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 | Chris Kreslins

Growing as a Disciple Leads to Being a Good Steward

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

In the life of the Church, there is a strong connection between evangelization and stewardship. The two should not be separated. It is evangelization that produces the disciple and discipleship that produces a steward. This process helps move believers from inquiring about the faith to fully embracing Jesus Christ and the Church’s mission. It moves Christians from giving what might be in their pocket when the collection basket passes, to prayerfully and sacrificially giving of their time, talent, and treasure to the Church.

It is Christ Himself that calls us to be His disciples (Mk 1:17) and stewards of the gifts He has shared with us. (Lk 16:1-13). Christ also calls us to grow and bear fruit. (Jn 15:5) But how do we grow as a disciples so that we can also grow as stewards?

One thing that can be helpful is to look at the different characteristics that are a part of a beginning, growing and mature disciple and see how they correlate with being a steward. The simple chart on this page describes some of those characteristics. It shows how each section can build upon the other with the overall goal to become a mature disciple and steward.

For the sake of clarity and time, let’s focus on the “giving back treasure” portion of stewardship, since it is usually the most challenging. A common term for treasure is “tithe” or “tithing.” “Tithe” is a biblical term that means 10 percent. Traditionally, Catholics give 5 percent of their income to support their parish and the other 5 percent to support the Annual Catholic Appeal, Catholic Charities, Catholic education and other worthy charitable causes.

When looking at the characteristics of a beginning disciple, we see that those who give a small portion back to God, outside of going to Mass on Sunday, may very likely be reluctant or fear planning and/or increasing their tithing. By taking steps to give more of our time during the week outside of Mass to prayer, sacrificial love in our homes, and attention to the needs of others, we will begin to slowly experience a change in our hearts toward tithing. This extra time dedicated to growing as disciples helps us take the next steps in giving more to support the parish and other ministries.

Please take some time to prayerfully consider the characteristics of discipleship and stewardship. Decide where you want to be on the growth chart, then begin to apply characteristics in the next category to achieve that growth. Are you already a mature disciple and steward?

Now, find ways to help others grow as disciples and stewards for Christ and His Church.

To see the full Discipleship and Steward Growth chart, you may visit:

Next issue: A tool to prayerfully plan how you will give your time, talent and treasure back to God.