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Home > Stories & Testimonies > Pastors & Teachers > 1 2

Stewardship Stories: Pastors and the Joy of Giving

Has your teaching sparked a renewed enthusiasm for generous giving among your congregation? Click on a story below to meet fellow pastors and teachers who have taught faithfully on this topic—and have seen Christ advance His kingdom as a result. If you have been moved by their personal testimonies, share your brief story with us—so that others might excel in the teaching of generous giving. Also, you may wish to read a shorter list of key pastor stories or comments from pastors and teachers about Generous Giving.
15 Churches in Nashville, Tenn.
    Churches Give Away $100 Bills for Acts of Kindness
    Bobby Ross, Jr. The Associated Press; rpt. Pay It Forward Foundation, November 26, 2002.
    Imagine showing up for worship one weekend and, instead of putting money in the collection plate, taking home a crisp $100 bill. You can spend it however you want. There’s just one catch: The preacher tells you that this money—like all your earthly possessions—is a gift from God. Such was the scenario as 15 Nashville, Tenn., churches randomly distributed $50,000 given by an anonymous donor for acts of kindness. In all, 500 people received $100 bills, each with the same instruction: “Use the money in the name of Jesus. Oh, and don’t take anything in return or accept any credit.” The project seemed to inspire many to help their friends and those in need. While there’s no guarantee the money was used for noble purposes, one pastor said, “We’re far less concerned about a $100 bill being misused than in creating an opportunity for a lot more to be used appropriately.”

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Alcorn, Randy
    Living with Less
    Randy Alcorn. Excerpt from a sermon preached at the annual Generous Giving Conference, Sarasota, Fla., February 28-March 2, 2002.
    As a pastor living on a fixed income, what would you do if an unexpected check for $10,000 arrived in the mail—made out to you?




    The Pastor without a Paycheck: Randy Alcorn Learned to Live What He Had Preached While Fleeing the Wrath of Abortionists and the Judgment of the Courts
    Tim Stafford. Christianity Today, April 2003.
    One Friday in 1990, an envelope came to the door of Randy Alcorn’s semi-rural home in Gresham, Ore. Inside the envelope was a writ of garnishment for his wages. The writ required Good Shepherd Church, where Alcorn was pastor of missions, to surrender a portion of his wages, following his arrest and judgment for blocking the doors of abortion clinics. Alcorn had refused to pay, believing it would violate his conscience to write a check to an abortion clinic. By Sunday, he had quit his job—his house, car and bank account already in his wife’s name and his copyrights relinquished. He would have to get by on minimum wage, the only income protected by law. It seemed that Alcorn’s passion for generous giving and for missions would find few avenues for expression. But to his surprise, the opposite occurred.

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Barker, Frank
    Reflections: Some Things I Would Have Done Differently, If I Had Another 40 Years
    Frank Barker. Speech delivered at the 32nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America, Pittsburgh, Pa., June 14-18, 2004.
    Frank Barker, pastor emeritus of Briarwood Presbyterian Church (Birmingham, Ala.), speaks to pastors and elders about advancing God’s kingdom through the local church. While candidly discussing the areas in which believed he fell short as a pastor, Barker also praises God for the successes he saw in his congregation—such as in the area of stewardship. “I’ve seen people grow more spiritually over the years as they took steps of faith and obedience in the financial area than almost any other area.” As a pastor, he regularly asked his members to study 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 and to think about the church budget in terms of that passage. He also devoted an annual sermon series to stewardship, and he was not shy in telling incoming members about the church’s heart for stewardship. The resource is available in streaming audio.

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Becket, Thomas
    Thomas Becket’s Life
    Gervase of Canterbury. Joseph Stevenson, trans. The Church Historians of England, vol. 5, part 1. London: Seeley’s, 1853.
    This account of Thomas Becket’s life is written by Gervase of Canterbury (d. 1205), a monk who knew Becket personally. Thomas Becket was born into a family of middle rank, and from his young years he was “rich in every grace” and always showed compassion to the poor and needy. Upon being appointed archbishop of Canterbury, Becket lived very modestly, was moderate in eating and drinking, and was generous in hospitality. He was “the father of the poor and the comforter of the sorrowful.” Gervase describes Becket’s modest lifestyle: “As if to instruct the faith and conversation of the beholders by his own example, he kept his hands clean from all gifts, and entirely banished from his house the filth of avarice.” One of Becket’s goals during his time in ministry was to “restore and reduce to their primitive state those rights and dignities of the church of which the civil power had deprived her.” These views caused him conflict with the king of England, and eventually Becket was driven into banishment in France. The king’s malice was so great that he drove out Becket’s entire household and friends, including women with children.

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Bellesi, Denny
    The Kingdom Assignment: What Will You Do with the Talents God Has Given You?
    Denny and Leesa Bellesi. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2001.
    One Sunday, Pastor Bellesi gave each of 100 people in his congregation (men, women and children of all ages) a crisp $100 bill. Their assignment: The money belonged to God, not to them; they were to use it to further His kingdom outside the church; and they were to report back in 90 days as to what they did with the money. What happened next? One by one the stories came in, big and small, as the Kingdom Assignment began changing lives, both the ones who received and the ones who gave. This book is about 100 people who decided to take Jesus at his word and learn to live every day like Jesus would if he were them.

    The Kingdom Assignment 2: What Treasure Stands between You and a Significant Relationship with God?
    Denny and Leesa Bellesi. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2002.
    In the “sequel” to their first book, the Bellesis recount what happened when they challenged each man, woman and child in their congregation to sell something worth $100 and to give the proceeds to the poor. Unpacking the gospel story of the rich young ruler’s encounter with Jesus, the Bellesis reveal the choice each of us must make between treasure and significance. Treasure—the things we hold so tightly—can be much more than financial and material wealth. Does your life exhibit the “Seven Signs of Significance”: surrender, sacrifice, submission, simplicity, servanthood, surprise and silence? This book reveals why they’re so important, showing how they play out in ordinary lives. And it will encourages the reader to let nothing stand between him and the significance God created him to have.

    Seed Money: Pastor Denny Bellesi Planted a Notion of Charity in His California Congregation—and Fertilized It with $100 Bills
    William Plummer and Jill Movshin Singer. People, May 21, 2001.
    When Denny Bellesi wanted to teach his congregation about the joys of giving, he decided to do more than preach a sermon—he gave away $10,000 from the church treasury. With sums of $100 apiece, 100 members of the congregation have gone out into the community, investing their modern-day talents in the work of the kingdom.

