What is Stewardship Resources?

August 2014

Anabaptist Financial is a “four-legged stool,” with four distinct financial services. You are probably familiar with the first two legs of our stool: our investment and loan program, and our charitable services through Anabaptist Foundation. Both provide transactional financial services along with financial advice and Biblical counsel. The third leg of the Anabaptist Financial stool is Open Hands, which extends microfinance services internationally to help those in chronic poverty in Haiti, Kenya, and India. This article focuses on the fourth leg, Stewardship Resources, which provides stewardship education for families and business owners.

If you are like some conservative Anabaptist businessmen, you refine your business skills by learning on the job, by attending seminars, and by studying business books. However, many resources are secular and based on worldly, self-serving philosophy. Other resources undermine the values and practices of our Anabaptist worldview with their Protestant perspective. In contrast, we “harvest” the knowledge and experience of trusted men in our own conservative Anabaptist business communities by providing business seminars, one-on-one business advising, and printed resources for families in business.

Business Seminars

Stewardship Resources holds annual one-day business seminars in Lancaster County, PA, in the Holmes-Wayne County area of Ohio, and in mid-western states with sizeable conservative Anabaptist populations. Our goal is to help business families or partners learn to talk about the real issues, implement best practices, work together in harmonious relationships, and plan for the next generation. We do this through business teaching that integrates Biblical values, spiritual truth, and practical business counsel presented by seasoned men within the Anabaptist community.

Last year we held five different seminars attended by a total of 2,500 people. Seminar sessions systematically cover a broad range of theoretical and practical topics needed to operate all areas of business. Attending our business seminars year after year exposes you to comprehensive business training delivered by those who have gone down this road before you.

Our seminars foster brotherhood by bringing together a variety of fellowship groups to learn business practices, and by engaging brothers from a variety of groups to serve as speakers and representatives on local seminar planning committees. Please join us at a business seminar to take advantage of this learning and networking opportunity. Contact our office to be added to our seminar mailing list or to learn the date and location of the next business seminar in your area. 

Business Resources

Stewardship Resources harvests the business training presented at seminars and in articles written by Anabaptist businessmen and condenses it into simple, easy-to-read booklets. These printed business resources, like all of our efforts, integrate Biblical and Anabaptist principles with practical business knowledge for 21st-century business challenges. They enable you to continue learning on the job on your own schedule.

We also recommend books and other articles for learning significant business principles and best practices. While these books are generally in alignment with Anabaptist values, we do not endorse every aspect of their content. We present them as helpful resources to be read and applied with discretion.

Our offering of business resources is constantly growing. Booklets may be ordered from our website at www.afweb.org, or you may contact our office for a current order form.

Business Advising

Our business advising services provide one-on-one business consulting with experienced fellow Anabaptist businessmen. Our model is built on Christian principles, rather than worldly ethics and philosophy. With your business advisor, you can safely address issues that are causing difficulty and find solutions to your business challenges. The goal of our advising services is to help families in business cultivate and harvest financial success and spiritual blessing through their business operations.

Business Advising is custom tailored to your business and your needs. We help you select a business advisor who best understands your business and market. Advisors are like-minded persons who form a relationship with you and analyze your business operations to help you think about problems and apply practical solutions. Areas of focus include business start-up, business expansion, accommodating growth, conflict resolution, family matters, business transition, and more. You may engage a business advisor for a one-time specific issue, or for ongoing business consulting with fees based accordingly. We find that long term relationships are more effective. Our advisors deliver the greatest value when they join your leadership team and offer their strategies over an extended period of ongoing interaction. 

Personal and Family Finances

Anabaptist Financial’s initial focus has been on stewardship education for business. More recently, we have begun to develop resources to nurture Biblical stewardship in personal and family finances. The consumer culture in which we live can gradually undermine and weaken our financial values, leaving some in financial distress. In response, Stewardship Resources is developing financial resources to encourage stewardship teaching among us and to assist those who provide financial counsel.

We take both a preventative and remedial approach. The preventative approach is taking shape as we develop study materials for teaching in churches and small groups. Through seminars, the remedial approach prepares deacons, financial advisors, and trustees to assist families who are in financial distress.

Educational Materials

The Kingdom-focused stewardship educational materials available to our constituency are piecemeal, resulting in sporadic use by our churches. Without comprehensive, easy-to-use study materials, our people are increasingly turning to Protestant resources that may subtly encourage materialism, leading to further erosion of a Kingdom-focused view of finances.

Our goal is to provide a comprehensive curriculum for both children and adults that can be used in our churches and schools.

In summary, Stewardship Resources, the “fourth leg” of our stool, works with its sister organizations Anabaptist Financial, Anabaptist Foundation, and Open Hands to practice and promote faithful Biblical stewardship. We believe sound teaching in financial stewardship helps us to overcome the materialism of our age and to be more effective members of God’s Kingdom in our generation.