Stewardship Report: Operations - Seeking God First
September 4, 2017
Stewardship is about ownership. Today, we often use the term stewardship when talking about money. I feel, however, that doing so is a disservice to the term. Stewardship actually originated from the role of a steward. The steward was in charge of everything in the master's household. Often this extended to the master’s businesses. While the steward often held a place of honor in the master’s home, the true reward was a close relationship with the owner. That close relationship was a reward, but it was also practical. For a steward to best manage the owner’s stuff, the steward needed to know the owner really well.
Sioux Falls Seminary develops servants for their participation in the kingdom mission. This is our God-given mission. Sioux Falls Seminary and all of its resources belong to God. Our job as leaders is to seek God first. As we build this intimate relationship with God (the owner), it leads to good stewardship.
Sioux Falls Seminary has three kinds of resources: financial, human, and physical. In this post, I will share some of the practical ways we work to steward each of these resources well.
Whenever I work with ministries on budgets, I share two things with them. First, stewardship is about what you have and not about what you want or need. And second, it is much harder to steward the extra dollar. God continues to provide for Sioux Falls Seminary financially. We are in the 30% of our industry that finished last year with more money coming in than going out. We have now experienced four years in the black. This is definitely due to God faithfully providing students, givers, clients, and partners for us to serve. It is also due to managing our financial resources well. Our income has remained steady, and we have found ways to spend less. In our last fiscal year, we paid down over $600,000 in debt, praise the Lord! We are looking forward to and preparing for the day that we are debt free. Remember my statement about the extra dollar? The best way to steward extra dollars well is to pay attention to what God is doing and begin preparing for that now.
The term human resources itself feels like poor stewardship. I prefer to refer to these resources as human capital. While resources are meant to be used, capital is meant to be grown. We are blessed with an amazing team. I believe that every person on our team could make more money working somewhere else. However, they choose to be here because of the mission and a personal call to serve. We work hard to create an environment for people to flourish by promoting flexible hours, putting family first, stressing the importance of every person’s voice, and giving each person room to discern God’s call in their life.
We are blessed with a 45,000 square-foot, state of the art building. As our model of education changes, we need less and less of that space. We have invited other ministries into our building in an effort to use every square foot well. This has many benefits. It maximizes use of the building and allows ministries to collaborate with one another. We currently have four church groups in our building. The interaction that happens because these groups work near one another is a beautiful picture of the kingdom of God.
Falls Seminary will remain intentional about all of the resources that God entrusts to us. We will also continue to seek God first as we pursue our call to develop servants for their participation in the kingdom mission. We will give thanks in everything we do.
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17