1. Is it in the Bible?
1Co 4:1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and
stewards of the mysteries of God.
1Co 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
Ga 4:2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.
1Pe 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
Lu 16:2 And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this
of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no
Lu 16:3 Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.
Lu 16:4 I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.
1Co 9:17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.
Eph 3:2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
2Co 8:23 Whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner
and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be enquired of, they
are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ.
Phm 1:17 If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.
2Co 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
2. What do we believe it means?
Stewardship or partnership is the responsibility of the common believer to support their leaders.
3. What does it really mean?
This is yet another correct concept, gone awry because of our incorrect
definitive and functions of ministry.
It is correct biblically that believers should support the ministry of other believers. However, biblically , ministry is an operation, an anointing in which any believer could function at any time. Ministry was not a permanent title or position of authority over other believers. Within the incorrect framework of the church, a good portion of the giving--the "stewardship" of most Christians, goes to something that benefits themselves.
Notice how that in the scriptures which mention the concepts of "stewardship", there is no mention of "ministerial authority". The stewardship the Bible is speaking about is the responsiblity of all believers to carry the Gospel. We are all meant to "manage" our portion of the Gospel--and not manage one another!
The partnership that is taught in the traditional church is a one-way street. The concept of partnership is functioning together in mutual decision making. The tradition of church gives on man all the decision making--absolutely NOT a partnership!
Christians give to themselves . Christian tradition tells us to build a "sanctuary", a large building, which is used once a week for an hour or 2. And when in use, this building largely only benefits believers. The stewardship the bible describes is within a system of direct giving to gospel--to the poor and the needy, and to support whomever God has chosen to minister in that hour.
Christians should be able to give, and be stewards to other believers
and receive stewardship, from others when they are called to minister.
This function should have flexibility based upon the spontaneity of ministry, Not a pre set giving, but one that flows with the Spirit as well.
The biblical cheerful giver was joyful in his giving but also knew at any time it could be his turn to receive from others.
That is why he was cheerful, because he knew he would have the chance to minister also!