to the 104th Annual Conference

October, 1987

"Who then is the faithful and sensible steward,....."? -- Luke 12:42

          May it be that increasingly and consistently the Bible Fellowship Churches and our constituents may be found among those who can accurately be described as faithful and sensible stewards, who fulfill the directions and expectations of their Lord and Master for the management of His house.

          The Stewardship Council met three times during the year to carry out its duties and especially to formulate a strategy for implementing and developing stewardship consciousness and commitment in the Bible Fellowship Church. In addition to the three at large members elected by the Conference, the following agencies were represented on the Council during the year:

                     Board of Church Extension

                     Board of Directors of the Bible Fellowship Church

                     Board of Missions

                     Historical Committee

                     Home for the Aging

                     Pinebrook Bible Conference

                     Pinebrook Junior College

                     Victory Valley Camp

          The American Christian Church is undoubtedly one of the richest financially of any church in all ecclesiastical history. At the same time there has probably never been a time when calls for the use of those resources have been more numerous.

          It is against this background that the Stewardship Council submits this strategy for discussion and, hopefully, adoption at the 104th Annual Conference. Our conviction is unanimous that a clear presentation of the scriptural teaching concerning stewardship must be given to our people as a supplement to what our faithful pastors are already presenting. The critical needs within our churches and agencies must be clearly presented as wise and fiscally responsible alternatives to the appeals of National Christian organizations. Plans and counsel must also be given to help our members who respond to our message and want to follow through.

          Our strategy is designed to be helpful at all levels:

          1.       It will help BFC Christians to carry out their benevolent desires.


          2.       It will help the local Church by encouraging individuals to develop their financial plan starting with help for the local church.


          3.       It may help pastors by an effort to build up the Ministers' Retirement Fund so that the retirement income for pastors will be larger.


          4.       It will help our agencies efficiently to present their ministries in the local church as a part of the total Bible Fellowship Church umbrella of ministries. Thus all agencies will receive general representation without subjecting the local church to nine separate presentations on stewardship.


          5.       Each agency will be able to use literature developed by our council, by having it customized for mailing to its own constituency, and may avail itself of the Council's stewardship counseling services.

          Good stewardship glorifies God, brings blessing to donors and help to the needy and adds to the strength and growth of the Church. Stewardship education and assistance are not optional but needed. Let us help one another on toward optimum stewardship.

          During the year the Council did not receive or disburse funds.

          The Council makes the following recommendations to the Annual Conference:

          1. That the following be adopted:


          WHEREAS,             the Stewardship Council deems it best to devote its full energy to its work of stewardship education and counseling, therefore


          RESOLVED,           that number 9 and 10 under Article II, "Duties" of the Stewardship Council, (Faith and Order, p. 178), be deleted from the by-laws.


                     9.       (To coordinate and review with sensitivity the stewardship programs of various Bible Fellowship Church agencies so as to guard against duplication, competition, overexposure and undue aggressiveness.


                     10.     To approve all major capital campaigns and deferred giving programs of all agencies of the Bible Fellowship Church).

          2.       That the following be approved:




          God has entrusted enormous resources to the membership and agencies of the Bible Fellowship Church. It is the desire of the Stewardship Council to: (1) present a strategy which will continue to educate our membership concerning the responsibilities and possibilities of being good stewards of their property and finances; and (2) provide competent and impartial assistance to those desiring to practice good stewardship of their resources.


          Stewardship education and financial counseling of the members and friends of the Bible Fellowship Church and its agencies will be the main objective of our program.

          A solid and interesting program for churches will be formulated. It will include audio-visuals and any other means of effectively communicating our vital message. Sunday services will probably be the prime time for this with (1) a stewardship message from the Bible in the morning and (2) an evening program that explains some practical ways for individual Christians to practice good stewardship.

          Literature will be developed for distribution in particular Bible Fellowship Churches with all the agencies of the BFC listed on each separate piece.


          -         The first of these pieces of literature would explain the services of the Stewardship Council.

          -         The second piece would urge every Christian adult to make a will and to use it as a means of advancing Christ's kingdom.

          -         Subsequent pieces on planned giving will be produced in a manner appropriate to our needs and resources.


          A person will be hired whose lifestyle exemplifies good stewardship and who is professionally qualified to teach and counsel about the biblical principles of stewardship. He should also have a good understanding of the whole range of financial plans available for application in specific situations. He will represent the Stewardship Council as a stewardship counselor and as a speaker to church and agency groups. He should have some recognition factor in the Bible Fellowship Church.


Calendar       -         This proposal will be presented at the 104th Annual Conference for approval in                          October, 1987.


          -         A meeting of agency administrators and their board chairmen will be set for November, 1987.


          -         Fellowship News will have two articles regarding the coming program in December and April.


          -         Stewardship Council will begin interviewing for a half-time field representative in May, 1988.


          -         A September, 1988 article in Fellowship News will introduce the Stewardship Council Field Representative.


          -         October, 1988 - the representative will make a presentation at the 105th Annual Conference and begin working half-time later that month.


          -         October, 1989 - an evaluation will be conducted by the Stewardship Council of the field representative's first year.


          The Stewardship Council's goal for funding the program will be to achieve self-supporting status as soon as possible. A combination of gifts, fees, sale of materials and income from lead trusts will provide income necessary to implement the strategy described above.


                     Administrative Budget (benefits)                                 $2,200.

                     Agency Membership Fees ($300 x 8)                                     2,400.

                     Agency Start-up Grants ($300 x 5)                                         1,500.

                     Interest generated from Lead Trust Principal               10,000.

                     Sale of materials                                                                  3,500.

                     Grants and gifts                                                                    3,000.

                     Agency Fees                                                                                  2,550.

                     Church fees, offerings and/or honoraria                       2,550.


                     Total                                                                    $          27,700.


                     Salary (half-time)                                                   $          12,500.

                     Benefits                                                                                         2,200.

                     Office*                                                                                           3,500.

                     Travel                                                                                            2,000.

                     Secretary                                                                                       2,500.

                     Literature                                                                             5,000.


                     Total                                                                                  $27,700.

* Includes rent, phone, postage & miscellaneous

Stewardship Council: James G. Koch, Chairman; Daniel G. Ziegler, Secretary; Ralph D. Cole, Treasurer; Philip Atkins, James A. Beil, Alva C. Cassel, Robert W. Gehret, Roy A. Hertzog, Lee A. Richwine, John H. Riggall, Harold E. Snyder