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The Importance of Being a Proper Steward of Church Resources

Updated: Nov 19, 2023


In a church bathed in golden sunlight, a pastor stands before the congregation, symbolizing the stewardship and guidance central to the church's mission.
Illuminated by a higher calling, our pastor leads the congregation in understanding the sacred duty of stewardship over the resources entrusted to us. (c) Joy Church App

Stewardship is a concept deeply rooted in biblical teachings, reminding us that everything we have is a gift from God. From talents to time, from financial resources to physical spaces, the church is endowed with assets that are meant to serve its community and further its mission. However, these resources aren't self-sustaining. They require thoughtful management and responsible use. This blog post aims to explore why proper stewardship of church resources is not just a financial necessity but also a spiritual obligation.


The Biblical Foundation of Stewardship


The Bible emphasizes the importance of good stewardship in many places. In Luke 16:10, we read, "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much." This underscores the importance of responsible management of even the smallest resources because it reflects our character and our relationship with God.


To review how others interpret this passage, see Bible Study Tools' Commentary on Matthew 25:14-30


Why Good Stewardship Matters - Building Trust


One of the most immediate benefits of proper stewardship is the trust it engenders within the community. Transparency in how resources are allocated and utilized creates an environment where congregation members feel confident in their contributions—whether those are financial or otherwise.


Building Trust through Stewardship

One of the most immediate and impactful benefits of proper stewardship in a church setting is the trust it builds within the community. This trust is foundational for a healthy and engaged congregation.


Transparency in Financial Management

Transparency in financial matters is crucial. Providing clear, regular reports on how funds are used not only meets a logistical need but also shows respect for the contributions of the congregation. This can include detailed budget breakdowns, expense reports, and updates on financial goals.


The Council of Nonprofits goes into details about how and why not-for-profit entities such as churches need to be transparent, plus the benefits to all for doing so.


Engaging the Congregation in Decision-Making

Involvement in decision-making processes further fosters trust. This could mean holding regular meetings where financial decisions are discussed, or even using digital platforms to survey members on key decisions. This engagement demonstrates that every member’s voice and contribution is valued.


An article in Word and Way shows the benefits of including congregations in increasingly complex decisions that need to be made.


Utilizing Modern Technology for Transparency

Implementing church management software can streamline this transparency. Software like the Joy Church App allows for real-time financial tracking, accessible to all members, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and can see how their contributions are being utilized.


Building Trust through Accountability

Holding regular financial audits and making the results available to church members enhances trust. Audits should be conducted by independent third parties to ensure objectivity, and the findings should be communicated to the congregation transparently.


Cultivating a Culture of Openness and Integrity

Fostering a culture of openness about the church's finances and operations goes a long way in building trust. This includes being open about challenges and mistakes, as well as successes. Such a culture invites members to be more involved and committed to the church’s mission.


Mission Fulfillment


Every church has a mission, whether it's to spread the word of God, help the less fortunate, or provide a community for spiritual growth. Proper management ensures that resources are available and used in a way that aligns with this mission.


Strategic Planning and Resource Allocation

Strategic planning is essential. This involves setting clear, mission-aligned goals and ensuring that resources are earmarked to achieve these objectives. For example, if a church’s mission is heavily focused on community outreach, a significant portion of the budget should be directed towards outreach programs.


Engaging in strategic planning is no small effort. Philanthropy.com has an article that details not only the difficulties, but remedies on how to effectively getting your Church to plan.


Effective Program Development

Developing programs that align with the church's mission is crucial. This might mean creating new ministries, support groups, or community service initiatives. Each program should have clear objectives, a defined budget, and a way to measure its impact against the church's overall mission.


As written in the article 4 Best Professional Development Practices for Nonprofits on nonprofithub.org, "There are numerous advantages to nonprofit professional development opportunities, including:

  • Increased employee engagement. 87% of millennials say that development opportunities are important to them in a job. In order to engage our employees and continue growing, it’s better to begin these programs sooner. This especially engages the younger generation because it offers room for growth into future positions.

