Stewardship in the Bible: A Definitive Guide for Churches

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “Stewardship” as “the responsible use of resources, especially money, time, and talents, in the service of God.” But what does that look like in action? What is stewardship in the Bible? And what examples does the Bible provide to guide us? In this article, we’re looking at examples of stewardship…

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Stewardship in the Bible: A Definitive Guide for Churches

stewardship in the bible

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “Stewardship” as “the responsible use of resources, especially money, time, and talents, in the service of God.” But what does that look like in action? What is stewardship in the Bible? And what examples does the Bible provide to guide us?

In this article, we’re looking at examples of stewardship in the bible that can help you inspire generosity in yourselves and others.

  1. How Does the Bible Define Stewardship?
  2. What is Stewardship in Fundraising?
  3. 5 Great Examples of Stewardship from the Bible
  4. 6 Ways to Inspire Generosity in People through Messages of Stewardship
  5. BonusIntentional Stewardship | 5 Key Tips for Your Church

How Does the Bible Define Stewardship?

Stewardship in the Bible often refers to caring for the people, animals, land, and other resources that God has created. In other words, it’s caring for something on God’s behalf because the act of caring enriches our lives.

Stewarding can look like a lot of actions in our modern world: watching someone’s children for them, picking up trash at your local beach, or simply tithing weekly at church.

What is Stewardship in Fundraising?

When we use the term “steward” while talking about fundraising, we’re usually referring to building lasting, mutually valuable relationships with our donors.

Churches have the same responsibility when it comes to their congregation. To be good stewards of God’s word and purpose, churches should strive to enrich the lives of their congregations through community and weekly sermons.

But your congregants have a role to play in this relationship, too. Giving, volunteering, and otherwise supporting the church helps steward a long-lasting relationship with God.

They help make your work possible by providing financial and service-based assistance. Without their stewardship, your church couldn’t thrive – and without their relationship to your church, your congregants miss out on value.

Saints Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church uses the below stewardship commitment form (a donation form created on Donorbox and added as a popup to the website) to accept its supporters’ stewardship toward the church.

church stewardship

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5 Great Examples of Stewardship from the Bible

Let’s look at some examples of stewardship that can guide you in our religious practice and in how you ask your congregants to participate in church life.

1. Noah’s Ark

After being called on by God in the face of the great flood, Noah became the steward of all animals. He was called to build his ark to help every species on Earth survive the great flood.

Noah was responsible not only to God, for answering his call – but to all creatures on Earth to steward them through the flood.

This story teaches us that we must accept the responsibilities God tasks us with. And one of those responsibilities is to be good stewards of the people and creatures around us.

2. The Mustard Seed

Jesus tells a parable of a man planting a mustard seed. Even though the seed is small, it grows into one of the largest plants. Eventually it becomes a tree with branches on which birds can perch.

Jesus compares the small mustard seed to Heaven – meaning that if we’re good stewards of the small gifts we’ve been given, we can turn them into something even greater that can support others around us.

3. Moses Giving the Land a Break

God advised Moses to let his people farm their land for six years. However, he advised that they should take a break in the seventh year to give the land time to recover. His word helped Moses steward the land and keep it from being overfarmed.

If we care for the resources the Lord provides, we can have them forever – but if we let greed get in our way, we might lose them forever.

4. Gideon’s Army

The story of Gideon and his army teaches us to steward value over quantity. Gideon starts with an army of 30,000 men. When God tells him that’s too many, Gideon asks any men who are afraid to return home. This leaves him with 10,000 men. God then tests the men by having them drink from the river – those who lap at the water are also sent home, leaving just 300 men for Gideon to take a city with.

This story shows how to be moderate with glory. Gideon stewards his army in the way God requires because he trusts him – and that trust pays off with a battle won.

5. Moses Guiding the Freed People

Moses stewarded the freed people of Israel both from their bondage and through their wandering in the wilderness. Even when it was difficult and the people complained, Moses helped guide them and prayed on their behalf.

Stewarding is a necessary part of life, even when it’s difficult. Caring for one another is a key part of God’s message and a vital assignment of all who follow Him.

6 Ways to Inspire Generosity in People through Messages of Stewardship

1. Tell effective stories of stewardship

One way to inspire generosity is to show the impact of stewardship. Storytelling can be such an effective fundraising tool because it demonstrates the value of your work through a medium that automatically inspires empathy.

And nothing does a better job of illustrating the importance of stewardship than a story where stewarding changed someone’s life.

Has your church helped a community member turn their life around? What ongoing projects are allowing you to be good stewards of the community?

Telling these stories – with a clear call to action explaining how other congregants can get involved – inspires more generosity.

Pro tip: Your online donation page is a great space to share your stories of stewardship. Check out how Delta Church reminds supporters that their contributions have a real impact when it comes to being stewards of our fellow man.

church storytelling in campaign

2. Reward good stewards

One way to show the importance of stewardship is to reward good stewards, of course!

Hosting volunteer appreciation events shows the stewards of your congregation that you know how vital they are to your church. It spreads the message that stewards are valuable in the eyes of God – and helps encourage other members of your congregants to step forward and volunteer.