    Pastor’s Lesson Inspires Charity: California Minister Handed out $100 Each to 100 People for Recipients to Use for Good
    The Associated Press; rpt. The Holland (Mich.) Sentinel, 2000.
    Pastor Denny Bellesi gave out $100 bills—a total of $10,000—with the instruction that recipients go forward and do good. “I told them it had to be invested outside the church. It had to be glorifying to God and it had to be benefiting to others,” he said. What began with 100 people has since involved hundreds of others. Their actions include small acts of kindness—such as helping a family get on their feet—to the large—funding construction of a church in Asia.

    One Year Later, Reverend’s Lesson Keeps Paying Forward
    Chelsea J. Carter. The Associated Press; rpt. Pay It Forward Foundation.
    Denny Bellesi shook his head as he recounted all the good news. Donations from a $5 bill to a $50,000 check had poured into his church to build a shelter for women. It all began last November, when Bellesi handed out $100 each to 100 members of his Coast Hills Community Church in Orange County, Calif. His only instructions: Go forth and do good in the name of God. Their effort has grown to involve thousands of people across the country whose actions include small acts of kindness—such as helping a family to get on their feet—to the larger act of funding construction of the women’s shelter. Subsequently, Bellesi asked each of 1,000 members of his congregation to sell something valued at more than $100 so that the church might give $100,000 to the poor. The movement is contagious, and many churches across the country are seeking to make similar strides toward generosity.

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Burns, W.C. “Buddy”
    Texas Pastor Donates 12,000 Books to SWBTS Houston Campus
    Brent Thompson. Baptist Press News, February 16, 2005.
    Some years ago Texas pastor W.C. “Buddy” Burns, a 1966 graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, was challenged by his pastor to read one book a week. With a desire to know everything he could about the Bible, Burns took this challenge seriously and accumulated 12,000 books over his lifetime. Realizing that his library had become too large to store, Burns decided to give it away. He chose his alma mater as the recipient because “I would not be where I am today if it had not been for my work” there. Burns’ gift tripled the size of the seminary’s library. He sees his donation as a way of extending his ministry and God’s kingdom, hoping that other pastors will follow his example. By pursuing a deeper knowledge of God’s word, Burns was unknowingly preparing the way for other pastors to do the same. When our resources become too large for us to handle, could it be because they are intended to bless others?

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Calvary Chapel of Fort Lauderdale (Fla.)
    Calvary Chapel of Fort Lauderdale Receives $103 Million in Pledges for Expansion
    James D. Davis. South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., May 1, 2006.
    In 2006, Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) received the largest pledge ever by a U.S. church: $103 million. The closest to this was $84 million, raised a year earlier by Second Baptist Church in Houston. After a two-month appeal via sermons and brochures, Calvary overshot its goal of $80 million. Pastor Bob Coy says the money will be used to build new spaces to further the 24/7 ministry of the church, which includes foster care, counseling, a feeding program, a radio station and classes in parenting and finances. The projects include a larger sanctuary, 36,000 square feet and seating for 7,000 people; a four-story discipleship building, including a 650-seat theater, a church day school, and media and performing art rooms; and a renovated youth center with a café, gym and skateboard park. Calvary Chapel has a total weekly attendance of 20,000 at three different worship sites.

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Chalmers, Thomas
    Thomas Chalmers: Economic and Social Ideals
    Free Church of Scotland, n.d.
    Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847) was a Scottish pastor and professor of moral philosophy who demonstrated that “the system of voluntary aid was effective.” When he discovered that many of his Sunday school children could not read, he was awakened to the deeper problem of poverty caused by rapid industrialization. He led his parish to virtually eradicate poverty by employing biblical principles of responsibility. He taught that the poor had the responsibility to be frugal, work hard and save, and those better-off had the responsibility to help their neighbors. Chalmers believed that poverty relief should be driven, not by taxes, but by voluntary church funds in the hands of trained deacons. Under his oversight, the church’s poverty relief expenses were reduced by 80 percent while becoming more effective than ever. “The transforming power of the Christian Gospel ... prove[d] itself in and through the life of Thomas Chalmers.”

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Clark, Bryan
    Giving as Discipleship
    Bryan Clark. Testimony delivered at Exponential ’06 Conference for Pastors, Generous Giving’s joint conference with Crown Financial Ministries, Southlake, Texas, September 19, 2006.
    Bryan Clark recounts to fellow pastors how generosity transformed his congregation into a locally expanding and globally impacting community of believers. Early on, Clark was convinced that money was a taboo subject for the church. Only after realizing the desperate financial trouble of many in his congregation did he recognize there was a real need for change. After searching the Scriptures and meeting with churches and organizations more experienced in dealing with financial ministry, Clark broke the news to his congregation that financial counseling services would be opened and that a $15 million project to expand their growing church would begin, along with a campaign to start 100 new churches in India. “We were committed not to shift into fund-raising mode; we wanted somehow to understand the biblical principles and really lead people in a significant life-change.” Over the next few years giving went up 60 percent, and financial difficulties of church members are dealt with from a biblical perspective. Clark ends by reminding us that above all else he and his congregation know that “...God is giving me the opportunity. It’s not a duty—it’s not drudgery—it’s an opportunity to invest myself in something that, in 100,000 years from now, will still matter.” This resource is available on compact disc.

    Preaching Generosity with No Apologies: An Impossibly Huge Vision of God’s Kingdom in Lincoln, Nebraska
    David Arthur. Chattanooga, Tenn.: Generous Giving, 2006.
    Bryan Clark, pastor of Lincoln Berean Church in Lincoln, Neb., was convicted by God that he had never faithfully preached biblical giving. “I’m personally to blame for those people struggling with debt [in my church]. They had bought into the value system of the world. So I apologized to the congregation for not teaching on money in the past.” This paper documents the launching of Clark’s vision for a generous church, which seeks a “culture of giving, not just a campaign for giving.” This vision consists of several goals, among them a new 3,500-seat auditorium and 100 church plants in India. One of the first steps in realizing this vision was to create a pastoral position called “personal stewardship development pastor,” whose primary responsibility is to shepherd people in their personal financial journeys. Because Clark had built up trust with members of his congregation, he was able to preach about money to a captivated audience. “The churches that are not speaking the message of generosity are missing out. People are not leaving since we started [preaching] this message; rather, they are embracing it.” Lincoln Berean Church is an incredible example of people following a vision for biblical generosity, demonstrating that in order for a successful stewardship ministry to take place, the church must want something for its people (i.e. greater faith), not just something from its people (i.e. their money).

