3 Reasons Why I Love Stewardship Ministry

When I was younger, I had no idea what the term “biblical stewardship” meant. Having not grown up in a church environment, I did not consider the Holy Bible, God’s Word, to be of any authority, especially money management. I thought I owned the money and even worse, I thought I was entitled to it simply because I breathed air.

Through many hardships caused by poor choices, God finally got my attention. As I say often, it wasn’t about the money or the amount that was the issue. It was how I managed the money. Eventually, I got a hold of the true meaning of God’s word and applied it to money management. because of that, my attitude, perspective and application of His Word that changed my life.

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Why You Should Attend Next Year’s CSN Forum

3 Things I Learned from The Christian Stewardship Network Forum

This past week I had the opportunity to fly to Dallas, Texas to attend the Christian Stewardship Network Forum.  I was blessed by the trip.  The forum was truly that, a forum. We had terrific small group table talk, corporate worship, breakout sessions, fantastic Texas BBQ and we were all able to share and learn best practices to minister to our city in the best way possible. I would also like to use this post to share with you the 3 main takeaways that highlight the WHY you and your church should attend next year.

Relationships trump programming

There are many stewardship programs built on the host of curriculums available.  Tools like Howard Dayton’s Compass, Andy Stanley’s Balanced bible study, Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and many others.

I have been leading stewardship ministry at Grace Family Church in Tampa, Florida for nine years.  At first, I didn’t have a clue about how to build and lead a ministry.  I simply applied my relationship-building acumen to grow the ministry.  Since 2007, our #1 curriculum has been Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (FPU).  Our first class had eighteen people and it was also the first time I was learning the material.  Since that time, we have had over 2,000 people attend through on-campus and off-campus offerings.

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My Personal Journey in Biblical Stewardship

I started attending Grace Family Church in November 2006, partly because of a referral from my previous church in Orlando. When I saw a billboard at the intersection of Dale Mabry Highway and Kennedy Boulevard that read, You Matter to God—Grace Family Church, that sealed it.

I had only been attending a few months when Pastor Craig Altman gave a series of sermons on finances. I wanted to meet with him and discuss Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (FPU) course. I told the Pastor that I wanted to help someone lead FPU because I knew nothing about personal finance, yet desperately needed help in that area.

During college, I had ignored my parents’ advice and signed up for a ton of debt. (Yes, I got the free T-shirts and Frisbees). I thought I was buying happiness, while also trying to impress people. After graduating from Ohio State, I leapt into business and continued to feed my debt habit. A few years later, at the age of 25, I filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy, after months without a job. At a time when many young professionals were launching successful lives, mine was sinking.

I was ashamed and embarrassed to tell anyone about my financial problems. The situation sent me into a tailspin that lasted almost five years.

Like the billboard said, however, God showed me that I mattered to Him. He had plans to prosper me and not to harm me, just as the Bible declares in Jeremiah 29:11. God had a future and hope for me. He pulled me from the distress of debt and showed a poor steward of His gifts that His grace is sufficient for me. He used Grace Family Church to teach me about salvation through Jesus Christ. I learned that I didn’t have to be buried under my mountain of mistakes.

In March 2007 the Lord led Pastor Craig to have faith in me, despite my financial ignorance. I had talked with him about helping someone else lead FPU, but Pastor Craig asked me to lead the first class of 18 people—alone. I learned later that a cellophane-wrapped FPU kit had already been sitting in the church’s storage, unopened. I opened it, and the GFC Stewardship ministry was born.

Since then, God has authored countless stewardship success stories, including my own. As a single man, I learned how to give, save and spend God’s way. I eliminated more than $37,000 in debt and saved over $20,000 in an emergency fund in less than two years. Two years later, I was married to my beautiful wife, Becky Dean Horvath, and we began our marriage anchored in financial agreement. We even paid off our home—all before I turned 40!

Now in our seventh year of the Stewardship Ministry, we are growing just like the rest of Grace Family Church. FPU has expanded to annual enrollment of 300 to 500 people. So far more than 2,000 people have taken FPU. Together, they have eliminated more than $4.5 million in debt and saved over $1.5 million in emergency funds. We have furthered our reach with other small groups, classes and workshops, including Dave Ramsey’s Legacy Journey, Financial Freedom 1-Day, Money Mentors Financial Counseling, Foundations in Personal Finance for College, and Generation Change for High School. In 2014 we launched the Purpose Vocational Ministry.

Through it all, I have learned that God’s way works no matter how many resources you have. He has worked financial miracles in my life and in the lives of so many others who sought to become good stewards. The results that followed over the years have proven what God can do when we trust Him with everything, including our finances.

Article originally published in Grace Family Church 20th Anniversary Magazine and Ramsey Solution’s Stewardship Central.org.

Question: What pivotal moment caused you to surrender and trust God with your finances? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

The Secret Sauce for Starting a Stewardship Ministry | Part Two

Here is the 2nd part of a 3-part series entitled, “The Secret Sauce to Starting a Stewardship Ministry at your Church”.  This is an exciting write for me because I never dreamed I would be on the path that I am today.  I am thankful God has led to me being a stewardship director at a 7,000 member church.

I have had the privilege of leading the Stewardship Ministry for 7 years at Grace Family Church in Lutz, FL just outside of Tampa. During this time, I have learned that the most important thing to starting and growing a Stewardship ministry is having the Secret Sauce.  Using Financial Peace University, the ministry has been able to graduate almost 2,000 people, pay off over 6MM in debt and save 2MM in emergency funds.  How did we accomplish this?  It’s because we used the Secret Sauce for Starting a Stewardship Ministry, its called VMG.  It’s VISION – MISSION — GOAL.


Grace Family Church Stewardship Mission Statement:
Teaching all people how to manage God’s resources God’s way.

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