Sustainability According to the Scriptures by Dr. Gary G. Hoag
Mindset for the Sustainability of Churches and Ministries
What mindset should stewards have regarding the sustainability of operations? Churches and ministries need funding to address local needs, aid those in crisis, teach students, and deploy missionaries.
The world says, “Resources are scarce. Supply is limited to man’s capacity. So, as a result, you must hoard or store them up to ensure the sustainability of your enterprise.”
Alternatively, the Word says, “Resources are abundant. Supply is rooted in God’s unlimited beneficence. Thus, funds should be put to work according to the Master’s wishes.” Many passages proclaim this. Consider six today. We will start with the wisdom literature and then move to Jesus and Paul on the topic.
Six Passages on Sustainability
Proverbs 3:9-10 tells us that when we honor God with our wealth, He will ensure our vats overflow. In other words, when God fills our cups, He will more than replenish our supply to the extent we pour it out. Proverbs 11:24-25 adds that those who give discover gain. And those who try to hold on to wealth lose it.
In Mark 6:35-38 in the presence of 5,000 hungry men plus women and children, Jesus instructed the disciples to feed them. But how? Rather than focus on what they did not have, He told them to see what they had and give it to God.
In the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:16-17, we discover that the ones who entered eternal joy showed they knew the Master by risking everything and putting all He supplied to work.
Luke 16:9-12 reminds us to use worldly wealth for eternal purposes, and if we are faithful with little, God will supply more. Faithful stewardship marks the pathway to sustainability.
Lastly, in 2 Corinthians 9:8, we see that God wants us to serve not as containers but as conduits of material blessing. We can be generous at all times and on all occasions, not because we are loaded but because God is. He promises to re-supply.
Kingdom Thinking Applied
So, what does all this have to do with sustainability? Everything. Adoniram Judson, a famous missionary, once wrote, “It is true that we may desire much more. But let us use what we have, and God will give us more.”
This is counterintuitive kingdom thinking. Hold on to resources, and we will surely come to ruin. Put them to work according to the Master’s wishes and watch God serve as our all-sufficient Provider.
Here’s the takeaway for all stewards reading this. Enjoy and share all God has supplied. Remember, God sees our bank account balances. Do this, and He will sustain us by grace and through our faithful stewardship. And texts like 1 Timothy 6:17-19 teach us that obedience results in taking hold of real life.
Next Steps for Church and Ministry Workers
If you serve in a leadership role at a church or ministry, encourage everyone you serve to live this way. If your ministry grows faithful and generous stewards, you will have sufficient funds to operate at the level God desires.
If you steward those funds by faithfully putting them to work, you can trust God to supply more in His time. Sound administration follows biblically faithful, globally consistent, and locally contextualized standards.
In plain terms, churches or ministries must use resources in such a way that they reflect a consistent Christian witness to a watching world. In this way, your collective, obedient organizational stewardship sustains the ministry.
Gary G. Hoag, Ph.D., serves as President & CEO of Global Trust Partners (GTP). In obedient service to Jesus Christ, GTP multiplies faithful stewards and mobilizes peer accountability groups (like ECFA in USA) to build trust and to grow local generous giving to God’s work. Please register for one of our certificate courses free of charge to strengthen your stewardship at gtp.org/courses
What is Christian Leadership Alliance?
Christian Leadership Alliance equips and unites leaders to transform the world for Christ. We are the leaders of Christ-centered organizations who are dedicated to faithful stewardship for greater kingdom impact.
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