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Collingsworth, J.B.
    Stewardship Teaching at FBC, Orlando Changes Homes
    Ken Walker. Florida Baptist Witness, July 28, 2003.
    After traveling and seeing the patterns of couples who get divorces, J.B. Collingsworth, former pastor and leader of a marriage-enrichment ministry, has encouraged many churches to teach couples biblical principles on finances. “One of the leading causes of divorces is money problems.” While a pastor at First Baptist Church in Orlando, Fla., Collingsworth helped to organize classes and small groups for couples to train members in the responsibilities of financial management. Collingsworth says his church saw a 19 percent increase in giving since the classes and small groups began.

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Cox, Dave
    Time for a Change
    Dave Cox. Testimony delivered at Exponential ’06 Conference for Pastors, Generous Giving’s joint conference with Crown Financial Ministries, Southlake, Texas, September 19, 2006.
    Dave Cox, pastor of Westside Family Church in Shawnee, Kans., addresses fellow pastors with the remarkable story of how his church was transformed by a culture of generosity. In the year 2004 it looked like Westside Family Church was doing everything right; it was only after a careful look at church finances that a problem was seen—members of the congregation were sinking deeply into debt while, at the same time, the church’s general fund contained only $1.67. Cox began to realize that he had preached only 10 out of 800 sermons on “stuff” due to his fear of the subject and that the church was suffering for it. So Cox refocused on stewardship and generosity: “We said we want to teach it, preach it, celebrate it and model it.” Sermon series focusing on subjects such as giving sacrificially and not letting money rule one’s life became commonplace as the culture of the congregation began to change. “We’ve got folks downsizing homes so they can live more simply. We’ve got folks who have learned to give for the first time; we’ve got folks that are getting out of debt. We’ve got folks who just have their whole life ... changing because we finally had the courage to say what God’s word has to say about [generosity].” Most of all, says Cox, a culture of generosity is about the people and about the effect that this wonderful message has on his congregation and the lives of those around them. This resource is available on compact disc.

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Coy, Bob
    Stewardship: The ‘Heart’ of the Matter
    Bob Coy. Money Matters, no. 328 (July 2005).
    Pastor Bob Coy has seen his church, Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale (Fla.), grow from four attendees to over 17,000. The church has grown financially, too, without ever passing an offering plate. Yet when Coy attended a conference on giving, he came to the conclusion that “in my attempt not to offend or wound in this sensitive area, I had underemphasized the need for giving.” He now testifies that omitting to preach about stewardship leads to “anemic Christians.” Coy urges fellow pastors not to preach giving just for the church’s financial health, but to preach it for the congregation’s spiritual health.

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Cyprian of Carthage
    To the Clergy, Concerning the Care of the Poor and Strangers
    Cyprian of Carthage [Thascius Caecilius Cyprianus]. Epistle 35. From “Fathers of the Third Century: Hippolytus, Cyprian, Caius, Novatian, Appendix,” vol. 5 of “The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325.” Eds. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. American reprint. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1986.
    While away from his flock in hiding (due to persecution under Roman Emperor Decian), Cyprian of Cathage exhorts those he left behind to “diligently take care of the widows, and of the sick, and of all the poor. Moreover, you may supply the expenses for strangers, if any should be indigent, from my own portion ... so that the sufferers may be more largely and promptly dealt with.” This third-century bishop, teacher and martyr shows us today how to be cheerful givers even in the midst of trials.

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Dodd, Jimmy
    Repent, Preach and Model Generosity
    Jimmy Dodd. Testimony delivered at Generous Giving’s joint regional conference for pastors with Servant Christian Community Foundation, Kansas City, Mo., April 5, 2005.
    Christians are often oblivious to the chokehold that the love of money has over their lives. Sadly, we often go to the same extremes to which nonbelievers go for the sake and love of money. Kansas City area pastor Jimmy Dodd tells a personal story about how an encounter with the lottery awoke him from his materialistic slumber. Dodd had never played the lottery before, but one day after finding a dollar's worth of change in the laundry, he casually bought a lottery ticket for kicks. That night, while watching the news, his attention became absolutely overwhelmed when all the lottery numbers that were called out for the $35 million jackpot matched his ticket digit by digit except for the final number. For weeks later Dodd was unable to get the $35 million out of his mind until he was finally brought to repentance for his idolatry. Suggesting to pastors that most of us are affected by similar obsessions, Dodd encourages pastors not only to repent personally, but also to preach repentance of the love of money. The only way to effectively foster a culture of generosity within a church, Dodd believes, is for pastors to model stewardship and generosity through their behavior and life practices. He points out a pitfall for preaching on these themes: Normally, generosity is not preached because pastors often fail to model it themselves; which is why the first step must be individual repentance on the pastor's part. Moving on to practical themes which appear in Scripture, Dodd sets out to encourage pastors to preach and teach on biblical themes such as faithful giving (Malachi 3), generous giving (Romans 12:8), sacrificial giving (2 Corinthians 8:1-2) and other biblical imperatives. Most importantly, however, Dodd is careful to point out that Christian giving is ultimately a response anchored in the gift of God in Christ Jesus. Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time.

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Fellowship Bible Church, Brentwood, Tenn.
    Values-Driven Generosity: Fellowship Bible Church, Brentwood, TN
    David Arthur. Chattanooga, Tenn.: Generous Giving, 2006.
    This case study gives an inspiring model of a congregation that has learned to give with a truly generous heart. Several years after its founding Fellowship Bible Church put “generosity” as one of its key values, and drastic changes began to happen. Today the church has a 2,000-member body that is focused on “giving their life away.” Through this shift in focus and a series of studies on biblical generosity, “the church has received more than $500,000 above its annual ministries and operations budget, has paid $1.9 million toward its mortgage without a capital campaign, and has invested more than $800,000 in global and local outreach.” The pastors proclaim boldly, “If you lose your life for Christ, you will find it. This includes your possessions and money. We care about your money because we care about your heart.” The report concludes with encouraging personal stories of how this church-wide focus on generosity has positively affected members of the congregation.

