In a mandate given in the Garden of Eden and extended after the Flood (Genesis 1:28 and 9:1-7, respectively), God established humanity as stewards over His created work. Since we are tasked with the responsibility of managing the earth and its resources for the optimum benefit of mankind and for the glory of God, the principle of biblical stewardship is an essential part of every believer’s life. As Creator, the entire world and all its bounty belong to God (Psalm 50:10-12), including those resources we possess as individuals. God has temporarily entrusted these into our care to further His work on earth, and He will rightfully expect an accounting one day (1 Corinthians 3:13).
This mandate should be a source of great motivation for all Christians, best accomplished through faithful support of the church to impact the world for Christ. But we are also called to support Christian ministries, as the Lord provides the opportunity to “do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). In light of this directive, how can a believer confirm which ministries are truly worthy of support? After all, shouldn’t Christian ministries be accountable to the same principles of biblical stewardship that we are as believers?
The answer is a most emphatic “yes”! As you consider supporting Christian ministries, here are some simple tests you can apply to ensure the Lord will be pleased with your stewardship.
Review the Mission: What is the ministry’s main purpose, and do its programs effectively match the mission? Most importantly, does it genuinely advance the cause of Christ and the work of the Kingdom?
ICR’s mission is to equip believers with evidence of the Bible’s accuracy and authority through scientific research, educational programs, and media presentations, all conducted within a thoroughly biblical framework. Our scientific and educational focus is unique, combating the deception of evolutionary thought while verifying the accuracy of Scripture for the edification of all believers.
Look for Drift: Has the ministry stayed on task, or has it overextended its reach beyond the primary mission? Above all, does it exhibit a steadfast commitment to Scripture that is clearly seen in everything it does?
For 40 years, ICR has remained unabashedly committed to biblical truth, thoroughly vetting our core programs against Scripture. And unless the Lord’s hand is unmistakably apparent, ICR will not start new programs that could distract us from what we do best.
Evaluate the Credentials: Is the ministry a legally organized and recognized nonprofit? Is it a member of Christian financial accreditation and charitable auditing groups? Most importantly, does it exude a positive image for Christ and the Kingdom?
ICR is a recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit ministry and is a good-standing member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and the Independent Charities of America (which awarded us the “Best in America” seal of excellence). We are committed to exalting Christ the Creator above all else and equipping the saints for effective witness for Him.
Examine the Financials: What are the ministry’s sources of income? What are its expenditures, and are they consistent with its mission? Most importantly, how much debt does it carry?
Individual donors provide over 80 percent of ICR’s income, and nearly 85 percent of our expenditures directly support core ICR programs. As testament to 40 years of God’s marvelous provision through His people tempered by wise stewardship, ICR has never been in debt. Our financials can be reviewed at ICR.org/publicdisclosures.
* Mr. Morris is Director of Donor Relations at the Institute for Creation Research.
Cite this article: Morris IV, H. 2011. Principles of Biblical Stewardship: Tests of a Worthy Ministry. Acts & Facts. 40 (5): 21.