How to Create Your Stewardship Language and Why You Need To

by | March 7, 2018

How does your church talk about money and giving?

More to the point, what does your church believe about stewardship and generosity?


Growing a culture of giving and generosity requires your church to have a common stewardship language.

Money is tangled up in a person’s sense of identity and self-worth. Culturally, money is connected to power, influence, ownership, position, relationships, personal identity and more. Such issues are deep matters! A shallow understanding of stewardship, or a multitude of undefined ideas that spill all over the map, will not meaningfully speak to what people actually wrestle with in their lives and in their hearts. To talk about difficult (and sometimes painful) money issues, we need to dive deeply -- openly and honestly unpacking our money baggage.

Each church should invest time, energy, and prayer developing their own stewardship language. The church must figure out what it believes before it can help people understand stewardship as a primary tenet of discipleship. If your church has no clear language for stewardship, how will you teach about God’s call to be generous? If your church cannot express what it believes about stewardship, how will your people grow to be good stewards?

Most churches have (well) spent tons of time developing a mission statement to express who they are, what they believe, and what their purpose is. Has your church devoted any time to creating a stewardship statement?

Stewardship statements create a common language for conversations about giving.

Start your conversation with these 11 great questions:

  1. What does the church believe about stewardship (biblically, practically, individually, and corporately)?
  2. How might the church define good stewardship to a person who is new in faith?
  3. Does the church understand stewardship as a shared calling, a nice habit, a private duty, a conversion experience (see the Zaccheus story), or something else?
  4. Why give? Who or what am I giving to? What is the purpose of giving?
  5. Is giving characterized by honoring, loving, cheerfulness, generosity, tithing, my all, sacrifice, habit, ownership, discipline, gratefulness, duty, dedication, grace, joy, blessing, or something else?
  6. Does the church intentionally and consistently create opportunities to preach and teach about stewardship, or is preaching about money taboo?
  7. Does church staff model good stewardship?
  8. Could church members describe what the church believes about stewardship? Is there a common understanding of what it means to be God's steward?
  9. Are (lay) church leaders expected to practice what the church believes about stewardship?
  10. How does the church intentionally teach new members about its stewardship beliefs and expectations?
  11. Does your church, as an organization, practice and exemplify good stewardship?

Stewardship has no single prescribed definition. Through study and reflection, you will discover your church’s particular stewardship language. By engaging in an intentional, thoughtful, and honest conversation about stewardship, you will discover God’s call to be good stewards in your context. Seek and you will find.  This first discernment step is critical for any path towards real change.


To begin, gather your leadership and reflect on three questions:

  1. What do I believe about stewardship?
  2. What do we believe together about stewardship?
  3. How will we practice and talk about stewardship as a church community?

Take the challenge. Start by having an open and reflective conversation with your leadership about stewardship. Work out what you believe, and determine how you intend to practice good stewardship. Create a sermon series to share your stewardship language with the congregation. Involve the entire congregation in a similar study to deepen their knowledge and understanding.

If you are interested in receiving a stewardship statement template, reply to Or if your church works through the process of creating a stewardship statement, send it to We will pass along what we learn from all of you in a future post.


  1. Joel

    Great blog, Mick!

  2. Mick, great blog, as usual. Working through the same issues with my Catholic clients right now. Remember those days at RSI?

  3. This is terrific for churches! Any ideas on the 11 questions to ask school principals to create a common language around stewardship within our Catholic schools? Appreciate any help!

    • Kristine Miller

      Cynthia, This is a great question! I have asked a couple of our experts to reply to your question. Will get back to you asap. Thank you!


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Everything you need to inspire generosity.


Are You Ready for a Capital Campaign?

How do you know if you are ready to launch a capital campaign?  


Kristine Miller, CFRE, Horizons’ Senior Partner, discusses the five important steps you should take prior to launching a capital campaign to ensure successful results.


