Faithful Investing: The Power of Decisive Action and Incremental Change

Faithful Investing: The Power of Decisive Action and Incremental Change

Investing, Resource Review
People of faith and entire faith communities alike must consider how the dollars they have been tasked with managing are at work in this world. But the world of investment portfolios and asset management can be an intimidating one to enter. James W. Murphy has assembled a resource to help introduce and guide individuals and communities alike through the potentially complex language and considerations related to managing our money in a way that is aligned with our faith and values. Faithful Investing: The power of Decisive Action and Incremental Change is a collection of essays written by a number of financial professionals from faith-based organizations who work in the area of financial and investment services. This ecumenical collaboration walks the reader through the complexities of faith-rooted investing with approachable and…
Read More

Six Weeks on Money

Congregations, Giving, Resource Review, Workbook
In the field of stewardship education, a growing number of resources are being written and disseminated. This is a good thing. Enter Six Weeks on Money, a resource for individual or group use developed by Tim Schuster, most recently a Strategic Development Consultant for Thrivent Financial. He describes his program as a financial education program. This online resource is perhaps better described as an experience designed to help folks dig deeper into their personal money stories: how they relate to their personal financial resources. The six topics—Values, Scarcity, Agility, Integrity, Options, and Giving—are organized a bit differently from other popular financial stewardship courses, but contain all the vital components of an effective financial stewardship plan. Biblical truths serve as a foundation for all content, but the principles included are spiritual,…
Read More
The Shepherd’s Guide through the Valley of Debt and Financial Change

The Shepherd’s Guide through the Valley of Debt and Financial Change

Leadership, Resource Review
By Flora Williams This volume, which does seem as long and big as its title, is a reference book. It deals with almost any financial question that a pastor or other counselor might meet in dealing with a parishioner or client. The author—a retired Purdue University professor, counselor, and Church of the Brethren pastor—has observed that many—perhaps most—pastors are not equipped, and do not feel equipped, to deal with financial issues when counseling. (A recent Pew Research Center survey indicates many parishioners agree). Flora Williams wants to change that. I see two reasons why some pastors might raise questions about this book. First, Williams is theologically conservative, and some paragraphs are close to preaching. Some pastors prefer to keep their theology and their financial counseling separate. But this should not…
Read More
A Theology for Christian Stewardship

A Theology for Christian Stewardship

Holistic, Resource Review
A. Kantonen, Muhlenberg Press, 1956 I took some time to revisit an old friend recently. A Theology for Christian Stewardship by T. A. Kantonen was part of the bibliography for my doctoral research in the late 1980s. Published in 1956, it is a classic. As I re-read the book, I was struck that all the stewardship principles I have learned over the course of more than 26 years of stewardship ministry are summarized here in a mid-twentieth century treatise. Those principles were all unpacked for me some thirty years ago in a concise but thorough exposition of biblical theology specific to the topic of stewardship. Kantonen (1900-1993) was a Harvard-educated theologian who, at age three emigrated with his family from Finland to the United States. In a succinct manner, he…
Read More
Contagious Generosity: Creating a Culture of Giving in Your Church

Contagious Generosity: Creating a Culture of Giving in Your Church

Giving, Resource Review
Chris Willard and Jim Sheppard Zondervan, 2012 Contagious Generosity: Creating a Culture of Giving in Your Church is a treasure chest of congregational practices related to giving that really work. Written by Chris Willard and Jim Sheppard, it offers high-impact examples from top churches in The Leadership Network, arising out of their Generous Church Leadership Community. The authors begin by defining generosity as “a lifestyle in which we share all that we have, are, and ever will become as a demonstration of God’s love and a response to God’s grace” (p. 18). Intentionally limiting their conversation to stewardship of money and finances, they explore learnings and practices at the intersection of church development— where the church’s culture provides the permission system for giving—and leadership development, including leveraging weekend worship experiences,…
Read More
What Do I Own and What Owns Me? A Spirituality of Stewardship

