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Stewardship Books for Professional Advisors

Below is a topically arranged list of short book reviews. Except where noted, the books reviewed below are not available from Generous Giving. To obtain any resource, simply click on the title, and you will be linked to an authorized distributor. Recommend a favorite book, or see a shorter list of key books.


The World and Its Money

   History of Philanthropy
   Taxes and Philanthropy

The Church and Its Money

   Christian Consumerism and Debt

The Biblical Case for Giving

   Money and Possessions
   Eternal Reward
   Concordances

The Cultivation of Giving

   Discipling the Client

The Business of Giving

   Charitable and Estate Planning
   Biblical Money Management


History of Philanthropy
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    American Philanthropy
    Robert H. Bremner. 2nd ed. Chicago History of American Civilization. Daniel J. Boorstin, ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1988.
    In his foreword to this book, project editor Daniel J. Boorstin sets the tone for what’s to follow: This is no comprehensive history of American philanthropy but a “standard brief survey,” following what’s known as the Chicago History of American Civilization series. Simply put, that means that specific episodes or topics can be treated as windows; look through them and you’ll get a sense of America’s broad historical topography. Bremner, who writes with the sweep and stentorian rhythms of an academic, has succeeded, at least by the measuring stick any historian can appreciate—the test of time. More than 40 years after its original publication in 1960, his book on philanthropy is still in print while others have been consigned to the dustheap. Read a review of this book.

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Taxes and Philanthropy
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    Deducting Generosity: The Effect of Charitable Tax Incentives on Giving
    Independent Sector. Giving and Volunteering in the United States Series. Washington: Author, 2003.
    This 28-page booklet based on research done in 2001 by the nonprofit group Independent Sector examines the relationship between itemizing charitable giving on tax returns and giving levels in contemporary America. Based on the data, households that itemize charitable contributions were found to give more than those that did not itemize charitable contributions. The difference in giving levels is more pronounced in the area of religious giving; itemizers surpass non-itemizers to a greater degree in religious giving than they do in secular giving. Among the key findings: (1) Itemizing households give 37 percent more in contributions than non-itemizing households. (2) Itemizers give nearly two-thirds more to religious causes than non-itemizers. (3) Homeowners who itemize their tax deductions give more than homeowners who do not itemize. (4) In every income group examined, itemizing households give at least 40 percent more than non-itemizing households.

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Christian Consumerism and Debt
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    God and Mammon in America
    Robert Wuthnow. New York: The Free Press, 1994.
    From the Spanish explorers of the 16th century to the prosperity evangelists of the 20th, many Americans have sought simultaneously to serve God and get rich. Others have spurned wealth in the name of God. In this book, Princeton sociologist Robert Wuthnow argues that there is a longstanding chasm between religion and personal finances in America, which is wreaking psychological havoc upon millions. Far too often, committed churchgoers end up materialists and workaholics. Wuthnow challenges the churches and American society to think more deeply about the religious language of simplicity, social justice, and sacrifice in the post-industrial economy.

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Money and Possessions
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    Money, Possessions, and Eternity
    Randy C. Alcorn. Rev. ed. Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, 2003.
    The key to a right use of money and possessions is a right perspective–an eternal perspective. What I do today has tremendous bearing on eternity. Indeed, it is the stuff of which eternity is made. The everyday choices I make regarding money and possessions are of eternal consequence. Large segments of modern evangelicalism have succumbed to the heresy that this present life may be lived selfishly and disobediently without serious effects on our eternal state. In the midst of material confusion, self-centeredness and eroded values, may God raise up an army of those who understand the times and know what the people of God should do with their money and possessions. Read an excerpt consisting of chapter 10, “The Steward and the Master”, or read a longer excerpt that includes these chapters: (12) “Tithing: The Training Wheels of Giving,” (13) “Giving: Reciprocating God’s Grace,” and (15) “Ministry Finances and Fund-Raising: Special Ethical Concerns.” Read a review of this book.

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Eternal RewardConcordances
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    Bible Promises: Help and Hope for Your Finances
    Dick Bruso. San Bernardino, Calif.: Here’s Life Publishers, 1985.
    This topical concordance groups together Bible verses into categories that help the reader find the biblical principles applicable to various areas of finance. The categories cover a broad range of issues, including areas such as attitudes, justice and wisdom, in addition to more overtly financial topics such as debt, investment and giving to the needy. Under each topic, the text of each Bible verse appears, as well as the reference. Included in the back is a cross-reference index to help find the topic covering a reader’s specific concerns.


