A little bit of intentionality goes a long way.
Most churches are very intentional. The worship set is typically planned out days if not weeks ahead of the service. The sermon is prepared, often practiced and reviewed. The message is so intentional that it is often a part of a sermon series that has been carefully planned and coordinated into a cohesive teaching season. Even the announcements have been planned to maximize important upcoming events. The bulletin, sermon notes and other weekend preparations are all very intentional.
And then comes the offering.
Typically, the offering is three minutes of random musings, some thoughtful prayer offered at the end of the announcements and the ushers come forward.
The offering can actually be a very powerful and rewarding time for all when it is carefully planned and intentionally delivered. With the right amount in intentionality the time for the offering can become, Three minutes of Stewardship.
It’s often mentioned that Jesus spoke more about money and giving than heaven and hell combined. This is true; for example, 11 of his 39 parables talk about money in some manner.
Throughout the New Testament, there are a number of principles that are related to stewardship. Just to name a few there is the principle of “storing up your treasure in heaven” (Matthew 6:20), “being trustworthy with worldly wealth” (Luke 16:11), “more blessed to give than receive” (Acts 20:35).
Taking the three minutes spent setting up the offering and intentionally teaching one of these reoccurring stewardship principles can transform a local church. Instead of treating the offering as the transition between the announcements and the sermon, three-minutes-of-stewardship introduces one of the most important components of personal worship, teaches biblical principles that cut to the heart of who is Lord of all, and trains new disciples how to not trust in uncertain riches but to trust in the Living God (1 Timothy 6:17).
Over a short period of time, the three-minutes-of-stewardship becomes a powerful weekly reminder that giving is not about meeting the financial needs of the church but a simple and consistent method to keep our hearts aligned with God.
Teaching stewardship for three minutes doesn’t seem like a long time and it isn’t. It is however, plenty of time to introduce one important Biblical principle. Over a number of weeks, the most applicable verses on stewardship can be shared.
In just three months, the three minutes add up to more than an entire 30-minute sermon on how we become true disciples when we understand the manner in which God wants us to honor him with our entire life, including our uncertain riches.
Ken Behr is an executive pastor at Christ Fellowship, Palm Beach Gardens, FL. [www.gochristfellowship.com]