8-23_Tony Stewart-Blog

Give Conference Speaker Spotlight: Tony Stewart

Church leaders everywhere are overwhelmed with the thought, “How can I build a generous church?

Both churches big and small, from east to west, across all denominations ask this question. So how do you do it? You equip yourself with the correct tools, connections, and resources to build a generous church. But, that’s much easier said than done. This is why we created Give Conference.

This is a unique event for you to connect with other pastors that are like you and learn from leaders who have been where you’ve been. You’ll walk away with an actionable plan on how to cultivate a culture of generosity in your church. You’ll be resourced and equipped with knowledge unlike any other event.

SecureGive is excited to introduce Tony Stewart, Lead Pastor at citylife church in Tampa, Florida. He will be speaking at the Monday evening session of Give Conference, challenging and empowering us as we kick off the conference.

We had the chance to sit down with him this week to get a few early pieces of advice on how to encourage your congregation to embrace biblical principals:

1. Why are you excited about Give Conference?

Anytime that church leaders are able to connect and not only share one another’s story but the story of the Kingdom, it is encouraging and life changing.

The story of the Kingdom is foundationally built for generosity. John 3:16 tells us that God so loved the world that He gave. Everything we do is built on the generous love of God.

Anytime pastors come together in a forum to talk about giving and generosity, we’re reminded that we are standing on the platform so that the Good News can be spoken and the Great Commission can be delivered.

We need to get back to why we do what we do foundationally as leaders. Giving is key to service, teaching, worship, and prayer.

This season, more than ever before, we need to be reminded of our “why.” We need to get back to why we do what we do foundationally as leaders. Giving is key to service, teaching, worship, and prayer. I am excited to be with like minded leaders discussing the power of generosity in the Kingdom.

2. How has your vision for generosity changed over the years? And in conjunction, how has your faith played a role in this as you’ve witnessed the Lord’s provision for citylife church?

The concept of faithfulness has marked my vision for generosity.

For our family, it started with a small seed – giving to a missionary. This revolutionized our life and opened a door for us for perpetual seasons to come. It felt like so much money to give that first time.

As I look back now, that’s just a fraction of the generosity that the Lord has called us to now. Anything that we personally steward, God expands the capacity for it.

The Bible teaches us that when you’re faithful in small things, God allows you to be established to rule over the much.

The Bible teaches us that when you’re faithful in small things, God allows you to be established to rule over the much. We took what was in our hands and used it for His glory and purposes. Our capacity to give has been expanded, but when the ministry was smaller and just beginning we were simply faithful. Faithfulness is the key. God is always calling us to faithfully steward what’s in our hand (not what we don’t have, and not what is in the hands of others – just ours). Continue to steward the small amount He’s given so it grows.

It is easy to give out of abundance, comfort, or stability. But the demand on your faith is tested when you have to give in seasons where the resources are not as abundant, when things are not fully known – this is sacrificial giving. Faith is stepping into the unseen and unknown. There’s no greater way to move the heart of God than faith. Faith is the key to new seasons, moving from glory to glory. It’s like an escalator – you don’t have to do a lot of work to step into it, but you need to step into it and then you move from level to level. Anytime we operate in a realm of faith we put the demand on the Father and the Kingdom. And when God moves, everything shifts.

But the demand on your faith is tested when you have to give in seasons where the resources are not as abundant, when things are not fully known – this is sacrificial giving. Faith is stepping into the unseen and unknown. There’s no greater way to move the heart of God than faith.

I believe that faith unlocks the revelation of the joy of giving. I know of an individual who gave under obligation and it was always a struggle. But one day she heard a sermon preached on the joy of giving that changed the way she gave for decades to come. Faith empowers us to give with a generous church and reminds us that we’re part of something bigger than us.

3. What has the Lord revealed to you about generosity during this season and what practical advice would you give to pastors as they lead their church’s congregants to grow in their generosity?

I’m reminded of Proverbs 11, which tells us the world of the generous continues to get larger and larger.

It’s easy in this season for all of us to see with a small lens. We see “my house, my church, my community.” But when we see the bigger Kingdom picture and plan, we’re reminded the world of the generous is to flourish. Remember that there’s a big plan and purpose. We are connected to something much bigger than us. This helps me personally remember that there’s more than just the small battle I’m going through. When I win, we all win and when we all win, then I win.

When we see the bigger Kingdom picture and plan, we’re reminded the world of the generous is to flourish.

Generosity is the key to reminding us all that we’re connected to the Kingdom of God.

4. What are you hoping that church leaders take away from the Give Conference?

It is so easy for us as leaders to get isolated in our places. The local church is a small microcosm of the Kingdom. When I’m connected to the Kingdom of God I’m connected to something greater than our corner and community. I want leaders to be reminded that they are a part of this greater mission together.

The key to walking out of this season victorious is a pure heart and a generous mindset.

The key to walking out of this season victorious is a pure heart and a generous mindset.

I pray over pastors personally, and I also pray for this in their congregations. Give Conference is a great launchpad for this.

 

Building a generous church can be overwhelming and it’s not something that just happens over night. But cultivating a culture of generosity is crucial to the impact your church can have. And that’s why SecureGive wants to help. At Give Conference, you’ll be resourced with everything you need to cultivate a culture of generosity in your church. This is a conference you don’t want to miss.

To find out more or to purchase your ticket, visit giveconference.com.

Tony Stewart

Pastor Tony is the Senior Pastor of citylife church, a dynamic, 4,000 member, multi-campus, multi-racial, multi-generational church that is on the move in Tampa, Florida. Additionally, citylife church has been named by Outreach Magazine and Lifeway Research as one of the fastest growing churches in America and received this recognition the last 4 out of 5 years.

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