My Nerdy (Stewardship) Dream

By Rev. Phillip Leo, Church Communications Director

“I’ve been trying to get down to the heart of the matter… (and) I think it’s about forgiveness, forgiveness…even if, even if you don’t love me anymore.”

I’ve always loved these lyrics from Don Henley’s hit song “The Heart of the Matter.” Not only are these words profound, but it sounds amazing when I sing them. Okay, “amazing” is a stretch.   

My nerdy dream is to compose and perform a hit song about the heart of the matter for church stewardship. After it goes platinum, waiting rooms and elevators around the world will be filled with my song. Millions of people will quietly sing along with me, “I’ve been trying to get down to the heart of the matter (and) I think it’s about…”

I’ll stop short of filling in the blank here for two reasons:

  • I don’t want any more of this future mega-hit to leak out.
  • I want you to fill in the blank.

You know about stewardship. It’s the once-a-year sermon where the first point is: “Everything belongs to God.” It’s the honest but difficult conversations about honoring God with our money. It’s teaching children how to spend and save money. It’s the stuff of budget shortfalls and how to finally pay for ministry.

So what’s it about? Is stewardship about growing a generous church culture? Is it about best practices when it comes to budgeting? Is it about increasing financial literacy? Is it about church members giving more money? How do you fill in the blank?

I recently read somewhere that stewardship has been kidnapped by a villain named “Paying the Bills.”

Not only does this capture the imagination but it’s probably true! If it’s not, then perhaps the opposite is: that stewardship has been watered down so that it’s about basically everything — the careful use of time, treasure and talent.

This makes me wonder how anyone actually “does stewardship” if its work is unclear. It’s hard to do business when you have no idea what the business is. No wonder the stewardship pony only gets trotted around the church track a couple times per year!

So, sing it out loud with me: “I’ve been trying to get down to the heart of the matter… (and) I think it’s about discipleship, discipleship…even if, even if you aren’t so sure anymore.” 

Barnabas Foundation is proud to be your partner in promoting financial literacy and generous giving at your church. Find articles, books, studies and more for your church under Tools and Resources. You can also email me at or call 888.448.3040.

Rev. Phillip Leo is the Church Communications Director at Barnabas Foundation. Read Phil’s online bio.