More on this topicThe Passionate Steward: Recovering Christian Stewardship from Secular Fundraising
Michael O’Hurley-Pitts. Toronto: St. Brigid Press, 2001.
In an era of “separation between church and state,” the church and secular society stand in a relationship of tension and possible influence. Unfortunately, secular society has been exercising the greater influence. Thus, the church increasingly has adopted secular fund-raising techniques in order to generate money needed for spiritual work. However, secular techniques emphasize concerns that are antithetical to Christian values. Fund-raising strips stewardship of its life-encompassing richness and reduces it to a plea for money, a plea designed to manipulate people out of their hard-earned wealth with promises of reward and recognition. Christian stewardship, on the other hand, ought to place the giving of money within the larger context of the giving of all aspects of our life; because God has given us all that we have, we should be willing to give it back; money is not ours that we must be coaxed out of it. Secularism focuses on outward results; stewardship must focus on inward heart transformation. Insofar as the author has called our attention to the growing pliability of Christian fund raising, this Catholic development officer is to be thoroughly commended. Yet he attempts an ecumenical presentation: While his view of Christ’s church is high, the significance of Christ’s life and death does not receive its proper emphasis. Christ is regarded as a strong example of sacrificial, generous giving; yet no mention is made of our inability to please God in our sins, of the necessity of Christ’s death and resurrection for any righteous living (including generous giving) to be made possible for us, or of how His Spirit dwelling within us enables us to overcome our natural sinful desires and give generously. Overall, this book gives more attention to the church’s role in giving than to the triune God’s role.
Friend Raising: Building a Missionary Support Team That Lasts
Betty Barnett. With foreword by Loren Cunningham. Seattle: YWAM Publishing, 1991.
Our contemporary culture pressures us to be independent, yet in reality we are not isolated individuals. We are dependent, first upon God and then upon each other. Betty Barnett, missionary with the organization Youth with a Mission, in Harpenden, England, and managing editor of the YWAM Study Bible, stresses the importance of nurturing relationships in any fund-raising strategy. As an acknowledgement of our dependence on others, missionaries need to be transparent with others, visiting friends often and writing letters. Friends yield support not only in meeting financial needs but also in confirming outwardly the inward call of the missionary and in providing emotional encouragement. Indeed, treating friends only as units of monetary value is devastating to one’s ministry. On the other hand, four pillars of missionary support uphold the ministry. (1) Friend-raising: Keeping others updated on the results of their generosity reminds them of your work and inspires greater generosity. (2) Generosity: You must follow Jesus’ example by serving others rather than demanding to be served. (3) Communication: Though relying simply on God to communicate your needs to others can enrich your faith, telling others directly is legitimate; however, be sure that to ask in contentment, grateful whatever the outcome of your communication. (4) Prayer with promise: Since all of our strength comes from the Lord, missions cannot survive without prayer; Scripture contains verses of promise, faithfulness, support and strength to encourage and uplift the heart. Barnett shares her own journey from covetousness to contentment, discusses attitudes that hinder effective ministry and offers practical suggestions for writing newsletters. The study questions, self-assessment surveys, budget forms, prayer cards, record-keeping forms and resources for further help and information found in the appendices all promote further application of the principles taught. Though the maxims on friendship that open each chapter could be perceived to be somewhat flowery, the book itself contains solid material that addresses the heart issues of fund-raising.
Money for Ministries: Biblical Guidelines for Giving and Asking: Perspectives from 30 Christian Leaders on Funding the Evangelical Enterprise
Wesley K. Willmer, ed. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books/Scripture Press Publications, 1989.
This multi-author work is the product of the 1987 conference “Funding the Christian Challenge: Seeking Godly Ways in the Asking and Giving of Funds.” The book offers interesting suggestions for attempting to reform fundraising practices within the context of the prominent evangelical moral, spiritual, theological and financial scandals of the late 1980s. The authors attempt to formulate a solid biblical theology of stewardship, while documenting the contours of the widespread worldliness practiced in Christian giving and fundraising. Especially helpful are contributions by Charles Colson, Gordon Moyes, David McKenna, Bruce Lockerbie, Carl Henry and Eugene Habecker. Read a review of this book.
More on this topicWealth in Families
Charles W. Collier. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Development Office, 2001.