In this latest video from Horizons’ Giving Intelligence Series, Kristine discusses five actions to take prior to launching a campaign for any project such as building, restoration, debt, missions, endowment, or any other capital needs. Has your church leadership wondered whether or not you’re ready to go? If so, this brief video will provide the insights and answers you are looking for.


If you missed other installments of the Giving Intelligence Series, click the titles below. Also, sign up for Giving365 in order to access these and other helpful videos as well as more free stewardship resources including insightful eBooks!

Three Reasons Americans Choose to Give

The Power of Thanks: Four Practical Ministry Funding Impact Strategies

Who Should Have Access to the Giving Records

Three Pockets of Giving


To access more of Horizons’ free stewardship resources, click the Giving365 logo below.
Giving365 - Blog - Horizons - church stewardship resource

A Story of Faith and Transformation You Need to Know

In 2016, St. Andrew, Plano, Texas, faced a significant challenge. Located in Collin County, Texas, one of the fastest growing areas in the nation, St. Andrew was experiencing growth, especially in their contemporary worship service. As a result, several other areas including children and youth, missions, hospitality, and parking were all being stretched beyond capacity to accommodate growth.

St. Andrew’s Growth Paralleled a Focus on Generosity in Their Core Church Language

However, St. Andrew’s leaders had been preparing for growth through the development of their 30-year master expansion plan. The plan focused on four aspects of church life: worship, connect, serve, and give. As growing pains became more intense, church leaders realized it was time to launch a capital campaign. The funds raised would relieve the pressure by beginning to expand critical ministry areas according to the master plan.

Four key aspects of church life at St. Andrew: Worship, Connect, Serve, and Give


The Church’s Capital Campaign Facilitated its Larger Generosity Strategy

St. Andrew’s Senior Pastor, Robert Hasley, explained, “We hired Horizons to guide us in determining what to include in the first phase of our capital campaign. Through conversations with our ministry and financial leaders, our committed core of members, and ultimately, the entire congregation, we embarked on an ambitious plan. The result is a worship space that switches from a traditional to a contemporary style with almost the touch of a button.

We now have a worship space that switches from a traditional to a contemporary style with almost the touch of a button.

-Senior Pastor Robert Hasley

This change has enabled us to reset quickly while accommodating both traditional and contemporary worship styles. We also created new and improved areas for students,  children, hospitality, and parking. One of the more significant changes was the addition of a dedicated missions wing for The Storehouse of Collin County–an agency birthed in our church that provides services for Collin County residents in need.”

A Successful Capital Campaign Paid Additional Dividends

In the end, St. Andrew exceeded giving expectations in the capital campaign and moved forward with their plans. In addition, the positivity emerging from the capital campaign created a vibrancy and energy that has impacted ministry in all areas. Rev. Hasley says, “Like our namesake, Andrew the Apostle, we’re a community that loves to invite others to Jesus. As we live out our calling to worship, connect, serve and give, we’re witnessing God move through our community in remarkable ways.”

St. Andrew exceeded giving expectations and moved forward with their expansion plans.

St. Andrew’s journey is far from over. God continues to call the congregation to live out their mission, “Calling the “Christian-ish” to become passionate servants of Christ.”

For more information on the ministry at St. Andrew, Plano, Texas, click here.

To learn more about partnering with Horizons to move your congregation to the next level of generosity, click here.

The Three Pockets of Giving

Are you inviting your members to contribute from all three pockets of giving?

Many churches focus on the annual pocket and neglect to consider the other two–capital and estate pockets. In this next video in the Giving Intelligence Series, learn about the three pockets of giving and why you should be including all three in your year-round generosity program.



Did you miss the first three installments of the Giving Intelligence Series?  Click the titles below to quickly access them or sign up for Giving365 and access these videos along with many other free stewardship resources.

Three Reasons Americans Choose to Give

The Power of Thanks: Four Practical Ministry Funding Impact Strategies

Who Should Have Access to the Giving Records


To access more of Horizons’ free stewardship resources, click the Giving365 logo below.
Giving365 - Blog - Horizons - church stewardship resource


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