Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)




Critics and research indicate that inadequate leadership in stewardship education has led to inaccurate teaching, wrong attitudes, and a lack of generosity in the Christian church and parachurch ministries. This teaching has led tnany churches and parachurch organizations to etnphasize fundraising rather than the steward's spiritual journey and relationship with God. The dissertation addresses the need for a new look at stewardship, the theology of stewardship, and how stewardship is presented to the local church and parachurch.

The thesis of this project is that in order to itnprove stewardship in the Christian church, leadership must teach cotnprehensive, biblical stewardship with a new and more cotnprehensive approach. The process of re-examining the theology and life practice of stewardship tnust begin in setninaries, in order to have the tnost significant impact on local churches and parachurch organizations.

The goal of this thesis is to develop a Master of Divinity-Specialization in Stewardship (MDiv) and a Master of Arts degree in Stewardship and Developtnent (MASD) to be hosted by an evangelical setninary. Both degree programs cotnbine courses in theology and developtnent practice.

Stewardship education has been studied and many excellent papers and books have been written; however, many leaders still disdain teaching the subject in local churches. A disconnect exists between excellent study and research and the local church teaching, which leads to key questions such as: Why is the subject so sensitive? How can this important topic be taught so that pastors, theologians, and church members find acceptance? Research indicates a lack of leadership in all levels of the church structure. Seminaries, denominations, and local church pastors avoid teaching stewardship or do not study the topic. Currently, no schools offer advanced degrees in stewardship, fundraising, or development with a Christian theological basis for the education. Secular schools offer quality programs in philanthropy, development, and fund raising.

The church currently approaches stewardship teaching as a transactional process rather than transformational in the lives of givers. Many churches use business and tnarketing techniques rather than stewardship and spiritual formation in their fund-raising efforts. This dissertation addresses the need for a new look at stewardship and how it is presented in the seminary, the local church, and to the individual Christian.

Exploring other proposed solutions to the stewardship problem found traditional and mostly unsuccessful strategies. The solutions that have been presented in the past can be structured into two categories: theoretical and theological resources and how-to resources. The theoretical and theological resources include a nutnber of papers, books., and acadetnic journals written by a variety of authors.

The project's thesis: The church must take leadership in teaching comprehensive, biblical stewardship in order to improve stewardship programs. In addition, the theology of stewardship tnust be re-examined to itnpact the relationship between the Creator and His creation.

The project will offer a proposal for the creation of a specialization in stewardship for an MDiv degree, and an MASD to be hosted by an evangelical seminary. The MASD will cotnbine courses in theology and developtnent practice. The project specifications and final components of the document cover a number of issues related to the new program including: target market, marketing, course descriptions, and other remarks.

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Christianity Commons