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Fikkert, Brian
    Repenting of the Health and Wealth Gospel
    Brian Fikkert. Mandate (Chalmers Center for Economic Development at Covenant College, Lookout Mountain, Ga.), Fall 2001.
    You may believe in the health and wealth gospel, which teaches that God rewards increasing levels of faith with greater amounts of wealth, and not even realize it! Like many Christians, Dr. Brian Fikkert, director of the Chalmers Center for Economic Development at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Ga., could refute this false doctrine with plenty of biblical evidence showing that economic superiority does not result from spiritual superiority. But while walking through a Nairobi slum, he realized that he had internalized this teaching. He encountered a church with 30 impoverished Kenyan Christians who completely relied on the provision of their sovereign God for the most basic of needs, like food and medical care. Fikkert did not expect that this kind of faith, greater than his own, would be found in such a poor area. He invites other American Christians to join him in repenting the sin of arrogance and to recognize that we have much to learn from our poor brothers and sisters.

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Greer, Jeff
    It Takes an Idea to Raise a City
    Kristina Goetz. The Cincinnati (Ohio) Enquirer, January 26, 2003.
    A meeting between student Emmanuel Itapson and pastor Jeff Greer sparked the beginning of a nonprofit corporation to aid the poor in Nigeria. The corporation aims to start a food processing and agriculture program to produce nonperishable foods while using the profits from this to, among other things, start a boarding school for underprivileged children. Itapson, a native Nigerian, hopes to aid those in need in his home country by generously giving all he has to this corporation.

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Grimshaw, William
    The Radical Generosity of William Grimshaw
    Summary compiled by Generous Giving from various sources.
    William Grimshaw (1708-63) began his career as a misguided curate who indulged in alcohol and gambling—but he ended it as one of the most radically generous and passionate preachers of his day. His extreme pastoral measures—which included forcefully driving parishioners to church, disguising himself as a beggar to test the generosity of his congregants, and dressing up like the devil to frighten an errant youth into obedience—earned him the nickname “Mad Grimshaw.” His radical zeal didn’t stop there: He lived a life of uncompromising generosity and gave to all the needy people he encountered. When Grimshaw traveled the countryside to preach the good news, he often came home drenched with rain and shivering because he literally had given the coat off his back to a person in need. He even borrowed money so that he could take care of orphans and hungry people while simultaneously forgiving his own financial debtors. At the end of his life he had given away nearly everything he had; at his death, his estate consisted of five pounds, his feather bed, his pillow and a rug. Grimshaw “entered the world naked, and so he left it,” leaving behind only the testimony of one who zealously lived the generous life out of loving obedience to Jesus Christ (Thomas, “God’s Indescribable Gift,” 2001). For more on William Grimshaw, see the following:

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Guthrie, Thomas
    The Edinburgh Original School: How It Was Got up and What It Has Done
    Thomas Guthrie. Chapter in “Out of Harness: Sketches, Narrative and Descriptive.” New York: Alexander Strahan, 1867.
    Scottish minister Thomas Guthrie (1803-73) witnessed the worst poverty of his city, Edinburgh, and resolved to do something about it. In this book Guthrie tells of his shock when he first saw the destitute children of Edinburgh’s poorest neighborhoods. He declared, “Unless the yawning gulf which separates these children from education is bridged over by a loaf of bread—unless, in other words, they are fed as well as educated at school—they must remain begging, or stealing, or starving; to sink, if that is possible, into deeper depths of ignorance and crime.” In 1847 Guthrie established The Ragged School in Edinburgh, which taught children to read, write and cipher, and it also provided them with three meals a day and Bible lessons. Altogether, the school rescued more than 500 children from lives of poverty and even crime. This first chapter of Guthrie’s book describes his decision to start the school, the opposition he faced, and the way God used the school to transform the neighborhood and better the lives of many destitute children.

    Sketch of Thomas Guthrie
    Edinburgh-Royalmile.com.
    Philanthropist, preacher and reformer Thomas Guthrie (1803-73) dedicated much of his life to caring for the poor. He saw the connections between poverty, ignorance, disease and crime, and so he advocated the creation of “ragged schools.” These schools—including the one Guthrie established in 1847—educated, fed, clothed and even lodged many of the city’s poorest children. During the Disruption of 1843, Guthrie sided with the reformers who left the Church of Scotland in order to form Free Churches. He helped to raise over Ł116,000 to build houses for the preachers who were in trouble with the state. He also campaigned against landlords who refused to give land to those building Free Churches.

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Heritage Baptist Church, Lawrenceville, Ga.
    Upholding God’s Principles
    Crown Financial Ministries.
    Heritage Baptist Church, a small Reformed congregation near rural Lawrenceville, Ga., had been struggling with a $1,250 monthly deficit. Along came an offer that would put the small church in the black. Was God answering their prayers, or was He testing their stewardship? Two weeks would tell.

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Hughes, Selwyn
    Five Dollars—That’s It?
    Selwyn Hughes. Generous Giving, 2003.
    The author recounts the story of a fellow pastor who boldly rebuked a parishioner for his miserly gift to the church—and watched in amazement as the Holy Spirit instantly freed the fellow from his slavish grip on money.



    In Business for Oneself or for the Lord?
    Selwyn Hughes. Generous Giving, 2003.
    When this pastor was asked to pray for the startup of a faithful congregant’s new business, he refused! Learn why.




    The Faith Promise That Almost Wasn’t
    Selwyn Hughes. Generous Giving, 2003.
    Imagine receiving a generous faith promise from a poor member of your congregation. Years later, this pastor still trembles to think that he came close to hindering a woman’s faith by discouraging a dimension of giving into which the Lord had been leading her.



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Hus, John
    The Tragic Trial and Death of Jan Hus.
    Dan Graves, with Ken Curtis, Joe Thomas, Tracey L. Craig, Ann T. Snyder. Glimpses [publication of Christian History Institute], no. 199. 2007.
    On December 18, 1999, Pope John Paul II apologized to the Czech people for a cruel execution that had occurred 583 years earlier. During the Reformation of the early 1400s, John Hus was the most vocal champion of reform in the Czech church. He called for preaching to be done in the local language and not in Latin, churches to be held accountable to biblical teaching, the priesthood to embrace poverty, and the methods for selling indulgences to be reformed. Hus also spoke strongly against the immorality of the clergy—the rampant greed, gluttony, sexual sin and ignorance. On July 6, 1415, Hus was arrested, tried unjustly and then burned at the stake. Following the death of Hus and of another reformer, Jerome, the Bohemian church rebelled against Rome. A bloody war ensued, and Rome eventually was forced to make concessions to the Bohemian church.

