July 17, 1975 is permanently stamped into Steve Chittenden’s memory as the most important day in his personal history.
“I wasn’t raised in a Christian home, but then I met the Lord in high school,” recalls Steve. “When I first saw Christian compassion and kindness, it rocked my world!”
And so it was on July 17 that he received Jesus Christ into his life.
Reading the Bible for the first time, Steve was fascinated by the Apostle Paul’s missionary journeys. He wondered to himself, “If God could use Paul, then maybe he can use me, too.”
At 27, Steve explored this possibility by taking a year to visit missionaries around the world. He traveled as far as India where he landed on Mother Teresa’s doorstep (only to be told she was out of the country at the time). Two years later, Steve married and settled down with his wife, Julie, a high school art teacher.
Steve’s career was in the for-profit sector, but he found his true calling after taking a development job with Bible League International, a Christian nonprofit. “That was the beginning of my mission, the life of a missionary, if you will,” remarks Steve.
Today, Steve is the senior advancement director for Multiplication Network Ministries, which provides church planter training and places Bibles internationally. “If we can change the condition of the human heart through the proclamation of the Word,” explains Steve, “then we can change a lot in this world right now.”
Steve and Julie learned the power of generosity from other believers. “It’s not one of those things where all of a sudden our pocketbooks became God’s,” explains Steve. “We had to learn how to exercise the spiritual gift of giving. We just had to do it.”
Utilizing the Stewards Fund(Barnabas Foundation’s donor-advised fund), the Chittendens give to a variety of causes and emphasize the role of the Holy Spirit in their decision making. “It’s really important to follow the Spirit,” notes Steve. “When God tells you to give, then by all means, do it!”
Steve and Julie also have an estate plan through Barnabas Foundation, and they plan to give through their wills to ministries near to their heart. “It’s our legacy,” says Steve. “Through our estate plan, others will see that we’re followers of Jesus.”
Knowing everything they have belongs to God, giving to ministry is deeply satisfying for Steve and Julie. “Other than the love of Christ, it’s the true joymaker in our lives,” says Steve.