We just wrapped up a House Church Seminar for Pastors. Attendees stayed at our members’ houses during the seminar. When we assigned participants to our church members we didn’t ask if they were willing to provide lodging. We just informed them which two participants would stay at their houses, assuming that a member of each house church would provide lodging unless they had serious, legitimate reasons not to. We did this because their houses belong to God and they are just stewards.
Juan Carlos Ortiz writes about true stewardship in his book “Disciples”.
He was a pastor of a conventional church in Argentina. Under his leadership, the church had steadily grown in number and he was a successful pastor. But like many conventional pastors, he was tired and unhappy. Then one evening, after an exhausting day, he heard God’s small voice: “Juan, why are you running your church as if you were running a commercial company?” He realized that God was right. He was running his church as he would a company, borrowing principles from the corporate world, depending heavily on organization, planning, and programs. He repented on the spot and completely changed his ministry style. He abolished all programs, abandoned organizational charts and started forming small groups according to the New Testament.
When he did that, his church and its members became more like the ones in the New Testament. One day he asked his congregation, “Who is your Lord?” The congregation answered, “Jesus!” He asked, “Then whose house is it that you live in now?” They exclaimed, “God’s!” Then he said, “If you really believe that your house belongs to God, bring the titles to your property and give it to God next Sunday.” Surprisingly, most of the people who owned a house did just that.
Pastor Ortiz asked each member to place the titles on a table in the middle of the sanctuary. After all the papers were placed on the table, the pastor called out each individual’s name and gave them their titles back. He said to each of them, “God has given back to you His house and appointed you to be his manager.” From that point on, when the church needed a place for visitors or guests to stay, it didn’t ask its members’ permission, but just instructed them to provide room and board. When the owner needs to use his house, he doesn’t need his steward’s permission.
This is New Testament style stewardship. I am pleased that our members are becoming such stewards.
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