GLORIETA, N.M. (BP)–Getting control of one’s personal budget is an act of obedience to God — and a key ingredient of kingdom work, a leader in church stewardship said.
“Your personal budget is as important, if not more so, than the church budget is to the funding of God’s work,” Gary Aylor told participants in the National Conference for Church Leadership, July 10-14, at Glorieta, a LifeWay Conference Center, in New Mexico.
Aylor, director of church stewardship services at LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, said stewardship can no longer be an emphasis only on church budgets but on lifestyle stewardship of individuals and families.
“Stewardship is a fundamental part of being a disciple of Jesus Christ and relates to all we are,” Aylor said. “It involves the dedication to God of time, talents, energy, material possessions and all other dimensions of life.”
Stewardship is not a legalistic standard, he said, but an act of obedience and part of one’s daily worship of God.
“Stewardship recognizes that everything belongs to God,” Aylor said. “If you ask someone if God owns everything, they are likely to answer ‘yes’ without hesitation. But it is a different matter, sometimes, if you ask, ‘Does God own everything you have right now or will ever own or ever hope to own?'”
The stewardship of all dimensions of life “provides the engine that propels the church into the world with the gospel,” Aylor said.
Even pastors, he said, can have difficulty tithing because their personal budgets are in trouble.
But Aylor said recently produced resources such as “Successful Christian Financial Management,” “The Financially Confident Woman,” “How Much is Enough?” and “Money in Marriage,” among others from LifeWay, are helping individuals and entire congregations deal with all of their money, not just the tithe.
“There is more said in the Bible about money than any other subject except love,” Aylor observed. “In fact, two-thirds of the parables deal with stewardship. Jesus knew we were going to have problems dealing with money, so he had a lot to say to us about it.”
Focusing on those biblical teachings will be three additional resources on money management, scheduled for release in October from LifeWay. The three volumes, published by LifeWay, are by Larry Burkett of Christian Financial Concepts, with writer Kay Moore.
“Jesus on Money: Book One, Charting A New Course” will help persons determine where they are in relationship to biblical teachings on personal financial management. “Book Two, Making Mid-Course Corrections” deals with adjusting goals and spending plans to accommodate changing needs and situations. “Book Three, Crossing the Finish Line” focuses on yet another life stage, demonstrating how to continue adjusting goals and spending in order to join God in his kingdom agenda of winning the world.
The three six-week studies provide specific help in debt reduction, budget planning, career changes, lending and borrowing and family communication about money, among others.
“Honor God and God will bless you,” Aylor said. “You, in turn, will be a blessing to other people.”
The church leadership group and the pastor-staff leadership department of LifeWay sponsored the National Conference for Church Leadership.