Charles Collier offers interviews and insights based on his experience as senior philanthropic advisor at Harvard University. He offers practical advice for basing personal philanthropy on deeper questions about the meaning of wealth, its long-range effect on your family, and how to wisely use philanthropy to fulfill your ultimate purpose in life. Focusing more on the “why” than the “how” of giving, Collier also offers advice on parenting, inheritance and managing money. He points out that in addition to financial wealth, families first should consider and focus on other forms of wealth, such as human, intellectual and social wealth. This book includes two family questionnaires and a list of additional thought-provoking resources for sorting through the life priorities, philanthropic opportunities and other timely questions confronting wealthy families. Read a review published by Charity Channel.
Growing Givers’ Hearts: Treating Fundraising as Ministry
Thomas H. Jeavons and Rebekah Burch Basinger. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2000.
For fund raisers who are also Christian, the most vital mission is to grow the giver’s heart. Here for the first time is a truly spiritual way of looking at fund raising as an opportunity to nurture current and prospective donors and facilitate their growth in faith. Jeavons and Basinger, themselves veterans in nonprofit fund raising, argue that the traditional utilitarian model of fund raising be replaced by a more “humane and spiritual” perspective. Although written particularly for an audience of professional fund raisers, Growing Givers’ Hearts is a worthwhile read for anyone in the Christian donor/ministry “neighborhood.”
More on this topicStewardship: The Biblical Basis for Living
Ben Gill. Arlington, Texas: Summit Publishing Group, 1996.
Participating in a research group that studied Christian giving patterns in America left Ben Gill, chairman and CEO of Resource Services, with many questions about the state of stewardship in the American church. Why, he wondered, would a country so blessed not be able to adequately support her churches? According to Gill, the problem is not one of funding but, rather, of education. Christians need to see stewardship as a way of life, not as a rule for money. It is only when we examine our resources in light of our theology, our Bible and our God that we can begin to understand the joy of faithful stewardship. This book, written as a survey on stewardship, is directed toward pastors, seminarians and lay leaders to help them understand the doctrine of stewardship and practically apply it to today’s church. Gill not only employs Scripture in exploring stewardship but also looks to Christian history and godly leaders for wisdom on the topic of giving.
Virtue and Affluence: The Challenge of Wealth
John C. Haughey. Kansas City: Sheed and Ward, 1997.
A professor of Christian ethics at Loyola University, Haughey draws on scriptural insights from Ignatius Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises to offer advice and reflections for wealthy Christians who desire to be faithful to their responsibilities as stewards. This book presents lectures, including sessions of questions and answers from a series of workshops conducted by Haughey. The author of The Holy Use of Money, Haughey employs the wisdom of thinkers, such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as well as a 1994 sociological study of wealthy Americans, Gospels of Wealth: How the Rich Portray Their Lives, by Paul G. Schervish, Platon E. Coutsoukis and Ethan Lewis of Boston College.
More on this topicLeadership Handbook of Management and Administration: Practical Insight from a Cross Section of Ministry Leaders
James D. Berkley, ed. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1994.
This collection of how-to essays for pastors deals with the wide-ranging daily life issues of running a church—organizational, financial, legal and people issues. Subjects covered include: personal management, ministry transitions, enabling leadership, staff supervision, management, and financial matters. Contributors include Peter Drucker, Stuart Briscoe, Bill Hybels, Joseph Stowell, Chuck Swindoll, and others. Perhaps the chief merit of the book is its final section on church finance, which is at the same time both thorough and trustworthy, probably the best collection of its kind. If you need some lessons in the mechanics of church finance, or any part of it, start here.
Generous People: How to Encourage Vital Stewardship
Eugene Grimm. Edited by Herb Miller. Effective Church Series. Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon Press, 1992.