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Ingebretson, Ben
    A Story from Someone Who Was There: Ben Ingebretson
    Ben Ingebretson. International Steward.
    At a recent meeting of the International Council for Higher Education, Ben Ingebretson represented International Steward, an organization that trains ministry leaders in developing countries on the biblical principles of stewardship and fund development. In the time he spent at this conference, he met many local Christian educators from Japan, Ireland, Nepal, India, Israel and more. In this testimony Ingebretson shares his excitement at seeing the vision for funding ministries with local resources begin to spread among the interanationals attending the conference. The local educators long to take the message of the grace of giving back to their communities.

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Langness, Gary
    Pastor, Do You Know What Your People Give?
    Gary Langness. Stewardship for the 21st Century.
    A pastor himself, the author asks fellow ministers, “Do you know what your people give?” According to this Evangelical Lutheran Church in America pastor, if you don’t already know, you should, for it is the pastor’s job to teach people the joy of giving, responding to the mission that Jesus Christ has set before each congregation. How can you teach them when these lines of communication are closed?

    Every Once in Awhile
    Gary Langness. Stewardship for the 21st Century.
    This pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America shares the generosity of a couple in his congregation that have a heart for Christian education. Every year they provide an unlimited number of scholarships to any student wishing to attend colleges affiliated with the denomination. When Langness suggested that their eagerness to give might be abused by those seeking a free education, what was this couple’s response?

    Evelyn
    Gary Langness. Stewardship for the 21st Century.
    While visiting a missionary in Tanzania, a pastor witnessed a missionary’s generous act to a poor widow named Evelyn—and the subsequent “miracle” God performed through the gift.



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Larson, Craig Brian
    Living Abundantly When Resources Are Scarce: I Finally Determined That Money Would Not Define My Soul
    Craig Brian Larson. Leadership 19, no. 1 (Winter 1998).
    Doing without because income is low can be stressful, especially when there is the overshadowing doubt, “Will I have enough money?” In this testimony by the pastor of Lake Shore Assembly of God in Chicago, Craig Brian Larson candidly acknowledges his personal struggles with money and shares how God provided for his family when finances were scarce. “For most of my twenty-two years in ministry, my personal finances have been difficult, sometimes desperately so,” Larson says, attributing his financial problems to “my personal weaknesses and my personal convictions.” His weaknesses were failure to budget and inattention to financial pain. As for his personal convictions, “Some I held simplistically; I have had to nuance them because they helped me rationalize my weaknesses. Others were sound, but I did not anticipate their real-world repercussions:” (1) “My wife should not work outside the home.” (2) “Money should never determine where I minister.” (3) “If I seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness, I will not have to concern myself with money.” (4) “Money is hazardous material.” (5) “In ministry I must be willing to suffer for Christ.” Further hurting his family’s finances were two myths: that we cannot live on what we make, and that ministers are underpaid. Through hard financial times, Larson discovered that the way he handles money should be a spiritual exercise that requires great effort, even if it is an area of weakness.

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MacDonald, Gordon
    Secrets of the Generous Life: The Power of Sowing and Reaping in the Life of a Pastor
    Gordon MacDonald. Testimony delivered at Generous Giving’s joint conference with the Servant Christian Community Foundation, Overland Park, Kans., October 7, 2005.
    2 Corinthians 9:6-7 says, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Using events in his childhood and young adult life, pastor Gordon MacDonald gives examples of how this verse has played out in his life. From a 9-year-old who gave all of his money, to a college student who had no money, MacDonald explains how he has given to the Lord and how the Lord has given to him. He further tells us that one does not have to be wealthy or give excessively to be a joyful giver. Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time.

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McCoy, LindaMcNamara, Patrick H.
    More Than Money: Portraits of Transformative Stewardship
    Patrick H. McNamara. Bethesda, Md.: The Alban Institute, 1999.
    Patrick McNamara, emeritus sociology professor and social researcher at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, studied 11 churches from various denominations. The selected churches, each an active, growing body that emphasizes stewardship in its working ministry, offer different perspectives on issues relevant to stewardship: how pastors relate to the flock, how pledging is emphasized or conducted, how other areas such as stewardship of time are addressed, and how the different programs and ministries related to church growth (youth ministries, prayer groups, evangelism, social activism, social programs, etc.) are carried out. A common thread in these churches was the pastor’s ability to make church members feel individually significant while pursuing a collective goal. However, despite McNamara’s desire to develop a fuller theology of stewardship, his interviews with these churches do not reveal any emphasis on a Christologically centered stewardship as his straightforward thesis may have led the reader to believe. Indeed, while Christ was mentioned occasionally, commitment to social action and fellowship within the body seemed to enjoy a much larger focus in these churches, all of which were from theologically liberal or mainline denominations.

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Melon, Jim
    The Big Bang (For Your Bucks) Theory
    Jim Melon. House2House Ministries blog, n.d.
    In 1992, Jim Melon decided to give up his leadership position in a 1,000-member church with a $1 million-plus budget to embark on a journey called the “house church.” “Instead of ‘going to church,’ we started to ‘be the church’ that meets in a home.” Their mission: to have 1,000 members that meet in 50 to 80 homes and a $1 million budget that gives 80 percent to benevolence and missions. This blog posting tells their story. Several people wondered if this new house church movement was scriptural, legal or even cultish, but now, more than 10 years later, “the Association of Home Churches is known and respected in our community, mainly because of our consistent giving,” following the biblical teaching, “let them see your good works and glorify your father in heaven.” These home churches vary in their giving from helping local soup kitchens to funding church projects in India, also setting aside an emergency reserve for members within the congregation who may be struggling financially.