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Discipling the Client
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    The Eternity Portfolio: A Practical Guide for Investing Your Money for Ultimate Results
    Alan Gotthardt. Generous Giving Series. Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, 2003.
    All too often, Christians give out of guilt or legalism instead of joy and purpose. Even those who have a biblical perspective on giving rarely have a strategic plan for carrying out their beliefs. CPA and financial advisor Alan Gotthardt combines biblical teaching with modern investment-portfolio theory and offers fresh, practical how-tos for strategic, satisfying giving. Read the foreword and chapter summaries. Read an excerpt of this book. Additionally, the author has written a companion four-week study guide.



    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.

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Charitable and Estate Planning
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    For Love and Money: A Comprehensive Guide to the Successful Generational Transfer of Wealth
    Roy O. Williams. Marina, Calif.: Monterey Pacific Institute, 1997.
    Eighty-five percent of unsuccessful wealth transfers are caused by weak or severed family relationships. Thus, Williams, a professional family coach, developed the Integrated Wealth Transfer Process in order to prevent future financial catastrophes by addressing present relational problems. Williams’ plan concentrates on three elements vital to successful wealth transfer: (1) developing strong family relations by emphasizing trust, openness, cooperation and respect; (2) preparing the heir by allowing him to develop both competence in and familiarity with the business; (3) establishing a succession plan, with expectations and details clearly defined. Drawing numerous illustrative examples from his professional experience, the author demonstrates the importance of the following in smoothing the transition after the patriarch’s death and preventing family rivalry and misunderstanding: modeling one’s values, training children early, engaging the family in the business, maintaining realistic views of one’s children, teaching responsible handling of money, and evaluating feelings. The appendix also includes explanations of various succession aids such as the buy/sell agreement, charitable foundations and the will summary. This book offers practical advice for anyone concerned about the prevention of failed wealth transfers. However, if any family currently is experiencing broken relationships, the book counsels its members to obtain professional help rather than relying on the book’s advice alone.

    Preparing Heirs: Five Steps to Successful Transition of Family Wealth and Values
    Roy Williams and Vic Preisser. San Francisco: Robert D. Reed Publishers, 2003.
    According to current statistics, 70 percent of all wealth transfers are doomed to failure in that the heirs will involuntarily lose control of the inheritance left them. How can concerned parents/guardians ensure their wealth is preserved for their children? Previous attempts to remedy the dismal statistics concentrated on better financial and legal advising. Yet closer examination reveals that the problem of maintaining the fortune does not lie primarily in outside sources but, rather, in the values and practices of the heirs themselves. In other words, the children lacked the values and skills to manage their inherited wealth wisely. Written by a professional family coach (Williams) and a successful businessman and former government worker (Preisser), this book addresses the neglected area of value transfer and heir preparation. This book offers practical advice, based upon examination of successful wealth transfers, to those wishing to ensure that their heirs are ready for the responsibility of managing wealth. Openness, communication, inclusion of family members, and trust in relationship were all crucial components that marked successful wealth transfers. Unsuccessful transfers usually lacked a clearly developed plan or family mission statement. The authors develop a five-step plan for assessing current family cohesiveness, addressing weak areas, preparing heirs, helping heirs prepare themselves, and maintaining the family plan. Evaluative checklists and charts and illustrative anecdotes also aid in planning and preparation. The book sometimes appears to be a long advertisement for the authors’ own professional services but, nevertheless, provides informative and helpful advice.

