study of donation habits in congregations, Barna describes the six major motivations for donating; the best practices of the best-funded churches in America; and a practical and biblical approach to raising ministry funds. (How to Increase Giving in Your Church: A Practical Guide to the Sensitive Task of Raising Money for Your Church or Ministry George Barna. Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1997.)

· Chuck Bentley, "Crown Financial Ministries' survey of 513 churches from 42 states indicates that the graduates of its programs increased their annual giving to the church an average of 69.5 percent. Also, 28 percent indicated their annual giving increased to at least 10 percent of their gross income. All of this was done without a capital campaign, a pledge drive or a sermon series. Crown executive Chuck Bentley explains how a church can implement a discipleship program through trained volunteers that goes to the root issues of spiritual problems, financial challenges and lack of biblical knowledge." (Out of Sight, but Not out of Minds! Chuck Bentley. Breakout session presented at the Exponential '04 Conference for Pastors, Generous Giving's joint conference with Crown Financial Ministries, Alpharetta, Ga., September 21, 2004.)

· Randy Pope, "In this combination of lecture and testimony, Randy Pope, pastor of Perimeter Church in Duluth, Ga., tells us that an essential part of his learning to be generous has been his learning to be increasingly Christ-centered in all of life. When we truly realize that we lost it all, that Christ alone did it all for us, and that we gain it all because of Christ, we will have the motivation to give it all back to Him. Knowing that we have received what we have from Christ, we will respond to whatever God gives us with an open hand-ready and willing to give what He asks of us. Pope concludes that the best way pastors can create a culture of generosity in their churches is by emphasizing the Christ-centeredness of the steward's life. (Creating a Culture of Generosity in the Local Church Randy Pope. Speech delivered at the Exponential '04 Conference for Pastors, Generous Giving's joint conference with Crown Financial Ministries, Alpharetta, Ga., September 21, 2004).

· Ken Williams, a laymen who believes that the reason Christians don't give to their church is not because of apathy but because of ignorance-"they have never been taught what God's word says about good stewardship. So he set out to design a simple stewardship program that sows the the seed of Scripture in the church on a year-round basis. The results in his own church were remarkable-with giving increasing 32 percent. Since then over 1,500 churches have used his system to heighten their congregation's awareness of biblical principles concerning their money, material possessions and giving, which usually leads to an increase in overall financial support of the church. In this interview Williams explains how his work benefits pastors, churches and their members." (Interview with Ken Williams by Generous Giving. Generous Giving Journal, Pastors Edition, October 2003.)

· Rick Warren, "One of the single-most important tasks of leadership is to teach people to give." In this speech to fellow pastors, Rick Warren says that people will give to the church when they: (1) trust the leadership, (2) catch the vision for giving, (3) learn to feel the joy of giving, (4) observe models of generous giving, (5) involve themselves in the church, (6) are asked to give, (7) are taught how to give and (8) feel that their gifts are appreciated. Therefore, teaching on giving should focus on developing these things in a congregation. Teaching on giving should not be limited to formal sermons but, rather, should be a part of the daily life of a church-from the examples set by the church leadership to practical teaching on managing finances to celebrations of God's work in the church. If pastors are going to be successful in training their congregation to be generous in their giving, they must continually teach and model these things to their people. (Teaching Your People to Be Generous Rick Warren. Speech delivered at the Exponential '04 Conference for Pastors, Generous Giving's joint conference with Crown Financial Ministries, Alpharetta, Ga., September 21, 2004.)

The results correspond to my hypotheses, with another aspect of interest. It seems apathy is a paramount problem governing the behaviors of Christian stewardship practice! The interesting point is Good Christian stewardship seems from these leaders to always be in a state of decline!

© Research from 2001- 2004, revised 2007 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development www.churchleadership.org/

© 2007 - 2018 Institute of Church Leadership Development - All Rights Reserved.
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