Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Pennies Count!

I was walking across the parking lot of a mall the other day and discovered that many pennies could be found. The number of pennies were so numerous that I paused in my daily tasks and went penny hunting. After just 1 hour of casually walking the parking lot, I had more than three dollars of pennies to take to the bank. Granted, I do not think that I will spend many more hours hunting for pennies at the mall but what a powerful example of just how poorly we view money and stewardship.

Turn on your television and you will see several commercials explaining how you can save enough money to support their organization. The approach they use is that for just .60 cents per day...! You have seen those haven't you. The message of the commercials for groups trying to raise money are actually causing people to think. We as leaders in the church should be doing the same. From missions to special projects, pennies count. I wonder sometimes how much money we literally throw away each year. How many people could be reached with the Gospel of Jesus if we only realized that PENNIES DO COUNT! If one mall parking lot contains more than $3, I wonder what else could be found. And then there is the money that we waste on "things" that really are not essential. It does add up quickly.

I pray that we will become better stewards of all that God has given to us.

Praying with and for you - Eklund Leadership Team

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Intentional Stewardship

Rebate checks are in the mail or flowing into bank accounts as I write this. Many families will be receiving a rather large "gift" and are also trying to decide how to spend it? It got me to thinking when one of my sons asked what we would be doing with our "gift"? I asked him in return what he thought about it. Funny that his first response was a question asked backed to me - how much is it? When I shared what I thought it might be, he immediately had a few ideas. He walked me through his plan and even came down to how much money would be left after the plan was implemented. The I hit him with a shocker - what about the tithe?

Like my son, few people think about being a steward in times like this. Do you? Have you shared with your people this specific thought - don't forget to tithe on your rebates?

Intentional Stewardship is what our people need! We have lost this in our current culture. I have senior adults and parents who would have thought about the tithe immediately. Why do most of our younger people NOT?

We are not intentional when it comes to Stewardship.

Think of some creative ways that you can share with your people how they can teach their children and grandchildren about being intentional in the area of stewardship. They will thank you for it years later!

And that, I can promise you!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Lesson 2 of our Energy Crisis

Today I filled up a gas tank used to supply our lawnmower and weed eater. Shocking was the experience. Did you ever think it would take $15 to mow the grass and trim the walks and drive for a month? Welcome to 2008 and the high price of gasoline.

In our first lesson, we listed several things that we leaders can share with our people that will assist them in making wise choices concerning spending and stewardship. Today, we will highlight one thought that each in the list encompasses. It is the issue of our culture in America changing due to the energy crisis.

Culture changing is difficult. Money will however do more in this area than we ever imagined. With all the ills of our culture - many of them rooted in poor "culture driven habits" facilitated with poor stewardship, just maybe God is going to finally wake us up. What things in our lives are the most valuable? What is it we treasure more than anything?

We can lead our people in this prioritizing. In fact, as leaders we must. Our use of video messages and simple thoughts given verbally and in writing will help accomplish this. Plan these out this summer. As the price at the pump continues to rise, get a jump on this for your families before school begins in the fall.

It will also help your Finance/Stewardship teams in your ministry. Some Pastors are already nervous about budget planning for next year. Remember that the greatest thing you can do for your people is to teach and create an atmosphere of stewardship in their lives and in the life of your church. Our culture is changing! We can not afford to allow the ministry of the Gospel to suffer.

May God find us faithful in leading our people. It may just be the greatest gift we could have ever received. Stewardship is now in the forefront of every ones minds!

Remember, we are praying with and for you!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Lesson 1 of our Energy Crisis

The Bible says that the tithes and offerings belong to the Lord. With that applied, our application begins by making those gifts first on our lists each month (week etc.). Today people are looking at the gas pump first. They then quickly move to the other bills and needs and finally end up with the "giving" category. Not much is left by this time.

How do we respond to this mentality as leaders?

Share with your people simple principles to reduce their costs. Here are a few ideas:

1. Make prioritzed trips - reduce wasted driving time.
2. Cut back on eating out. You spend money on food and gas!
3. Change your meal plans. The "easy fix" meals cost more. Our family loves the "family cook" approach. It is fun and I have two boys who will be able to cook - thus make their future wives very happy!
4. Implement good buying practices. Wait when you see something you want. You may find you really do not want it later.
5. Cut back on heating and cooling. We can all stand it a little bit cooler and some what warmer.
6. Sale your junk! You probably did not need it when you bought it. We just did this. It was fun and the reduction in clutter is really nice.
7. Remember that buying a car with better gas mileage may save you money at the pump but it will also increase your expenses. The result? You end up spending more! Do not go out and buy a car just for gas mileage.
8. Get out of debt! It may take some time - but make the time!

Teaching these and many more will help your people change their focus and help them preserve the Biblical disciplines of giving the tithes and offerings. We cannot afford to stop the giving of these, even if gas hits $5 per gallon.

Remember, we are praying with and for you!
Let us know if we can assist you!

