John R. Frank

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 many churches and parachurch organizations to emphasize 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 improve stewardship in the Christian church, leadership must teach comprehensive, biblical stewardship with a new and more comprehensive approach. The process of re-examining the theology and life practice of stewardship must begin in seminaries, in order to have the most 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 Development (MASD) to be hosted by an evangelical seminary. Both degree programs combine courses in theology and development 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 marketing techniques rather than stewardship and spiritual foundation 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 number of papers, books, and academic 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 must be re-examined to impact 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 combine courses in theology and development 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