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Milton, Michael A.
    A Culture of Christ-Like Generosity
    Michael A. Milton. “First Thoughts from the Senior Pastor,” article in the weekly bulletin of First Presbyterian Church, Chattanooga, Tenn., July 24, 2005.
    “How are we giving? I don’t mean just ‘what is the status of our pledges?’ ” In this pastor’s candid letter to his congregation about their spiritual walk, he writes, “I pray that our church will be led to not only give, but to have a culture of Biblical generosity that flows from our hearts out of what we have received from Jesus Christ.” He asks his people to pray for giving hearts in order to create this culture of generosity. He believes such a culture will help those who are financially struggling and will enable the church to support and send more missionaries into the world. Milton’s goal is to have his congregation follow Christ’s example, who “... though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

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Morris, Robert
    The Blessed Life
    Robert Morris. Testimony delivered at Exponential ’06 Conference for Pastors, Generous Giving’s joint conference with Crown Financial Ministries, Southlake, Texas, September 19, 2006.
    Through the course of their marriage, pastor Robert Morris and his wife have given away 14 cars, their home, and emptied their bank accounts twice. Morris, senior pastor of Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, shares his remarkable testimony with fellow pastors. “I believe in all the stories—I gave a dollar and got 10 back—I believe all those stories. But they don’t seem to matter much anymore to me. I’ve been married 26 years, and my wife loves me. I’ve got three kids, and they love God, and I love God.” This focus turns away from the love of money and onto things of eternity and strength of family. Despite Morris’ pattern of giving beyond convention or convenience, God continually has provided for every need that he and his family have encountered. This remarkable testimony is one that has inspired Morris’ congregation; here he hopes that it can be used to inspire other pastors to model Christian generosity in their own churches. This resource is available on compact disc.

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Piper, John
    God Can Turn This Around: God's Will for Our Money
    John Piper. Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minn., June 25, 2001.
    This senior pastor speaks to his congregation and, at the same time, to fellow pastors everywhere: "My main emotions in regard to money at Bethlehem (Baptist Church) are gratitude and hope, not anxiety. God has always met our needs. I would insult God if I fretted over his timing. So, thank you. Thank you. Thank you, for your giving. For 21 years now I have watched our merciful God meet all our needs. Thank you for your part in that mercy."

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Pope, Randy
    A Pastor Learns to Give from His Small Income
    Randy Pope. Excerpt from Creating a Culture of Generosity in the Local Church, speech delivered at the Exponential ’04 Conference for Pastors, Generous Giving’s joint conference with Crown Financial Ministries, Alpharetta, Ga., September 21, 2004.
    There is a direct link between one’s trust in Christ’s provision and one’s willingness to give. Randy Pope, founding pastor of Perimeter Community Church in Duluth, Ga., learned this lesson during the first years of his ministry there. Responding to God’s call, Pope moved his family to that town despite the lack of a sure source of income. Though pressured to provide for his family, Pope was faithful in giving generously to the work of the church. With resources often lacking for food, rent and other basic expenses, Pope witnessed God’s extraordinary faithfulness as He bless their commitment to give generously to kingdom work out of their poverty.

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Reinhardt, Forrest
    Faith Raising, Not Fund Raising: How a Purpose-Driven Church Develops Consistently Generous Givers
    Forrest Reinhardt. Leadership Journal, Fall 2002.
    Saddleback Community Church does not alter its message to increase giving for a certain church project. There is no such thing as fund raising; only faith raising. Week in and week out, through a thoroughly developed system, Saddleback aims at developing a congregation of faithful givers. The goal is to lead the people of Saddleback deeper and deeper into a relationship with Christ. In this relationship they learn that God loves them and has a plan for their lives. Part of the plan they begin to understand involves learning “manage their finances God’s way,” escaping the financial trap of materialism and self-service, and storing treasure where it will last.

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Russell, Bob
    Preaching Past the Fear Factor: Surprise! People Are Eager to Hear about Joyful Giving, If You Approach It in the Right Way
    Bob Russell. Leadership Journal, Fall 2002.
    It’s easy to understand why preachers tiptoe around the subject of stewardship. Money is still a god to many church members, and many visitors are skeptical of the church’s motives. Certain spiritual con men have fleeced their congregations and given preachers a bad name, and many don’t want to be identified with them. Years ago this Kentucky pastor stopped apologizing for teaching on a touchy subject, instead making it an essential part of his preaching calendar. The result was surprising—attendance has been good, the number of people coming to Christ has actually increased during the stewardship month, and offerings have improved as much as 15 percent annually. This testimony includes an instructive sidebar, Get Ready: I'm Preaching on Money: Five Ways to Prepare Your People for a Stewardship Sermon.

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Samuels, Adrienne
    Business Finds Its Sacred Side: Church Program Teaches Ethics of Making Money
    Adrienne P. Samuels. The Boston Globe, May 31, 2006.
    Put Faith to Work, a nonprofit norganization, runs classes in inner city churches to encourage biblical business practices and economic development. Co-founder Leonardo Radomile, once a cutthroat businessman, had to learn through jail time and serious illness that ungodly business practices do not deliver. He says, “What some people think is the American dream is really the American nightmare. Materialism. Individualism. Ruthless self-exploitation and exploitation of others. For me, jail was a real wake-up call.” Put Faith to Work classes, which are run by the Black Ministerial Alliance, teach four key biblical business principles, which are listed in the margin of the article: (1) Find and use your God-given purpose. (2) Have faith that your business will succeed, if you first ask God for help. (3) Study your business and the marketplace for success. (4) Profit by enriching others, but do not profit at the expense of others. Co-founder Rev. Gerald Bell describes the Put Faith to Work program as a solution to joblessness and hopelessness in the inner city.

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Seibert, Jimmy
    Contagious Generosity: Leading the Congregation by Example
    Jimmy Seibert. Testimony delivered at Exponential ’06 Conference for Pastors, Generous Giving’s joint conference with Crown Financial Ministries, Southlake, Texas, September 19, 2006.
    Jimmy Seibert, pastor of Antioch Community Church in Waco, Texas, began giving beyond his ability in college; today with a wife and family he maintains this radical commitment of letting trust in God guide his giving. While in school, giving away his last dollar meant he couldn’t pay the rent that was due on the following morning; but through God’s provision he paid on time with a little money left over. Now with a wife and children some might say that such a radical lifestyle is ill-advised, but God continually has provided for all their needs. In addition, teaching his children to trust in God and to give generously has allowed them to see and experience the world in this remarkable way. In his church, the base salaries for all employees are the same, building projects are done debt free, and 10 percent of any funds raised goes directly to the needy. Today the congregation has 38 church planting teams across 22 nations and continues to grow. “Our simple motto is this: A passion for Jesus and his purposes on the earth.” Seibert ends with an exhortation to his fellow pastors to lead by example and to love others with what we have been given. This resource is available on compact disc.