What Do I Own and What Owns Me? A Spirituality of Stewardship

Resource Review, Stewardship
By Daniel Conway, Twenty-Third Publications, 2008, Third Printing Stewardship is a source of deepening spirituality and grace, says Daniel Conway, when it helps us develop a lifestyle of growth in gratitude, generosity, sharing, and responsibility. In What Do I Own and What Owns Me?, Conway sets stewardship within the context of discipleship. He prompts readers to ask themselves two fundamental questions: “What do I own?” – I can consider the three most significant spiritual gifts God has given me and also my most prized material possessions. “What owns me?” – Have I completely surrendered my life and will to God, or am I holding back? This down-to-earth book contains plenty of nuggets to ponder and apply to our way of living, including the following: The rich and the comfortable may…
Read More
Why Good Things Happen to Good People: How to Live a Longer, Healthier, Happier Life by the Simple Act of Giving

Why Good Things Happen to Good People: How to Live a Longer, Healthier, Happier Life by the Simple Act of Giving

Giving, Resource Review
By Stephen Post, PhD, and Jill Neimark, Broadway Books, 2007 “Giving is good medicine,” say Stephen Post and Jill Neimark, authors of Why Good Things Happen to Good People: How to Live a Longer, Healthier, Happier Life by the Simple Act of Giving. It is an exciting book that reveals research results of physical, mental and emotional links between doing good and living longer, healthier, and happier lives. This book is packed with surprising findings from serious scientific studies that “demonstrate the power of unselfish love to enhance health,” recording positive benefits of a generous way of life. Key studies give stunning results. For example, after sifting out other factors, one five-year study of almost 2,000 people over the age of fifty-five found that those who volunteered in two or…
Read More
The Passionate Steward: Recovering Christian Stewardship from Secular Fundraising

The Passionate Steward: Recovering Christian Stewardship from Secular Fundraising

Resource Review, Stewardship
Michael O’Hurley-Pitts: St. Brigid Press, 2001 “Secular fundraising models… fundamentally undermine the Christian values we profess individually and communally…[Stewardship is] a matter of living out our vocation as Christians,… not grounded in…individual rights, but in the idea of gratitude for our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer and the inherent dignity which belongs to every human being” (p. 8). O’Hurley-Pitts lists many differences between Christian stewardship and secular fundraising (pp. 59-60), but his main points are these: All gifts, whatever the size, are important. Emphasizing leadership gifts or major gifts subtly tells everyone else that they are not important. Christians give for the joy of giving, not in order to be praised. Christian donors do not have a bill of rights promising that they will be complimented. Time is our most valuable…
Read More
Propel: Good Stewardship, Greater Generosity

Propel: Good Stewardship, Greater Generosity

Resource Review, Stewardship
Clayton Smith, Abingdon, 2015 You’ll get down-to-earth guidance in Propel: Good Stewardship, Greater Generosity. Author Clayton Smith is executive pastor of generosity at the Church of the Resurrection United Methodist Church, a vanguard in generosity ministry. This slim-but-packed book is a training and planning tool for your local church stewardship and generosity team, finance committee, and related groups. Smith says it’s crucial to focus clearly on financial stewardship. Only as people overcome their money fears can they grow in giving, experiencing it as a joyful act of worship. The first task of a stewardship and generosity team is to teach ways members can practice better financial stewardship of their own resources, says Smith. This includes how to manage their money better; eliminate personal debt and practice budgeting; and tithe, become…
Read More
Embracing Stewardship: How to Put Stewardship at the Heart of Your Congregation’s Life

Embracing Stewardship: How to Put Stewardship at the Heart of Your Congregation’s Life

Resource Review, Stewardship
Charles R. Lane and Grace Duddy Pomroy, Embracing Stewardship LLC, 2016 Embracing Stewardship is an excellent resource encouraging the church to recapture the true meaning of not just the word but the concept of Christian stewardship. Ms. Pomroy is financial education specialist for Portico Benefit Services in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Rev. Charles Lane has served as the Director of the Center for Stewardship Leaders at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota and as Director for Stewardship Key Leader in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He currently serves as Pastor for Stewardship and Generosity at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Maple Grove, MN, and works with Kairos and Associates. The authors come at the definition from different but complementary viewpoints. Each begins with a theological perspective. The first two…
Read More