The following is a summary of citylife church pastor Tony Stewart’s session from our 2022 Give Conference.
Have you ever felt like your church isn’t doing enough? There’s so much you want to do, but the resources aren’t there. Maybe you feel like you’re not even making a real difference.
We’ve all been there. But, there’s good news. We have opportunities in front of us every day to turn this around.
Even when we feel like we have nothing to offer, God gives us opportunities and doorways to meet needs. When we serve others, there’s a supernatural hand at work – the hand of the One that created the heavens and the earth. And, as counterintuitive as it may seem, when we see and meet the needs of others, the floodgates of blessing are often opened up in our own ministries.
We see this principle all throughout Scripture. And, if you think about your own life, you’ll probably remember a time or two when God used you to meet a need and then came through for you.
As Proverbs 18:16 says, “A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.” We can steward what God has given us, and when we find ourselves stuck, we must make sure we’re still stewarding well. Any time we reach the edge of where we’ve never been and begin to stretch, the heavens will shift. Just think of Moses stretching out his hand over the Red Sea – the minute he began to stretch, God began to breathe and the waters were divided.
Stewarding well and stretching out in faith may sometimes feel like building boats with no water, but that’s where the power of God comes in. In John 6, Jesus feeds the multitudes with just a few loaves of bread and fish. This story shows us that there is always a test along the journey, but when God gives us a test, there’s also a testimonial attached to it. Every opportunity can be God-used. Every season requires realignment, and as we learn to give more of ourselves, we’ll find that there’s always more leftover at the end of the story.
God never gives us a vision without providing provision for it. When we take our little and put it in God’s hands, it becomes much. Proverbs 11:24 says, “One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly but comes to poverty.”
A ministry will only be as generous as its leader. So, how are you evaluating and seeing the resources God has given you? When your congregation looks at you, do they see a sacrificial giver?
Becoming a sacrificial giver often involves several stages:
- Hearing God: When God speaks, it settles everything around us.
- Excitement: What is God doing at this moment with my gifts?
- Fear: The enemy tries to make us doubt, but ultimately, we have a spirit of love.
- Logic: We may think, “I need to pay off this, I need to buy that,” but we must trust in God’s plan.
- Doubt: If a leader doubts, then the congregation doubts. It’s essential to have faith.
- Faith: Whether God multiplies our gifts or not, it’s all in His hands.
Jesus knows what He’s going to do, and He will advance His kingdom with or without us. But He desires to use us, and when we embrace the power of giving, we can witness how our little becomes much in the hand of God. So trust in the supernatural hand at work and become a sacrificial giver, setting an example for your congregation and making a real difference in the world.
To watch Tony Stewart’s full session from Give Conference 2022, click here.
Join us at Give Conference 2023 on September 18-19 in Augusta, GA to hear from pastors and leaders like Jack Graham and Mark Rutland on how you can increase giving and engagement within your congregation.