Stewardship is not limited to what we do with our money; instead, the principles of stewardship encompass all of life: Stewardship involves giving an account for “what I do after I say ‘I believe.’ ” Thus, stewardship must be treated as foundational to spiritual growth, rather than marginal. Indeed, stewardship is important not because the church needs the congregants’ money (though such a motive is often the impetus behind many “stewardship” campaigns) but, rather, because the giver needs the opportunity to give. Giving allows one to respond to God’s gift of salvation, add meaning to his life, and experience the joy of helping others. Eugene Grimm, stewardship specialist for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, gives three principles for maximizing the effectiveness of a stewardship campaign: Keep it positive, keep it biblical and stress the mission. More specifically, a stewardship campaign should include the following elements: (1) the gospel story; (2) a presentation of the church’s mission and ministry; (3) clear communication that will inspire confidence and involve others; (4) an encouragement for church members to re-evaluate their personal giving. The role of the pastor in stewardship campaigns, the benefits of pledging, strategies for preparing a budget, directions for follow-up work after the campaign, helpful advice concerning the formation and running of the stewardship committee, and the benefits of special offerings are also covered. The appendices contain forms, charts and checklists to aid in implementing a stewardship appeal. Illustrative anecdotes also provide interesting examples of common situations a church might face. Overall, this book contains practical advice for promoting greater generosity in the church while steering clear of a fund-raising mindset that focuses on results rather than on promoting spiritual growth. However, the reader is cautioned on at least this account: The book emphasizes the believer’s role more than God’s role in the motivations and reasons for stewardship.
Creating Congregations of Generous People
Michael Durall. Bethesda, Md.: The Alban Institute, 1999.
The author asserts that many mainline churches fall into counterproductive, tedious routines by limiting their stewardship campaigns to merely setting budgets and asking for money. He suggests changing the focus to the task creating congregations of generous people—an engaging, rewarding endeavor that assumes ever more meaning with the passing of time. The purpose of this book is to more closely examine the reasons why people give (or don’t give) to their churches or synagogues and then to build a foundation for thoughtful, effective, and consistent stewardship programs over the years. By looking at various groups that have achieved differing levels of stewardship participation among parishioners, Durall shows the importance of emphasizing the religious motivation to lead generous lives. He shows that this approach is far more effective, encouraging and rewarding than only considering the mechanics of methods and gimmicks that contribute to the counterproductive motivation of guilt-inducing manipulation. Durall publishes the quarterly newsletter Charitable Giving on the subject of religious philanthropy.
Generous Living: Finding Contentment through Giving
Ron Blue with Jodie Berndt. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1997.
Veteran Christian financial advisor Ron Blue has made a life’s work of counseling people in stewardship, and he has long been a leading advocate of increased Christian giving. In this book Blue points Christian readers beyond guilt-based giving toward biblically joyful giving. Out of his expertise in the financial services field, Blue also gives counsel about the wisest and most effective strategies for giving. He addresses such topics as: passing wealth on to children, will and bequest planning, spousal unity, and setting “finish lines” for wealth accumulation. Read a review published by forMinistry.
Wealthy and Wise: How You and America Can Get the Most out of Your Giving
Claude Rosenberg, Jr. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co., 1994.
Claude Rosenberg, a professional fund manager, shows persuasively that the wealthy and the middle class alike could easily give more money to charity than they do, if only they planned their finances properly. Charitable giving suffers, Rosenberg argues, when potential donors calculate their capacity for charity as a function of each year's income, because the capacity to give depends much more on net worth than on annual income. The book addresses this problem through exercises designed to help readers make such a calculation accurately. Bottom line: charitable giving is not only a sensible solution to today’s most pressing social problems, but a sound personal investment as well.
More on this topicGrowing up Generous: Engaging Youth in Giving and Serving
Eugene C. Roehlkepartain, Elanah Dalyah Naftali and Laura Musegades. Bethesda, Md.: The Alban Institute, 2001.
The church is one of the best places for a teenager to begin giving and volunteering. In order to aid youth workers, Eugene Roehlkepartain, chief communications officer of Search Institute (a nonprofit organization promoting research that benefits youth), and former Search Institute researchers Elanah Naftali and Laura Musegades investigate better ways to engage youth in volunteer service in the church. The opportunity to give and serve in the church helps youth to put their faith into practice, promotes emotional well-being and self-confidence, keeps youth involved in church and develops habits of generosity that remain active throughout life. Keys to cultivating a community environment in the church that will encourage youth to participate include (1) commitment to the well-being of others, (2) cherishing of children and youth, (3) connection to faith and traditions, (4) establishment of norms and expectations, (5) opportunities for youth to practice giving and serving, (6) support for families, (7) connection of generations. Definitions of giving and serving from both Christian and Jewish traditions, examinations of current youth giving and volunteering habits and obstacles to stewardship education are also discussed. Youth today have more money than previous generations but are not being taught principles of giving during their formative years. Thus, churches must overcome any reluctance to address stewardship topics with children. Indeed, if the community of faith doesn’t shape youth’s money values, then the world will. Suggestions for assessing one’s current community environment and for effecting changes offer further help for those wishing to encourage the potential impact a congregation’s younger members can employ. Though ecumenical in perspective, overall this book offers helpful advice for those wishing to mold and then integrate the next generation of givers into the body of Christ.
