I am a firm believer that everything on earth belongs to God. Our money. Our houses. Our cars. The word of God. Our families. The people we encounter…and the facilities we worship in. I believe that God has entrusted us with the stewarding of all of these items. For me, I believe that stewardship is less about what we give and more about taking care of what we have been GIVEN…entrusted to us!
So, how do we define entrusted? According to dictionary.com, it can be defined as follows:
ENTRUST: to charge or invest with a trust or responsibility; to commit (something) in trust to; confide, as for care, use, or performance
What does that mean to you? To me, it means that when something (or someone) is entrusted to me, I am responsible to care for it…to be in charge of it…to be responsible for it…sounds a lot like stewardship.
If you have grown up in the church or been involved in church for any period of time, you have heard the term “stewardship”…and I am sure that in almost every case, it revolved around money or raising money. In these cases, we are generally talking about financial stewardship which is a critical element of our spiritual life as well as the life of our ministries.
But stewardship is not just about money and finances…but refers to (as its definition above indicates) the caring for or oversight of something of someone else.
So, how do we apply this to our ministry facilities? Do we really believe that God has entrusted these to us, thus making us stewards of their care and oversight? I have witnessed churches and ministries spending millions of dollars in the construction and renovation of their facilities…but then fail to maintain them (i.e. steward them). They wave the banner of “stewardship” when raising money to build them…but then neglect to steward them after dedication (i.e. care, management and maintenance).
Now, I do not know very many churches that are not using some form of accounting software/system to manage their flow of “stewarded monies” and track congregant giving. Most, if not all, are not using a abacus to count these monies. This is great and I applaud churches for being diligent with the money entrusted to them. Many churches use membership management software/systems to steward the people God has entrusted to them. They are vigilant about documenting data about every member and regular attendees. Again…hats off to you.
“I would argue that Facility Stewardship is actually a key component of Financial Stewardship.”
BUT…I am shocked at the number of churches that do not have a proactive, effective and efficient way of managing the use and care of their facilities. Do we not believe that the care of our facilities is an important aspect of our stewardship initiatives? Do we not believe that we will be held accountable for how we steward all of the blessing God has entrusted to us? I would argue that Facility Stewardship is actually a key component of Financial Stewardship. That is why we believe so passionately that having the right tools and means/method to plan the use of our facilities as well as manage their care is critical to the short term and long term financial and physical health of a ministry. Facilities are intended to be used…which requires planning and coordination. I am thrilled when I see a church’s calendar jam-packed with ministry activities…but that requires planning and coordination. It also requires physical care and attention.
To add complexity to this, it is critical to understand that all facilities deteriorate…PERIOD… and we need to be vigilant with the care of them. If we do not, we will end up with facilities that do not properly reflect our mission, vision, culture or do not align with the physical requirements of our ministry initiatives. They will become functionally and physically obsolete…and who does that serve? In far too many cases, the facilities become a deterrent to reaching others instead of a tool to enhance ministry.
So, if stewardship is important to your church, don’t neglect your Facility Stewardship.