This past Sunday I finished a three-part stewardship series. While I try to do a stewardship series every 12-18 months, I usually vary when I do it (partly out of design & partly out of what is going on in my preaching or in the church).
I had committed to our elders that I would teach on stewardship some time this spring and so April seemed good. And it actually was fun to draw out stewardship themes from Acts (see one of my previous posts).
But I am still struggling with what I didn’t do. For many years, I have always ended any stewardship series with a commitment time. We distribute a card that asks people to commit to tithe over the next year. We do not ask them to put in a dollar amount. We don’t have a financial goal and seek to "raise subscriptions" as it used to be put, to finance the budget. We simply have asked people to commit to tithing and let them stand before God re: whether they keep their word or not.
I remember John Maxwell stressing time and time again that if you don’t ask for a specific commitment, it is useless to preach stewardship sermons. It is like a salesman explaining the product, but not being willing to ask for the sale.
And yet this year I didn’t do so. No card. No appeal to commit to tithe. I simply explained what the word of God said in Acts 2, 3 & 20 and let it go at that. The emphasis was more on generosity than it was with tithing. I will be interested to see how this turns out over the months ahead. I’ll let you know.
What has worked well for you in stewardship teaching /preaching? Do you use a formal commitment card? Has that made a difference? Share with the rest of us please.