Following the successful production of Acton Institute’s Effective Stewardshipcurriculum, and with an eye to the launch of Zondervan’s NIV Stewardship Biblein the fall of 2009, we have formed a close partnership with the Stewardship Council, a five-year-old nonprofit that was established as an outreach to the broader evangelical community. The Stewardship Council is a natural partner for the work that Acton has been doing now for almost twenty years.
The Stewardship Council, a leader in the development and delivery of stewardship content and resources, will share office space with Acton in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The council is no stranger to us. It has, for much of the last four years, partnered with Acton in the research, writing, and editing of the Stewardship Bible, which will be one of the major publishing events in the Christian book world in 2009-10. The third informal member of this partnership is, of course, Zondervan, the world’s largest Christian publisher. Because of the vast marketing and distribution network built by Zondervan, Acton and the Stewardship Council will now be able to reach audiences worldwide in a way that would have been undreamed of previously.
A next step in the Acton-Stewardship Council partnership is to create a digital learning hub to creatively deliver transformational content on stewardship and sound economics from a Christian worldview. This medium will be well received, we think, because it’s personal and offers a measure of confidentiality. Pastors and local church leaders often find the financial aspects of stewardship to be difficult to teach because financial matters are sensitive and, let’s face it, often appear complex to pastors trained in theology rather than finance.
Overall, the goal is to work creatively with and through local churches—seriously involving pastors, leadership, and congregants—to provide a sound, engaging, and dynamic way to build community around the core process of giving from a Christian worldview. Given the current economic and moral climate of the world, everyday issues of personal stewardship are at the forefront of our culture. Anything we can do to equip people for responsible and thoughtful management of God’s resources is essential for the health of the local church and spiritual growth of its congregants.
The partnership of the Acton Institute and the Stewardship Council will create new opportunities to reach church leaders and offer existing resources and educational programs such as Acton University and our Free and Virtuous Society conferences. Partnering with the Stewardship Council allows Acton to fill a void and reach a substantially new community. That’s a good thing not just for Acton and the Stewardship Council, but also for the culture.