  • Creating a culture of learning. Astron Solutions’ article on employee compensation names nonprofit culture as one of the key elements of a total rewards compensation structure. A culture of learning encourages staff members to remain engaged and pay attention to new opportunities. This keeps their focus on how to develop themselves as well as your mission.

  • Increasing organizational efficiency. The more your staff members learn about the industry, the more improvement opportunities they’ll find. Pay attention to their suggestions and see how providing learning options can help you succeed.

  • Helping staff grow in their roles. You love your team and we know you want them to succeed. By providing them with nonprofit professional development opportunities your staff can hone their skills, become stronger employees, and gain the confidence they need to succeed."


Engaging Members in Mission Activities

Involving congregation members in mission activities not only helps in fulfilling the mission but also strengthens their personal spiritual journey. Whether it's through volunteering, financial contributions, or participating in church-led initiatives, engagement ensures that the mission is a collective effort.


Monitoring and Evaluating Impact

Regularly monitoring and evaluating the impact of church activities on the mission is vital. This can be done through feedback surveys, community impact studies, and regular reporting to the congregation. Understanding the impact helps in refining strategies and ensuring that the mission remains the central focus.


See how Charity Navigator defines its evaluation framework to measure the effectivelness of not-for-profit organizations.


Leveraging Technology for Mission Advancement

Modern technology, such as church management software, can play a pivotal role in mission fulfillment. These tools can assist in managing donations, organizing volunteer activities, and communicating with members, thus enhancing mission effectiveness.


Long-term Sustainability


Good stewardship in a church context extends far beyond merely meeting immediate needs. It involves foresighted planning and strategic resource management to ensure long-term sustainability and adaptability.


Establishing Financial Reserves

One of the key aspects of sustainability is establishing a financial reserve or emergency fund. This fund can support the church in times of unforeseen financial challenges, ensuring that its operations and mission are not compromised.


Responding to Financial Realities by Vonna Laue in Churchlawandtax.com says, "70 percent of churches probably came in above or below their adopted budgets. Coming right in on budget usually is the exception, not the rule.


That means it is smart to create contingency budgets that define what will happen if various changes in funding occur during the year at your church. From a primary budget, build one that is a certain percentage lower and build another that is a certain percentage higher. Doing this can minimize controversy later. If you find yourself above or below budget, you’re already ready to act with cuts or additions based on the overall vision of the church—not on the basis of who asks or complains the loudest."


Investing in Long-term Assets

Investing in long-term assets, such as property or endowments, can provide stability and financial security for the church. These assets can become sources of income or serve strategic purposes in the church’s long-term vision.


Maintenance and Upkeep of Physical Resources

Regular maintenance and upkeep of church properties and resources prevent costly repairs and replacements in the future. This includes buildings, equipment, and other physical assets that the church relies on for its operations and activities.


Diversifying Income Streams

Diversifying income streams, such as rental income, fundraising events, and grants, can provide additional financial security. This diversification helps the church not to rely solely on tithes and offerings.


offers a guide to walk you through ten different income sources for nonprofit organizations, with key components to consider and resources to explore.


Adapting to Changing Circumstances

The ability to adapt to changing circumstances, like demographic shifts or cultural changes, is vital for long-term sustainability. This might involve updating ministry approaches, embracing new technologies, or reevaluating community needs. Building Ambidexterity into an Organization from Harvard Business Review gives practical examples of companies that utilized change to make their organizations better in the long run.


Training and Developing Leadership

Investing in the training and development of church leaders ensures that there is a succession plan in place. Strong leadership is crucial for guiding the church through both present challenges and future opportunities.


Spiritual Integrity


As spiritual leaders and members of a faith-based community, there is a higher calling to manage God's resources wisely. Poor stewardship not only impacts the church's mission but also can tarnish its spiritual integrity.


Practical Steps for Better Stewardship


  1. Budget Wisely: Create a transparent and realistic budget that aligns with the church's goals.

  2. Regular Audits: Make it a practice to regularly review financial statements and other resource allocations.

  3. Community Involvement: Involve the community in decisions about how resources are used. This can be done through annual meetings or stewardship campaigns.

  4. Invest in Sustainability: Consider investments that offer long-term benefits, such as energy-efficient upgrades.

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