Evaluating Financial & Stewardship Curriculum
In our 2022 Inaugural Stewardship Survey, the challenge of finding the best stewardship curriculum was a top write-in concern of our survey respondents and webinar attendees. It’s the million dollar question for churches developing a stewardship program.
Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet or perfect approach.
“One of the biggest challenges is that we can become polarized and reject what’s out there because of what’s missing. For example, financial education doesn’t feel spiritual enough and discipleship education doesn’t feel practical enough.”
Leo Sabo, President of Christian Stewardship Network (CSN).
2 Tips for Finding the Best Stewardship Curriculum for Your Church
1. Prioritize Discipleship
In our survey resources and on our blog, we differentiate between stewardship (the “what” of managing all our resources) and generosity (the “how” of responding to needs). They are not strictly financial characteristics.
Churches need to address this in their members holistically, but we often talk more about the financial aspects of stewardship and generosity because finances are the clearest indicator of whether we’re building God’s kingdom or our own.
We were glad to see in our survey results that larger churches prioritized stewardship/financial discipleship over a focus on giving amounts and budgetary concerns. Due to financial strain, smaller churches were more likely to focus on giving amounts.
But even when churches have budgetary and resource constraints, the priority focus should still be on the individuals’ spiritual journey and growth, more than on the amount the church needs to collect. Developing healthy members vs. a short term Band-Aid approach, so to speak.
2. Take the Hybrid Approach to the Best Stewardship Curriculum
Because churches have different needs and approaches, it’s impossible to name “the best curriculum.”
At the same time, having created his own stewardship curriculum while on staff at Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, Sabo highly recommends against trying to create your own.
“It’s so much work,” he says. “It can take years to create. You have to let go of the idea of perfection. So I recommend you find the curriculum that best fits your stewardship approach and combine it with a financial program. Or tie a financial program to biblical principles yourself.”
Carl Tierney, our Co-founder and CTO agrees. “It’s MUCH better to use existing resources than create your own. You’re better off buying something average than starting from scratch.”
Besides saving time on the creation of the program, you’ll be able to take advantage of ready-to-go or advanced learning materials like videos.
The best stewardship curriculum in the world won’t overcome deficits in your overall program. Both leaders stress additional components to include:
- Engagement strategy: “Most importantly, think about how to wrap the curriculum around the staff stewardship role and how to bring members along in the curriculum.” (Sabo)
- Goals and analytics for BOTH:
- Stewardship (number of households going through the training, number of new givers)
- Giving (number of households giving, plus frequency, consistency, amounts, and overall totals) as we’ve written about in greater detail here. (Tierney)
How Vision2 Helps
“The challenge,” says Sabo, “is that members are at different points in their stewardship journey so you have to figure out to equip them to go deeper.” But how will you know how you’re doing in this regard?
Vision2 data analytics metrics can track how they’re progressing in that journey, enabling you to continually improve your stewardship program.
To learn more about not only Vision2 analytics, but also our engaging giver experience, streamlined backoffice and tools for ministry leaders, reach out to us.