Let's face it, a good chunk of what deacons traditionally deal with is finances. Whether it is promoting good giving, setting the budget, or overseeing ministries, in the great majority of churches in our denomination this falls squarely under the responsibility of the deacons. Deacons, we are told, are to promote good stewardship.
But the leader's motivations for prompting stewardship are what makes the difference. I recently read this quote from Kennon Callahan:
"Mission is more important than money. Some money is not worth raising. If raising it begets a maintenance mentality, it is not worth raising. If raising it creates a climate of scolding, law and demand, then it is better left unraised. When church finance becomes preoccupied with institutional maintenance and survival, it becomes self-serving, nervous, and awkward. It looses its way. When you center first on mission, you help to develop sound practices of church finance. Mission helps finance find its way."
Mission isn't optional — it's the proper lens through which to see stewardship. It's been said that the church budget is the clothes that we put on the church mission. The annual budget is the most missional document in the church. How can we clearly communicate that to the people that we serve?