Financial Parenting: Showing Your Kids That Money Matters
Larry Burkett and Rick Osborne. Rev. ed. Chicago: Moody Press, 1996.
It’s a fact. What our children learn about handling money today will have a deep and lasting effect upon their own families and, ultimately, their service to God. Larry Burkett and Rick Osborne give a historic overview to show how each change in our economy has affected the next generation. They direct parents back to the Bible to examine what God has to say about our finances and the parent’s responsibilities to pass these principles on to their children. The topics dealt with in the book include stewardship, giving, financial contentment, diligence and the work ethic, long-term financial planning, borrowing and lending, saving and investing, and budgeting. Revised and expanded to include material on contemporary trends and future financial planning, the authors discuss how biblical principles can be taught to children ages 5 to 15. They also give practical help, tips and activities to teach kids basic money skills and management, using the Bible as the primary teaching tool.
More on this topicProdigal Sons and Material Girls: How Not to Be Your Child’s ATM
Nathan Dungan. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2003.
In this timely book, long-time financial advisor Nathan Dungan brings his experience in the financial world to bear on one of the most pressing matters facing us today: young people and their money. Dungan examines the underlying factors that shape young people’s spending habits and finds that youths are largely influenced by the distorted values of an economy that depends on voracious consumer appetites for survival. U.S. teenagers are getting their financial advice from consumer-product companies, media conglomerates and advertising agencies whose primary concern is the bottom line. Buying much more than simply products, our country’s teenagers are buying into a larger value system that tells them to accumulate material possessions for themselves so that they can be happy. Dungan’s book addresses the deeper influences of values, beliefs and priorities that shape spending habits. As Dungan points out, parents must play the greatest role in teaching young people about money, and if they don’t, someone else will. Dungan suggests an approach that he calls sharing-saving-spending, a simple method to teach children how to manage money. Included in the book are questions for reflection, diagnostic checklists, and a guide to resources for further study. Dungan does not speak from an explicitly Christian perspective; he does have a short section on the failure of the church in educating its members in financial matters, but he does not incorporate Christian themes throughout.
The Giving Family: Raising Our Children to Help Others
Susan Crites Price. Washington: Council on Foundations, 2001.
This book by author and freelance writer Susan Price helps parents and teachers to develop values of generosity in children. Since children learn by example, parents must first model a lifestyle of concern for others. Involving children in giving decisions and activities provides opportunities to talk with them about compassion and generosity. Parents are encouraged to discover their children’s talents and concerns and to tailor giving activities in those areas. Numerous activity and story boxes provide practical advice, personal testimony and further resources to keep giving fun as children develop the giving habit. Suggestions for educating children on financial principles, deepening relationships through entire family involvement, finding various volunteering institutions (both secular and religious), starting an organization oneself, implementing philanthropy into school curriculums and starting a family foundation also aid in the teaching process. Overall, this book provides practical information for getting the entire family involved in a lifestyle of generosity.
Raising Money-Smart Kids: How to Teach Your Children the Secrets of Earning, Saving, Investing, and Spending Wisely
Ron Blue and Judy Blue. Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1992.
Wise money management and wise living go hand-in-hand and nowhere else is this truth demonstrated more vividly than in this book. This easy-to-understand guidebook shows how parents and children can enjoy a lifetime of financial well-being and security—leading to financial independence and family harmony. The Blues give biblically based advice on teaching children to: (1) make their own financial decisions, (2) save money, (3) recognize scams, (4) resist peer pressure to spend unwisely, (5) spot good investments and smart purchases and (6) use their financial resources to help others and serve God. Acknowledging that it’s possible to go all the way through high school, college and graduate school without taking any courses in personal money management, the Blues have distilled the “why’s” and “how-to’s” from research and personal experience, offering workable guidelines for teaching children—and parents—smart money management. By offering hands-on worksheets and charts, this guidebook also gives parents the tools to teach children to make—and live on—a wise budget. Read a review of this book.