“You can’t stop now” was my pastor’s reply to my testimony. I was so excited to tell him about the miracles that were taking place in my life since I decided to change some things. That was 27 years ago and looking back now I could never have imagined how prophetic his words would be. What I think he was getting at was that I would not be able to reverse this radical change in direction my life had taken. My 180 degree course correction came as result of him having given me a new way of viewing life and happiness – the Christian stewardship view.
Very early in my journey stewardship quickly became for me a way to not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of my mind! (Romans 12:2)Tweet
I was introduced to stewardship like most people with the Time Talent and Treasure model, the 3 ‘T’s for short. However, I remember thinking this stewardship is radical stuff. This is a lifestyle that is really about be swimming against the tide of cultural secularism and runaway consumerism and materialism. I was actually attracted by the counter-culture feel of it. My way of life wasn’t working for me so I was ready to risk going against the trend. Very early in my journey in stewardship it quickly became for me a way to not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of my mind! (Romans 12:2)
I was so excited with the way this renewed way of thinking had so instantly and dramatically transformed my life I was convinced that there was more to this than Time Talent and Treasure.
In my 14 years of promoting stewardship at the Archdiocese of Winnipeg I consistantly would tell church stewardship teams…”Our number one job is to inspire people to change the way they think about who they are and all they possess!” The Time, Talent, & Treasure model is tired and quite frankly doesn’t have any lasting impact in people’s lives. The three ‘T’s program is tired because it simply places a demand on people the moment they hear it. They think, “Oh, the church wants me to volunteer and give more!”
It’s time we dare to think differently about how we invite people to a greater commitment to this beautiful spirituality and view of life. Hearts and minds are transformed when we think outside the box of time, talent, and treasure.
There is a better way to stewardship than the annual 3 ‘T’s appeal, a way that is both joyful and sustainable.
There is no doubt that we need to change what people think about stewardship? We can begin by demonstrating that stewardship is joyful when it is formed, not out of obligation or duty, but gratitude. Over the years I have developed a way to stewardship that includes nine virtues – not 3 ‘T’s. My experience has been that these virtues, when cultivated in a person’s life, naturally lead people to greater stewardship. Moreover, they inspire stewardship that is sustainable!
It all begins with the virtue of gratitude. Gratitude is the foundation because, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all the others” (Cicero).
Gratitude, humility, simplicity, discipline, trust and generosity are the hallmark virtues of stewardship. These six virtues when held up by the virtues of perseverance, patience, and prayer build a life of peace, hope and joy. The ways of the world lead to a hopeless end – discipleship and stewardship are the way to endless hope.
This blog exists to inspire and equip leaders in the stewardship movement. I look forward to exploring the impact of these stewardship virtues, and hearing about how you have dared to think differently about stewardship.
Always grateful and hopeful in our good and gracious God,
J. Dan Potvin