You’ve probably heard stewardship talked about from the standpoint of talents. Are you offering your personal time and talents to God? Are you using what he gave you for his glory?
What we don’t talk about so often is assessing our unique contribution corporately, not just as individuals. What is your local church called to steward? What has God given you as a body, that he would ask you to invest into the world?
When church congregations start to ask these questions, powerful, transformational things can happen in their local communities.
That's why the CRM ReFocusing Team takes churches through a process of becoming more intentional in the way they are living out God’s mission together. They lead churches to spend time assessing their own gifts and resources as a church body, and the specific needs and opportunities in their local community. That discernment process with God and each other leads to action—action with more focus in where their energy and resources are invested.
We are often able to accomplish far more for God’s Kingdom together than we can on our own. But that takes effort and intentionality. Here’s one example of what God can accomplish through a church community that stewards their gifts (time, talents, and resources) corporately. It’s a powerful story of God’s Kingdom being made known in a way that could only happen when God’s people come together.
One Church’s Story
A Presbyterian church going through the ReFocusing process realized they had a number of educators in their congregation, so it was a natural thing for them to choose a school as a place to focus their ministry in the community. They identified five schools and began to make contact.
The church was soundly rebuffed on their first two attempts. Those administrators wanted nothing to do with a church. The third school was ambivalent.
When they called the fourth, the principal exclaimed, “My God, you’re an answer to my prayer!” At that time, this school only had one member of the PTA and one home-room with a room parent. So the church provided room parents for every home-room in the school, as well as after-school tutoring, teacher’s aids, a computer lab before school, and a teacher appreciation event every few weeks to thank those people for the sacrifices they make as educators.
One day after several months of this process, the principal called the pastor, her voice full of excitement. “You won’t believe what’s happened! Our kids’ test scores jumped on their last round of standardized tests! It’s never happened in the history of our school! We didn’t know what to make of it so I pulled my faculty together and I said, ‘How can this be?’ The answer: ‘It must be those church people.’”
The Kingdom of God was showing up in a tangible way through the actions of that church.
Since the church started ministering at this school, several of the faculty and staff have become believers in Christ. A number even attend the church, although that was never the church’s motive.
God brought transformation to that public school through his people, to the point where student academic achievement was profoundly and measurably improved, and many people discovered faith in Jesus.
And it began with a process of corporate stewardship—of looking with new awareness at who was in their church and who God might want them to serve.
What would happen if more believers started to think about stewardship and mission as a corporate calling, as something we do better together? Where would the Kingdom of God break through in ways we can’t even imagine?
Begin to pray for your church community to discern God's corporate vision for them. Ask God to reveal his strategies for your church to effectively share his good news and love with others.
Sign up for one of the upcoming ReFocusing trainings; if possible, attend a training with other people from your church body.
The perspectives and story in this post come from the ChurchNEXT ReFocusing Team. ReFocusing runs training workshops to help the Church rediscover a sense of calling and purpose in the mission of God. You can learn more on their website.