For too long the issue of personal stewardship has been neglected in many churches and the results have been detrimental in a consumer-driven society where Americans are pressured to spend, often more than they earn, SBC leaders say.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) – For too long the issue of personal stewardship
has been neglected in many churches and the results have been
detrimental in a consumer-driven society where Americans are pressured
to spend, often more than they earn, SBC leaders say.
“Easy money, credit card debt and consumer debt have become a big
problem not just in American culture but frankly in Southern Baptist
culture,” said Ashley Clayton, associate vice president for stewardship
at the Executive Committee to Baptist Press. “What we’re finding is the
conditions inside the church are not much different than they are
outside the church. Christians are overspending and are in as much
trouble as non-Christians.”
Church leaders including pastors and staff are not immune to the
problem, he added, so the Executive Committee has entered an alliance
with Crown Financial Ministries to help Southern Baptists grasp the
crucial knowledge they need to implement God’s perspective on managing
A key component of the effort is a conference aimed at pastors called
“It’s a New Day,” set for San Antonio March 1-2, Orlando March 22-23
and Atlanta April 12-13.
“What we intend to happen at these conferences is to expose the pastor
to some great resources and to create an awareness of the dilemma that
families are facing,” Clayton said. “What we believe is that the lack
of financial stewardship is what is causing churches to stumble in a
lot of areas.”
People on Sunday motivated to share their faith, many times by Monday
are back to thinking about their financial concerns, Clayton said.
“We want pastors to be aware of what’s going on, and then we want to
put some user-friendly resources in their hands, including materials to
help people get out of debt,” Clayton told BP. “What we’re going to ask
pastors to do at these conferences is to go home and be a catalyst for
change in their church.
“The way we believe a pastor does that is to not tip his hat to it;
it’s where he says, ‘Will you join my wife and I? We’re going to be
going through some personal money management materials and we want you
to go with us.’ It will be good for the pastors and it will certainly
be good for the church.”
The collaborative relationship with Crown Financial Ministries serves as the core of the national stewardship initiative.
“If we are right with the Lord in the area of stewardship, we will be
right with the Lord in the area of the Cooperative Program, and we will
become a giving people by biblical standards,” Morris H. Chapman,
president of the Executive Committee, said.
Crown Financial Ministries is based in Gainesville, Ga. At the
conferences, pastors will be introduced to three main resources
produced by Crown Financial Ministries.
“Pastors and churches have a window of opportunity to give leadership
to this pressing need in their church and community. Churches who
respond quickly, helping individuals and families to get out of debt,
will position their church as relevant and authentic in their
community,” Clayton said.
“The world outside the church already is awakened to this issue,
evidenced by scores of books, radio talk shows and syndicated TV
network programming on the subject.”
For more information or to register for the It’s a New Day conferences, visit www.sbc.net/newday.