Stewardship Stories

Alan Barnhardt

Alan Barnhart is an American businessman who owns and runs a business valued at $250 million

When he was at University he poured over the teaching of Jesus and was struck by Jesus call to generosity and his warnings about wealth. He was determined that when he went into business he would not allow any financial success he might enjoy to become a source of spiritual failure.

When he and his brother took over their small family business, Barnhart Crane and Rigging, they set incomes for themselves that would enable them to support their families in a modest middle class lifestyle and agreed that anything the company made beyond that would be given to ministry, particularly ministries in the developing world.

In their first year they were able to give away $50,000; in the second year $150,000; and by 2005 they were giving away $1 million a month. They have also placed 99% ownership of the company into a trust that will ensure that when they have departed, all proceeds from the firm will continue to be invested in ministry.

Alan doesn’t regret the decision to limit his income. He, his wife and his children have been able to visit the projects they support and see the impact in people’s lives. Alan says that giving is fun!

Inspired by the teaching of Jesus on wealth, Alan Barnhart took a simple decision that revolutionised his life and enabled him to practise generosity.

Source: and Barnhart, “Profit with a Purpose” in The Generous Business. A Guide for Incorporating Giving at Work. 

He Will

The telephone rings in the pastor’s office. “Hello, is this Pastor Johns?” the caller asks.

“Yes it is.”

“This is the tax department. We wonder if you can help us”

The pastor feels butterflies in his tummy. Why is the tax department ringing him? Nervously he replies “I’ll do the best I can.”

“Do you know a Bruce Parker?” asks the tax agent.

“Why yes” replies the pastor. “He’s a member of my congregation.”

“Did he donate $10,000 to the church building fund?”

A smile comes across the Pastor’s face. “He will.”

I Won’t Pray Til You Give

How often do we ask God for things that we really have no right to? Tony Campolo was once a guest speaker at a mission rally, when he was asked to lead in prayer for a missionary doctor the group supported. The goal of the prayer? That God might provide the $5000 urgently needed for the medical centre the doctor ran.

Tony refused. He knew his audience was made up of people who were materially prosperous. So he declared he would pray only after everyone in the room gave to the project the money they had on them that day. The audience were stunned, but when Tony started emptying his pockets they knew he was serious. After some hesitation everyone started following suit. The prayer of request soon became a prayer of thanksgiving, for by the end of the giving they had collected $8000, much more than was needed in the first place!

Source: Reported in Tony Campolo, Let Me Tell You A Story