For Such a Time as This: A Sneak Preview of the Steward Manifesto
I am excited to announce the upcoming launch of the Steward Manifesto. Four writing teams comprised of twenty people have been working for over a year creating a document that we pray will be “a call to our brothers and sisters to reclaim our calling to be stewards of our identity, an identity that is being attacked, confused, and distorted.”
For you who have been following my blog, I earnestly pray that you will engage with this document as we prepare to roll it out publicly on September 9th as part of our annual Steward Summit. You are also warmly invited to attend the Summit and be present for this historic moment. (Register Here)
What is the problem we are addressing in the Manifesto?
• We have accommodated the gospel to a cultural agenda and now stand by helplessly amidst the precipitous moral decline all around us. We no longer talk about sin, so grace has become a meaningless word that has lost its power to transform.
• We’ve placed our security in false things, sought our identity from counterfeit sources, adopted an ownership attitude toward life and so we live with the same fear as the world around us. As a result, we have allowed idols such as affluence, self-reliance, and financial security to take the place of a daily reliance on God’s provision.
• We fear the growing pluralism in our society, preferring the status quo rather than being salt and light that brings truth into the dialogue. As a result, we’ve lost the voice and influence in the public square because we have pulled away from serious engagement with our culture.
• Inside our ranks we see a growing apathy toward discipleship and an insidious biblical illiteracy that cuts us off from our source of truth, guidance, and strength. As a result, we live in a culture that dehumanizes people, yet we seemingly have no credible response.
• While younger generations are yearning for an authentic experience of God, we seem unable and ill equipped to introduce them to a genuine walk with Jesus. As a result, they are uninspired by our message because we have lost the sweet aroma of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:15).
• We hear the cries across generations for meaning, belonging, community, security, and peace, yet we’ve compromised our voice, forfeited our credibility, and tarnished our witness by the loss of our identity in Christ.
The Manifesto is not a nostalgic look back to a golden age lost but a call to return to a life of faithfulness.
This Steward Manifesto is not a call for us to return to a golden age of the past, or toward some utopian vision of a self-actualized future. This is a call for us as followers of Jesus to find our way back onto the narrow road where Jesus is waiting. Like the father of the prodigal son, He looks expectantly for us who have squandered our inheritance to come to our senses and return to Jesus as our Lord, embracing Him as the Owner of everything.
The Steward Manifesto focuses on our loss of identity.
The problem is not with our programs, our techniques, our strategies, or our theology. We have lost our way because we have lost sight of our true identity. Or perhaps, we have lost our way because we have allowed a host of counterfeit identities to lure us away. We are trying to serve two masters, God and ourselves, and living as owners instead of stewards.
What is the vision for the way ahead for the church? In the document we offer the following:
This call to steward our identity in Christ provides a lens through which followers of Jesus can view and respond to the pressing social, ethical and cultural issues of our day. The relationship between a loving Owner and His faithful stewards is the normative power dynamic by which all others must be measured and modified. Our prayer is for this Steward Manifesto to provide the followers of Jesus with a solid biblical frame through which to consider their faith journey in light ofthese pressing issues.
What might that look like?
• Imagine experiencing a renewed passion for intimacy with God as you steward your relationship with God through a recommitment to fervent prayer, rigorous study of His word and vibrant, Christ-centered worship.
• Imagine surrendering every part of your life in a deeper way than you have ever experienced, resulting in meaningful, loving service as you steward your relationship to your neighbor.
• Imagine living at the forefront of a global wave of reconciliation fueled by your passion to steward your identity as a child of God.
• Imagine experiencing the joy of stewarding God’s creation and giving back freely to God’s work from all He has entrusted to you as a steward.
• Imagine your marriage, family and community transformed by your commitment to live humbly as a faithful steward in every area of life.
• Imagine the world witnessing you living a fearless life, shining out as a source of hope, love, selfless service, and truth.
This is a glimpse of the vision for what we pray God will manifest in our lives through the Steward Manifesto.
If this type of declaration inspires you, please watch for the next five weeks of posts where I will be sharing more of the content and hope for this document.