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Energy Crisis and Giving - Not a time to RETREAT!

Now open for comments!
Monday gas hit a national average of $4 per gallon. Pastors have already asked me today about the effects on their offerings and attendance. Will there be lower giving? Will people find an easy excuse for not participating? What about special projects?

These are valid questions. Yet at the forefront should be an understanding that we need now more than ever to be teaching STEWARDSHIP. People are already making adjustments in there lifestyles. The key is in making the RIGHT adjustments. As we in America experience a period of economic adjustment, the church should realize the need to be out in front in teaching how to make this adjustment in a Biblical manner.

What are your thoughts? As a leader, are you feeling nervous about the plan God has given you in His ministry assignment? One Pastor shared this morning (here at the SBC Convention) his concerns and how God simply revealed during his prayer time today, that it was a time to excercise faith for him personally. This lesson led him to ask specific questions concerning how to teach and what simple things could be done to aid in bringing Biblical Stewardship to the forefront.

Do you have a plan?

Later this week, we will reveal and discuss some simple teaching moments that can be used with your people to assist them in making this adjustment. It is not time to retreat. It is time to get back to basic Biblical Stewardship!

Eklund Stewardship is...
Praying with and for you!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Capital Fund Ministry - A CAUTION sign to read!

Question: Should the Pastor and church lead their own campaign?

Pastors and church leaders often debate the issue about leading their own Capital Fund Campaign. The questions range from saving money to preventing the harming of church members (bruising the fruit). It is not difficult to look around and see many Pastors of large churches conducting their own campaigns and some even offering “do it yourself” seminars. The temptation is there and the battle of the decision taxes the mind. Poor experiences with Commercial Capital Fund companies also play in the equation. What should a Pastor do? What is the best approach?

Eklund Stewardship Ministries has a deep understanding of the issues and factors being considered. We have been there. We find that the results of Pastor led campaigns tell the real story. First, the actual monies raised, versus pledged, are normally far less than what is possible. Pledges may be high on the front end but actual dollars in the bank are lower. Second, many Pastors are labeled as "preachers who only want money" when they lead the campaign themselves. This is simple - they are the main spokesman and leader in the church. This labeling can hurt future ministry and cost the church new families who may be visiting the church during the campaign period. Third, statistics show that many who lead their own campaigns do not stay in their current ministries long after the campaign. Fourth, Eklund Stewardship Ministries understands the need to protect the church budget during the Capital Fund Ministry. Our approach extensively addresses this issue through our teaching and training times during the intensive phase and continues the protection during the follow up period of the campaign. We lay a Biblical foundation that keeps this in the forefront of the hearts and minds of the people during and after the campaign. Through the training, big events, and follow up, the Eklund approach emphasizes developing the principles of Biblical Stewardship to the entire church family. Fifth, Eklund Stewardship Ministries experience affords the church the advantage of knowing (how to do, what to say, and when to do it), the processes that need to be done in order to conduct a successful campaign ministry. We are able to lead your church in knowing what NOT to do, which is a common weakness in Pastor led approaches. We become partners with your church leadership. We help keep your campaign on track and maintain the Biblical principles throughout.

At Eklund Stewardship Ministries, we conduct a Biblical approach to Capital Fund Ministry, and our approach is designed to eliminate the often heard horror stories of typical commercial approaches. Think about this: do you think of REVIVAL while thinking about your Capital Fund Needs? At Eklund Stewardship, we do! Revival is our focus. For without a God sent REVIVAL, the capital raised will be meaningless.

We look forward to the opportunity to share with you the difference that many Pastors have already learned - Capital Fund Ministry when done right will produce more than money. It will result in revival, new leaders, increases in commitment by God's people and a pleasant experience accomplishing God's vision for your church by building a culture of giving.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Welcome to Stewards For Him

This is the initial blog post of this new endeaver. In conjunction with Eklund Stewardship Ministries, this blog will feature posts pertaining to the greatest challenge and most misunderstood Biblical discipline of our day - Stewardship. Here you will find articles and insight from some of the greatest preachers and teachers of Stewardship.

Our culture has lost the discipline of being a steward. The Bible has much to say about how God has blessed us and how we are given the great opportunity and responsibility of being stewards of His blessings. Should we in America fail to correct our current path in this area, soon families and churches will be in financial ruin. We pray that this blog can be part of the solution and help in turning us back to God in the area of stewardship.

Eklund Stewardship Ministries is the premier ministry today in assisting churches in this vital area. Our leadership team is filled with Pastors who are called to Stewardship and equiped to assist others. Here at Stewards For Him, you will find weekly articles on subjects that you can put to use in your daily life and in the life of your church. You will find resources from Pastors doing the work and seeing the fruit in their stewardship teaching. We look forward to hearing from you and cherish the opportunity of learning together how we can truly be great STEWARDS of all God has blessed us with.

Eklund Stewardship Leadership Team