Pastor, How’s Your Personal Stewardship?

Pastor, how does your personal stewardship look? (Lightstock)

Have you ever had to confront a pastor or a member of your ministry staff team about not exercising their personal stewardship of giving? I have, and it is one of the most difficult conversations you will ever have with one of your so-called spiritual leaders.

Perhaps you assumed they would give since they are called of God. Or, maybe they even testified to you they were very committed to personal biblical stewardship. Then you were informed later by a financial leader in your church that biblical stewardship was not being practiced by this spiritual leader. This was very disheartening as a leader, and you were placed in a situation to confront them. That awkward conversation usually means things will never be the same again.

Today, I want to give you some tips to consider in your church relating to your pastors and ministry staff leaders and giving:

1. Clearly establish your expectations. When you interview any pastor or ministry staff leader, always clearly establish your expectations. For example, we make it very clear: "We expect you to honor God with at least the first tenth of your entire salary and income by giving it to the Lord through our church. Do you do this now and will you do so when you join our team?"

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Usually, you can clearly tell their practice. If they practice personal financial stewardship, they typically joyfully articulate their personal commitment to fulfilling biblical stewardship. If they question you or choose to debate or justify past practices, even though they promise a fresh commitment to stewardship when they join your team, you have a choice to make. What should you do?

Personally, I choose to walk away from any potential pastor or ministry staff team leader who does not practice personal financial stewardship. If they cannot trust God in this area of their life, he or she is not worthy of your trust with a ministry responsibility in your church. This is completely unacceptable by any pastor or ministry team leader. Therefore, you must communicate clearly that you will not allow any pastor or ministry team leader on your staff who walks in disobedience to God in this area of life and ministry.

2. Clearly communicate that you will monitor the personal stewardship of your staff team or any pastoral leader. I do realize this may sound very strong to some of you, even resulting in some disagreeing with this practice; however, we must hold our pastors and ministry staff leaders accountable in their biblical stewardship. If someone is not giving to God biblically, they have no business in leading any ministry and must certainly forfeit their role as a minister.

Personally, I do not want any pastor or ministry staff team leader on my team who is dishonoring God. We cannot afford to trust anyone who is not trusting God. This is personal deception and completely unacceptable.

Usually once or twice a year, our financial leaders check on all giving practices of our pastors and ministry staff team leaders. If they are not fulfilling this practice, we confront them immediately, expecting immediate repentance and restoration. If they refuse or say they cannot, then soon this staff relationship will cease with our fellowship. We are gracious, but also firm and clear.

3. Expect any pastor or ministry team leader to lead your church in financial commitment and giving. When a pastor or ministry team leader is walking with Christ passionately and growing in their faith, they will want to lead the way in the church, including their commitment to financial support. Of course, this is in relationship to their income, not in comparison with someone who makes more than them or less than them.

When we go into any financial program beyond Ministry Budget giving, we expect our pastors and ministry team leaders to lead the way in over and above giving. We cannot expect our laypeople to go to levels of giving that we as ministers are not willing to go to ourselves.

Each year when we adopt a new ministry budget in our church, Jeana and I evaluate our financial giving and move it upward. All these years in ministry, we have done this and after all this time, our financial support to our ministry is way beyond what would be the expectation of any of our team members. Personally, we would have it no other way.

Lead the Way

Therefore, pastor and ministry staff leader, lead the way in your church. No one, and I mean no one, should be more passionate about personal biblical stewardship than you. God always blesses His pastors and ministry team leaders when they practice biblical stewardship. By the way, you cannot out give God.

As you shovel it out to Him, He shovels it back to you. Always remember these words: His shovel is always bigger than yours.

Dr. Ronnie Floyd has been a pastor for over 37 years. Since 1986, Pastor Floyd has served as the senior pastor of Cross Church, Northwest Arkansas, which has baptized over 17,000 people during his tenure. Cross Church was one of the first churches in America to go multi-site. In June 2014, Pastor Floyd was elected President of the Southern Baptist Convention. He has authored over 20 books including FORWARD: 7 Distinguishing Marks For Future Leaders, releasing in 2015.

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