When God called the universe into existence he gave man the responsibility to serve as the caretaker of His creation. Man was entrusted with the management or stewardship of the resources of His master. Man’s stewardship involves his relationship to God, relationship to other humans and relationship to the rest of creation. Just as human beings are created to have a personal relationship with God, they are called to live as His stewards. Lifestyle stewardship is learning to live as an obedient steward in the principles and practices of the Bible to represent God’s intended purposes and plan. Christ has directed His Church to teach the attitudes and actions that will assist members in their commitment to becoming good lifestyle stewards as part of the disciple making process. It is necessary for churches to develop and implement an intentional ongoing model of lifestyle stewardship within the congregation that will build stewardship into the lives of its members.
The purpose of this dissertation is to explore and examine the essential elements necessary to develop a meaningful and practical model of lifestyle stewardship that educates and equips church members to become life-long lifestyle stewards. An overview of the lifestyle stewardship model being developed at Saint James the Apostle Episcopal Church in Tempe, Arizona will be emphasized. The primary focus is on creating a year-round model program that will include various avenues of inspiration, instruction and involvement as part of an overall process that will engage congregational members in a practical lifestyle of scriptural stewardship.
By integrating the biblical principles of lifestyle stewardship and personal interactions with the Saint James Church ministries and leaders, this dissertation presents an intentional lifestyle stewardship model that can assist the local church. An examination of the biblical foundations of lifestyle stewardship and pertinent literature on the subject will be reviewed to reinforce the basis for the model. The implementation of the lifestyle stewardship model will be explored to offer insight and understanding on the process. Conclusions will be presented to evaluate the effectiveness of the lifestyle stewardship plan and to offer recommendations that can strengthen the model within the church. Sample lifestyle stewardship materials created in the development of the model are included to assist other churches in the design of their lifestyle stewardship plan and process.