Stewardship Objective: Freedom from Debt, Freedom to Serve
- Monday, January 22, 2007
The Southern Baptist Convention is partnering with Crown Financial Ministries to launch an initiative focused on personal stewardship. The initiative encourages pastors to assume a leadership role to implement the stewardship study in their individual churches.
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Last June, during the annual business meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), responsibility for stewardship education was transferred from LifeWay Christian Resources to the denomination's Executive Committee. Now the Executive Committee has announced a stewardship effort called "It's a New Day." According to the SBC website, the national program -- offered in partnership with Crown Financial Ministries -- focuses on instructing people how to get out of debt so they are ready to fulfill the Lord's call upon their life.
Ashley Clayton, associate vice president for stewardship on the Executive Committee, has been given the assignment of working with state conventions, associations, and churches to implement It's a New Day. Clayton says the need for a biblical understanding of money management is crucial.
"It's like the elephant in the room: it's there and everybody knows about it," he says; "and most people are experiencing something with regard to poor money management and debt."
To address that need, the Executive Committee has partnered with Georgia-based Crown Financial Ministries to produce a 10-week "Biblical Financial Study Set" for churches, small groups, and individuals. Clayton says many Southern Baptists want to tithe, but are strangled by consumer debt.
"It's not a matter of motivating people to invest in the Kingdom or to give; it's just that they can't," he explains. "So we believe that if people will begin to get out of debt, the Kingdom of God would just begin to take off" because of the funds that would be freed up.
The initiative also features leadership conferences for pastors and church staff. Three such conferences already are scheduled for this Spring -- San Antonio, Texas (March 1-2); Orlando, Florida (March 22-23); and Atlanta, Georgia (April 12-13).
© 2007 Agape Press. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
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