    Celebrating Stewardship
    Jimmy Seibert. Testimony delivered at Generous Giving’s joint regional conference for pastors with Servant Christian Community Foundation, Kansas City, Mo., April 5, 2005.
    Jimmy Seibert’s personal testimony—and the story of the church that he founded, Antioch Community Church in Waco, Texas—is in reality the story of God’s miraculous generosity to those who put their lives, and their finances, in His hands. From his earliest days as a Christian, Seibert had decided that whatever the Scriptures told him that he must do, he would do. As giving is a major theme in the Bible, so it became a major theme in Seibert’s life and ministry. His story is filled with God’s miraculous interventions, as the needs of his family and church were met again and again, in the direst circumstances. Seibert calls us to put our finances on the line and to trust the Lord completely, for we all “want a miracle; (we) just don’t want to have to be in the position to have to have one.” Most of all, Seibert calls us to give out of a cheerful heart. Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time.

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Simeon, Charles
    Brothers, We Must Not Mind a Little Suffering: Meditations on the Life of Charles Simeon
    John Piper. Speech delivered at the annual Bethlehem Conference for Pastors, Minneapolis, Minn., April 15, 1989.
    “One of the pervasive marks of our times is emotional fragility,” says author and pastor John Piper. “We are easily hurt. We pout and mope easily. We break easily. Our happiness breaks easily. ... We are easily disheartened, and it seems we have little capacity for surviving and thriving in the face of criticism and opposition.” Christians today need the example of saints like Charles Simeon, who persevered for the gospel through much hardship, persecution and opposition. Upon becoming a Christian, Simeon left a life of extravagance to live very modestly for the kingdom. He served faithfully as pastor of Trinity Church in Cambridge for 54 years, despite much opposition and even ridicule from his congregation and the University community. How did Simeon endure and flourish through this opposition? (1) Simeon had a strong sense of his accountability before God for the souls of his flock, whether they liked him or not. (2) His preaching in the midst of conflict was free from the scolding tone. (3) Simeon was no rumor-tracker. (4) Simeon dealt with his opponents in a forthright, face-to-face way. (5) Simeon could take a rebuke and grow from it. (6) Simeon was unimpeachable in his finances and had no love for money. (7) Simeon found ways to look at discouraging things hopefully. (8) Simeon saw his suffering as a wonderful privilege of bearing the cross with Christ. (9) He grew downward in humiliation before God, and he grew upward in his adoration of Christ. (10) Simeon strengthened himself with massive doses of meditation and prayer.

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Simpson, Gary
    In Brooklyn, N.Y., Residents Make a Religion of Charitable Giving
    Harvy Lipman. The Chronicle of Philanthropy, May 1, 2003.
    “In Brooklyn, I don’t think churches have the luxury of not being involved in some aspect of social service,” says the Rev. Gary Simpson, pastor of Concord Baptist. “A dollar given to a church is not just a statement of one’s faith; it also is a community-development dollar, an economic-development dollar, a health-care-providing dollar. People in the African-American church understand that a dollar dropped in the plate in the church is a philanthropic dollar. That’s probably why they give.” That also helps explain why Kings County, which includes Brooklyn, has the fourth-highest rate of philanthropic giving among the nation’s large counties in this newspaper’s charitable-giving study.

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Smith, Oswald J.
    How God Taught Me to Give
    Oswald J. Smith. Moody Monthly Magazine, n.d.
    In a tract that popularized the concept of the “faith promise,” the late Canadian evangelist Oswald Smith (1889-1986) recounts how God taught him to give. As Smith presided over a missions fund-raiser from the platform, an usher unexpectedly handed him an envelope bearing these words: “In dependence upon God I will endeavor to give toward the missionary work of the church $_____ during the coming year.” He didn’t have extra money to give, Smith reasoned ... maybe $5 or $10. How should this pastor respond?

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Sproul, R.C.
    Financing the Kingdom of God
    R.C. Sproul. Table Talk.
    Dr. Sproul used to think that preaching on tithing to Christians served little purpose since, he assumed, it was second nature for them to do so. It was a denominational stewardship program that awakened him to some sobering facts: (1) that only 4 percent of all church members tithe their income to their churches, (2) that a surprising number of church members assumed tithing was an outdated Old Testament practice, and (3) that most ministers do not have sufficient financial resources for their work. The Kingdom of God, he now concludes, must be financed by the King’s people, and to fail to fulfill our obligation in this regard is to rob God.

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Spurgeon, Charles Haddon
    Spurgeon and Money
    Eric W. Hayden. Chap. in “Highlights in the Life of Charles Haddon Spurgeon.” Pasadena, Texas: Pilgrim Publications, 1990.
    When the sermons of English Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-92) were republished in a combined 63 volumes in 1969 (57 volumes of The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit along with 6 of The New Park Street Pulpit), short biographies by Spurgeon authority Eric W. Hayden were printed on the backs of every dust jacket. These dust jackets themselves were later collected into this small book. The biography on the back of volume 53 (covering the year 1899) addresses Spurgeon’s view of money. Spurgeon viewed his responsibilities as the Lord’s steward seriously, scrupulously avoiding debt and relieving his congregation of financial burdens such as the “pew rent” and his salary. The money earned from book royalties and speaking engagements were enough to ensure that he always had a bundle of ₤5 notes at hand to aid the needy. His giving was so extensive that, at his death, only the value of his house and the copyright of his books remained for his heirs. Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time.

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Stanley, Andy
    ‘Stewards R Us’ Has a Ripple Effect
    Christian Financial Concepts. Money Matters.
    In a recent message on the topic of ownership, Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church in metro Atlanta, did more than simply talk to his congregation. He made them a hands-on part of that day’s lesson. They became “doers of the word, and not merely hearers” (James 1:22). When people arrived at church that day, they received envelopes containing various amounts of money. Pastor Stanley told the people to invest whatever they received in God's kingdom, but the money had to go to something other than their church.

    The Handout: When Andy Stanley Preached on Money, He Didn’t Ask for It—He Gave It Away
    Robert J. Tamasy. The Life@Work Journal 3, no. 3 (May/June 2000).
    Although many pastors shy away from preaching on the topic of giving, Andy Stanley did not only preach on it, but he also gave it a new twist. This Atlanta area minister creatively challenged his congregation to think about giving in a new way—by giving them money! Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time.