Volunteer appreciation events are also great opportunities to fundraise in fun ways like raffles, auctions, and more. Although volunteers should of course get free admission, you can also sell tickets to non-volunteers who want in on the fun.

3. Remember the power of the small

Stewarding isn’t some grand gesture. It’s the day-to-day practice of small acts of care to make the world a better place. There’s power in the small, especially when we all come together.

Crowdfunding campaigns are an excellent way to illustrate this point. Even if someone can’t afford to give a large donation to your church, they can work together with other members of the community to give smaller amounts and have a lasting impact.

Donorbox Crowdfunding makes creating a crowdfunding campaign for your church simple and effective. Powerful add-ons like a goal thermometer, donor wall, a dedicated “updates” tab, a subscription button for visitors, and a popup donation form help get you more donations.

Pro tip: Use a campaign goal meter to show how, like grains of sand, small contributions can add up to make a big difference. See how this ministry in Europe has used its crowdfunding campaign on Donorbox – and successfully surpassed the fundraising goal of $30,000 with a whopping 1700+ donations from its supporters!

church crowdfunding campaign

Create a Crowdfunding Campaign

4. Encourage stewarding the community

Just as the small is powerful when we come together, the small can be powerful when we encourage others to do what’s right.

Peer-to-peer fundraising is another way to share the message of stewardship to inspire generosity. A member of your church can choose to fundraise on your behalf, asking their peers to become stewards of your church’s finances. This creates a sense of community and might even connect your church with new people.

Donorbox Peer-to-Peer helps your church set up quick peer-to-peer campaigns by inviting your supporters to fundraise right from the tool. They receive invitations to sign up and customize their own fundraising pages. They will share these pages with their networks, boost donations, and help you reach more people in the community.

Look at how Richard Parker, a supporter of Allen Temple AME Church, helped raise donations for the church while also helping others in his network become stewards of the church.

peer to peer fundraising for church

Boost Donations With Donorbox Peer-to-Peer!

5. Demonstrate financial stewardship

Part of being a good steward of financial support is demonstrating transparency. This means being transparent about where contributions go and properly acknowledging when you receive them.

This is where automated receipts and thank you letters come in. Whenever someone gives to your church, they should automatically receive a fully customized receipt.

Donorbox lets you send automated donation receipt emails for all campaigns and you get to customize the email with a personalized thank-you message for donors. Here’s what it looks like to customize receipts from the Donorbox dashboard –

customized donation receipts

Plus, if contributions to your church are tax deductible, you’re legally required to provide a tax receipt with all necessary information. With Donorbox, you also get to send year-end tax receipts to your donors that include an email message and a PDF attachment of total donations.

The more open you are about your finances, the more your supporters can trust that you’re being good stewards of your church!

6. Stewardship is recurring

The thing about stewardship in the bible is that it isn’t a one-time act – it’s an ongoing practice. You might even say…it’s recurring!

Use the message of stewardship in the Bible to encourage your supporters to become recurring donors. This means they’re tithing on a regular basis, based on an interval that’s comfortable for them.

Donorbox Recurring Donations allows you to add multiple recurring intervals to your church donation form. You can choose from daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly intervals and highlight one of them as your preferred one. Your recurring donors will be able to login to their own accounts to manage their recurring plans and download receipts.

With plenty of other customization options, our form helps your supporters find a simple and quick way to become recurring stewards of your church. Check out this live example from the Carl Joseph Ministries.

church recurring donations

Build Customized Recurring Donation Forms

Bonus – Intentional Stewardship | 5 Key Tips for Your Church

Creating stronger and emotional connection with your supporters, building trust among people, keeping them engaged with effective communication, and more – intentional stewardship is the best way to harness the power of donor relationships and boost fundraising! Take just 10 minutes to learn to devise a successful stewardship strategy –

Get Started With Donorbox

Final Thoughts

The Bible presents several great examples of stewardship to guide us in managing our church. Being responsible for the people and things God has provided us with is both our privilege and our duty.

We must be great stewards of our community, and in return, they will provide us with care and support. Using messages of stewardship can inspire further generosity by demonstrating how important small acts of care and kindness can be in the long run.

Donorbox helps thousands of churches modernize their tithing and collection boxes with tools you can set up in just 15 minutes. Our features range from Customizable Donation Forms and Pages to Recurring Donations to Text-to-Give to Events to Memberships to QuickDonate to many more. Explore them on the website.

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Find hundreds of useful fundraising and donor stewardship guides and tips on the Donorbox Nonprofit Blog. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive a handpicked collection of our best resources every month in your inbox!

Lindsey Baker

Lindsey spent years wearing many hats in the nonprofit world. Whether she was helping arts nonprofits with their messaging and content, planning a fundraising gala, writing an NEA grant proposal, or running a membership program with over 400 members, she learned how to navigate – and appreciate! – the fast-paced world of fundraising. Now, she loves sharing those hard-earned lessons with the Donorbox community.

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