January 15, 2018
At Sioux Falls Seminary, we aim at building good and faithful stewards with an intentional strategy and interactive content. This post unpacks the strategy and content, includes student comments in response, and shares how you can explore this material yourself as an individual, as a couple, for your small group, or congregation.
In the initial phase of the Kairos experience at Sioux Falls, we require students to watch four sets of three videos or a total of twelve seven-minute videos on Faith and Finances. The videos, produced by Seedbed in partnership with five schools including Sioux Falls Seminary, contain clear, biblical, and practical content for our students.
The first three videos lay a biblical foundation for stewardship in the Old Testament, in the Gospels, and in the early church in the rest of the New Testament. The videos, coupled with thoughtful questions, get the student thinking biblically. One student commented, “Watching these videos on financial stewardship was like an awakening for me in my daily life as one of God’s people.”
The second set of three videos covers the three primary uses of money: earning an income from work, saving a portion of income, and storing up treasures in heaven. These core themes play off the famous outline, “Gain all you can…Save all you can…Give all you can” from John Wesley’s sermon on The Use of Money. Students look at work, saving, and giving according to the world’s way of thinking as compared to what the Word teaches.
This second section tends to “change everything” for many students as they realize their lives look more like the culture than like Christ. It helps them chart a faithful course as this student noted. “The knowledge that I gained from these videos made me realize that it’s not too late to make some changes in my life when it comes to stewardship.”
The third set of three videos presents the financial skills of faithful stewards. We teach them about budgeting, borrowing, and how to seek Christian counsel on financial matters such as taxes, insurance, and investments. This prepares them to put to work what God supplies, while avoiding the dangers of debt, and navigate the complex situations they may someday face.
The final three videos equip students to help others. They look at the topics of money in marriage, finances for families, and money in ministry. Each of these videos provides tips for application. One student shared the practical advice on her social media so that all her friends would find financial freedom.
Another student, who manages an apartment complex, was so inspired by the relevant material that she began teaching the lessons to tenants who were behind on their rent. She reports, “I found myself sitting with some of our tenants and preaching about stewardship and how to manage money…they thanked me and promised that they will make some changes, not only for them not to lose their tenancy, but for their own sake and their future.” With zeal, she says she wants everyone to hear, “Well done, good and faithful steward!” from Jesus Christ (cf. Matthew 25:23).
The learning does not stop with the videos. As part of the Kairos experience, students also discuss what they are learning with their faculty advisor and mentoring team. In this way, the content shapes the trajectory of their larger educational experience as well. One student testified, “I felt convicted in some ways, but it’s good, because it calls for ‘good changes’, for renewal in my heart!” This team approach encourages growth and provides accountability.
After the first pilot group of students viewed the videos they begged for a study guide to be created so that the content could be shared widely and easily accessed by anyone, anywhere. Sioux Falls Seminary responded by collaborating with the same group of schools and getting a grant to cover production costs. The content was condensed from twelve lessons into ten as they said that ten lessons was the ideal length for small group studies.
Now it’s available for anyone. Check out Good and Faithful: Ten Stewardship Lessons for Everyday Living. Watch the videos freely, buy the book, get it for your small group, and share it widely: www.seedbed.com/goodandfaithful.
Gary G. Hoag, Ph.D. (New Testament, Trinity College, Bristol, UK) serves as a visiting professor at Sioux Falls Seminary. He served as the content expert on the Faith and Finances project with Sioux Falls Seminary, Northern Seminary, Asbury Theological Seminary, Ashland Theological Seminary, and Indiana Wesleyan University. To get a copy of the full twelve-part course, get a copy of Faith and Finances: A Stewardship Curriculum for Schools and Churches, and watch the videos at www.seedbed.com/faithandfinances.