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Stanley, Charles F.
    Trust and Obey
    Charles F. Stanley. Testimony delivered at Exponential ’05 Conference for Pastors, Generous Giving’s joint conference with Crown Financial Ministries, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., September 13, 2005.
    Dr. Charles Stanley, pastor of First Baptist Church of Atlanta and head of InTouch Ministries, reflects on how God uses money as a tool to build faith in the lives of his children. He tells a compelling series of personal stories about how God responded with radical provision each time his congregation practiced radical obedience. Stanley’s testimonial style will challenge the 21st-century reader with God’s unconventional and incredible means of faithfulness to provide the necessary resources as he called Stanley’s ministry to new and difficult endeavors. Rather than trusting within the constraints of reasonable planning, trusting in God allowed his church to freely do God’s work, leaving the outcome to him. For the Christian, provision is not an issue—God has already promised to take care of us. What we must learn, however, is how to trust God to keep his promises and to “assume the responsibility for our obedience.” We will never know what God will do with us until we’re ready to trust him, and once we do, we will never be disappointed. This resource is available on compact disc.

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Vilmenay, Robert
    A Story from Someone Who Is There: Robert Vilmenay
    Robert Vilmenay. International Steward.
    The author is a Haitian Christian leader who is taking the good news of grace through giving to the poorest country in the western hemisphere. This message is not easy to deliver to a nation has grown accustomed to living off the handouts from other countries. But Vilmenay has learned and is now teaching his fellow Haitians that their problem is not a lack of resources but, rather, an inadequate management of the resources. A proper understanding of stewardship has been a powerful tool in moving Vilmenay and his community into action for the kingdom.

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Warren, Rick
    The Cellular Church: How Rick Warren’s Congregation Grew
    Malcolm Gladwell. The New Yorker, September 12, 2005.
    The author details how pastor Rick Warren used small groups to aid his success as the planter of Saddleback Church. Warren moved to Saddleback Valley in California with little money and no acquaintances and built a church of over 20,000 members by using the small group strategy. Although many people are skeptical of megachurches due to a loss of community, Warren sees small groups as a solution for this while maintaining large churches. Small groups are not organizations within the church, Warren says, but they are the church itself. Members of these groups are held more accountable to attend church and give time and money to charities. Warren’s congregation is financially committed as a community as seen in their giving $7 million in a single Sunday offering with $53 million in commitments—all in addition to their regular tithes. Warren is also making a personal commitment to generous giving. Following King Solomon’s example in Psalm 72 to use his power and influence to aid those who have no influence and are in need, Warren and his wife “reverse-tithe” the tens of millions of dollars he has earned from the book sales of his book, The Purpose-Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?. The Warrens gave 90 percent of their earnings to charities and programs dedicated to starting microfinance and preventing HIV. As an influential pastor and writer, Warren sets a good financial example by calling his church and himself to generously give. Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time.

    An Entire Congregation Pursuing Purpose, Not Possessions
    Rick Warren. Testimony submitted to Generous Giving, April 2005.
    Most of the time we like to define our joy by what we own and how we feel. The Bible says that our hearts reside with what we treasure, so if we treasure materialistic objects or “feeling good,” our hearts will have a difficult time abandoning these concepts of happiness. As Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., suggests, “The only way to break materialism (getting) is by giving.” In this short testimony, read about how Saddleback has discovered that giving can be easy if our hearts first seek the Lord and His purpose.

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Weber, Steve
    We Don’t Talk about That Much around Here
    Steve Weber. World Mission, n.d.
    The director of Stewardship Development Ministries speaks to fellow Nazarene pastors on why the church today is so silent on this important biblical topic. Given the fact that many younger Christians have a faulty understanding of the importance of whole life stewardship, “they need models of giving from established Christians. They need to hear sermons and Sunday school lessons on what it means to be a manager—not an owner—of God’s possessions. They need opportunities to experience the joy of allowing God to be in control of every aspect of their lives.”

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Wesley, John
    Discipline: The Story of John Wesley
    From “Giving Warriors: Inspirational Stories of Men and Women Who Experienced the Joy of Giving.” Chattanooga, Tenn.: Generous Giving, 2003.
    John Wesley (1703-91), founder of Methodism, found opportunity to put spiritual discipline into practice during his time at Oxford University. In the city of Oxford’s prison dwelt many who were confined merely because they owed a few pounds. With the sacrifice of a small sum, Wesley could purchase release for these debtors. But Wesley was not content to stop there. As his financial situation improved, he capped his living expenses at a fixed level and gave away the ever-increasing surplus. When questioned by a tax collector about his lack of his material possessions, he replied that buying silver spoons (a luxury) was out of the question when the poor still had no bread (a necessity). In fact, he gave so extensively that, when he died in 1791, his monetary worth didn’t amount to more than a few coins. However, with 789 preachers serving in the Methodist Church he had founded, Wesley’s legacy revealed the greater heavenly investment he had made of his life and funds on earth. This resource is available on DVD and streaming media.

    Christian History Corner: Serving God with Mammon: John Wesley's Wisdom for Hard Economic Times: Earn All You Can, Save All You Can, and Give All You Can
    Elesha Coffman. Christianity Today, November 26, 2001.
    Great Awakening preacher John Wesley knew plenty about economic uncertainty in his own day. Having grown up in relative poverty, he became so famous a preacher that he earned a great deal. In accordance with his biblical convictions, he donated nearly all of the $75,000 he earned in his lifetime. In this classic sermon text, he articulates his own Christian posture toward money: “having first gained all you can, and secondly saved all you can, then give all you can.”

    What Wesley Practiced and Preached about Money
    Charles Edward White. Missions Frontiers, March 1, 1987.
    John Wesley (1703-91) preached a lot about money. And with what may have been the highest earned income in England at the time, the great evangelist had the opportunities to put his ideas into practice. What did he say about money? And what did he do with his own?

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Williams, Mark
    Lifestyle Stewardship: Learning the Freedom of Generous Giving
    Mark Williams. Interview in “Alliance Life,” January 2001.
    Williams, director of church stewardship for the U.S. Christian & Missionary Alliance, discusses in this upfront interview how his organization has responded to decreased giving. For the past 20 years, giving by evangelical Christians (statistically the most generous people in Americans) has steadily declined. Williams credits a lack of biblical stewardship education in Christian colleges with much of the fault for the decrease in giving. He believes that drafting a theology of stewardship and developing open dialogue about the issue through conferences and seminars are important steps in reversing the trend in giving. Stewardship should be of utmost importance to the believer as it is the nature of our relationship with God during our life on earth. We have been given certain means for a short time to be used for His glory. The goal of the open dialogue on stewardship is faithful living by Christians around the world and a necessary consequence will be greater giving.

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