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Biblical Money Management
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    Ease the Squeeze: Develop a Life Plan, a Giving Plan, and a Financial Plan: A Blueprint for a Solid Financial Foundation Practical and Spiritual Approaches to Money and Life
    Doug Hagedorn. Fairfax, Va.: Xulon Press, 2002.
    Originally intended as an aid to Christians seeking to escape the bondage of debt, this book exceeds mere financial boundaries and applies to all of life, outlining principles for developing a life plan, a giving plan and a financial plan. Lecturer and author Doug Hagedorn shares his personal spiritual and financial journey out of debt. Consumerism is similar to drug use; breaking the spending habit requires strong discipline and radical change. In today’s fast-paced world, one must learn how to prioritize in order to make sure efforts are directed toward goals of lasting value. Having well-defined life goals helps to direct one’s financial objectives toward more effective goals. A strong life plan must have Christ as the foundation, action and obedience as the walls, and prayer as the roof. In addition, giving reveals one’s heart motives toward money. Giving is done out of joy and thanksgiving for the great gift that Jesus has bestowed on us in salvation. Scripture teaches that God’s blessings (not always material ones) fall upon His children who (1) are obedient, (2) are merciful, (3) help of the poor, (4) live blamelessly, (5) keep His statues, (6) seek Him with wholehearted devotion, (7) delight in Him, (8) mix prayer with giving, (9) are simply God’s children and blessed for no other reason than pure grace. Discussions of tithing, debt reduction, budgets, savings plans, interest, loans and investments provide an overview of basic financial principles. Suggestions for involving the family in financial planning and budgeting promote family unity. Because obedient action is just as important as right knowledge (in other words, doing truth is as vital as hearing truth), the book includes worksheets, graphs, action points, selah stops (indications to pause and reflect further upon important principles) and a final chapter that summarizes the main points of the book in order to promote intentional application. Overall this book provides humorous and practical advice for prioritizing one’s life with an eternal perspective concerning the wise management of resources.

    Sound Mind Investing: A Step-By-Step Guide to Financial Stability and Growth
    Austin Pryor. 3rd ed. Louisville, Ky.: Sound Mind Investing, 2000.
    Building on the foundation of biblical financial principles laid by Christian financial advisor Ron Blue and Christian financial teacher Larry Burkett, the publisher of monthly investment newsletter Sound Mind Investing advances to the next level of giving readers practical knowledge concerning investment options. Laid out in a visually interesting format, the book highlights key points in the text and outlines most chapter contents for easier reference. In addition, suggestions for further resources (including Web addresses where the most up-to-date information can be found) are printed in the margins. The first two sections cover aspects of the solid financial foundation that must be in place prior to investment: debt reduction and the accumulation of savings funds, including college funds. The third section introduces investment options available, including topics such as explanations of mutual funds, red flags and other warning signs, and tax considerations. The fourth section covers methods for diversifying and protecting investments, explaining options such as bonds, stocks and portfolios (including creating a portfolio, changing an existing one and tailoring the portfolio to one’s investment personality). Principles for investment strategies are also discussed. The fifth section discusses retirement plans, including calculating retirement costs, examining pension plans and IRAs and lowering investment risks as retirement approaches. The sixth and final section provides boundaries and protection against the numerous siren calls of the market by outlining several biblical principles concerning investments. The renewing of our minds under God’s lordship, then, will bring us new values, motivations, ambitions, sources of wisdom and blessings that will ground our investment practices on a solid foundation and give us the ability to serve Him more abundantly with our increased means.

    The Complete Guide to Managing Your Money: Three Best Selling Works on Achieving Financial Freedom Complete in One Volume
    Larry Burkett. New York: Inspirational Press, 1996.
    Three of Larry Burkett’s previous works are combined into a single substantial volume. The first book, Your Finances in Changing Times (Christian Financial Concepts, 1975; rev. 1993), addresses our attitudes and perspectives toward money and how to apply biblical principles to questions about insurance, leverage, investment and credit. God has given us money so that we might practice our trustworthiness as faithful stewards. In addition to covering various types of financial bondage and developing goals for obtaining financial freedom, the book discusses issues such as the distinction between saving and hoarding, the importance of sharing obediently both from one’s plenty and from one’s poverty, the ability to discern needs, the benefits of giving over lending, and the command to honor God with the firstfruits of one’s income. While many in the world accumulate wealth for various reasons such as envy, security or competition, God only gives His people excess wealth for one purpose: that we might help others. The final segment of this section provides a list of practical applications of the principles discussed. The second book, Managing Your Money Wisely (originally Principles under Scrutiny (Christian Financial Concepts, 1985), covers attitudes toward money, financial issues in the church, investment, insurance, borrowing and lending, and financial issues in business, the family and ministry, developing principles set forth in the first book. The final book, Debt-Free Living (Christian Financial Concepts, 1989), addresses common traps that lead to financial bondage, methods for extricating oneself from debt, and advice on credit, loans and bankruptcy, along with appendices containing Scripture references and legal advice. Through the gospel message is not explicitly stressed, it is, nonetheless, assumed; the focus of Burkett’s writing seems to be on the practical living out of a life already committed to Christ.

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