Reflections on Faith and Finances

Reflections on Faith and Finances

Biblical, Giving, Resource Review, Stewardship
by Charles Lane 40 pages In this brief and tangible guide, Lane shares practical and helpful tools on understanding our relationship between our faith and finances. He pulls from his book Ask, Thank, Tell and cuts to the chase in this small, yet poignant reflection. Beginning with a universal definition of “gift”, he explores how by its very definition, our ability to have feeling or judgment of how gifts are to be used is removed once we relinquish ownership. Quickly he moves to clarify that it’s not that way with God … at all. In fact, “God continues to own everything.” Lane goes on to biblically make the argument for the importance of Christian stewardship. He wastes no time drawing modern day parallels and raising questions on how we choose to use our resources. He closes with the Portrait of…
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Sabbath and Jubilee

Sabbath and Jubilee

Biblical, Holistic, Resource Review
Richard H. Lowery, (St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2000) This is not an easy read. Written by a professor of Old Testament, Sabbath and Jubilee is a study of biblical references to Sabbath and jubilee. The subject is complicated by many factors: roots in a subsistence rural economy, uncertainty concerning origins of the Sabbath, educated guesses as to original meanings, uncertainty as to what was practice and what was ideal. “Jubilee laws [on slavery and land redistribution] are…mostly impractical as social policy. But they establish important and revolutionary theological and ethical principles” (p. 77). “By celebrating a divinely ordered cosmic order, built on natural abundance, self-restraint, and social solidarity, Sabbath critiques the oppressive consequences of a royal imperial system built on tribute, forced state labor, and debt slavery” (p. 3). Households…
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Biblical Stewardship: Our Duty and Delight

Biblical Stewardship: Our Duty and Delight

Biblical, Resource Review, Stewardship
With Mark Allan Powell, Select Learning This DVD, with accompanying study guide, explores stewardship from a biblical perspective, meaning all we have and hold belongs to God. It serves as an introduction of stewardship concepts for church leaders and stewardship committees and helps congregational members explore being stewards in a broad sense. The DVD’s introduction for church leaders and six sessions (each approximately twenty minutes long) feature biblical and personal stories and illustrations that bring being a steward to life. The accompanying study guide encourages participants to go deeper by reflecting on how being a steward takes shape in their daily lives. Powell’s approach to being a steward uses three principles that bring focus to congregational stewardship: focus more on living than giving—God cares how we acquire, regard, manage, and…
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The Star Book for Stewardship

The Star Book for Stewardship

Biblical, Leadership, Money management, Resource Review, Stewardship
by Clifford A. Jones Sr., Judson Press, 2011, ISBN: 0817016651 In a time of economic uncertainty for many local congregations comes a book that, according to its author, is “intended as a practical guide to personal and institutional stewardship.” Clifford Jones writes with clarity about ways to flesh out stewardship scripturally within the realm of pastor as preacher and teacher, pragmatically for the person in the pew, sharing practices for sound personal financial management, in worship settings with a variety of personal testimonies, and emphasizing the importance of the local church being a good steward. In this last section, space is given to understanding stewardship beyond finances to the act of advocacy on behalf of those with limited resources. This is a welcome book for any pastor looking to enhance…
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52 Ways to Ignite Your Congregation: Generous Giving

52 Ways to Ignite Your Congregation: Generous Giving

Biblical, Congregations, Resource Review
by William C. Green, The Pilgrim Press, 2010, ISBN-13: 978-0829818529 This book is a real help in promoting a generous discipleship that is at the core of what it is to be a Christian. Its biblically grounded advice tells how to promote a context in which generosity will grow. “Questions for Action” set the tone for the next set of questions, which are categorized under “Facing Obstacles and Moving Ahead.” Green’s Bible studies alone are worth the purchase of the book. I found the structure of the book thoughtful, and it’s very usable as a study book. I would recommend this book for use by church stewardship committees and ministers with stewardship responsibilities. Generosity is part of being a disciple. Some people learn generosity as they grow up, but for…
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Ministry and Money: A Practical Guide for Pastors

Ministry and Money: A Practical Guide for Pastors

Biblical, Leadership, Resource Review
By Janet T. Jamieson and Philip D. Jamieson, Westminster John Knox Press, 2009, ISBN: 978-0-664-231 This book gave my seminary students the best basic orientation to stewardship leadership I have found. One student who recognized its value said, “I am putting this book at a convenient place on my shelf.” 98-9 The authors begin with a reflection on the problem of money, explore history and Scripture, and engage in the formation of a theology of money. They continue by giving tools to interpret and develop congregational and personal practices that are theologically congruent. The book ends by pointing toward pastoral practices that expand the conversation about money to all of life. Review by Jerry Hoffman, director of the Center for Stewardship Leaders at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota.
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Giving to God: The Bible’s Good News about Living a Generous Life

Giving to God: The Bible’s Good News about Living a Generous Life

Biblical, Giving, Resource Review, Stewardship
By Mark Allan Powell, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2006, ISBN: 978-0-8028-2926-9 Giving to God would be a great addition to the shelf of stewardship books you rely on to help you unlock biblical truths for a sermon, talk, or paper. Mark Allan Powell brings stewardship theology alive. Just when you think you have heard all the ways it can be expressed, Powell delivers a fresh, concise, and candid interpretation that speaks to today’s local church. The book’s subtitle really sums up the spirit in which the theological material is presented. The liberal use of anecdotes and examples brings us face to face with the person God has meant us to be and drives us toward being a stewardship partner with Christ. Giving to God sets itself apart in its…
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We Make a Life by What We Give

We Make a Life by What We Give

Biblical, Giving, Resource Review
By Richard B. Gunderman Indiana University Press, 2006, ISBN: 978-0-253-35076-3 In this book Richard Gunderman provides twenty-two short essays that explore topics related to philanthropy, giving, and the potential to share. Each stands alone in its given topic and provides a rich understanding of humanity and how we must live in community. Bringing forth many biblical and Greek references, Gunderman helps the reader discover a more philosophical understanding of philanthropy, while always emphasizing its profound effect on society. Gunderman uses a quote from Winston Churchill as the title of his book, of which the overarching theme is “generosity.” While many equate this word with money, these essays dig much deeper into the soul of civilization and how all that we have and all that we are contributes to the greater good…
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Faith and Money: Understanding Annual Giving in Church

Faith and Money: Understanding Annual Giving in Church

Biblical, Budgets, Congregations, Giving, Resource Review, Stewardship, Theology
by Michael Reeves and Jennifer Tyler (Discipleship Resources, 2003), ISBN 0-88177-410-3, 128 pp. A disconnection of heretical proportion exists between theology and practice in the area of faith and money, say Michael Reeves and Jennifer Tyler. The authors feel that quick fixes for funding the budget have predominated, when what is really needed is a long-term, well developed theology of stewardship that is consistent with Scripture, tradition, and practice. The book lays out some of the challenges in stewardship work, along with some approaches that don’t work. The authors focus on establishing a solid scriptural basis for stewardship and the importance of worthy goals, leadership, education, and communication. They also share ideas for both an annual stewardship campaign and a year-round stewardship plan. One idea for a stewardship campaign that…
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Full Disclosure: Everything the Bible Says About Financial Giving

Full Disclosure: Everything the Bible Says About Financial Giving

Biblical, Giving, Resource Review, Stewardship
by Herb Miller (Discipleship Resources, 2003), ISBN 0-88177-411-1, 128 pp. Review by Miriam M. K. Bunge, pastor and stewardship specialist/assistant to the bishop for the North/West Lower Michigan Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Full Disclosure explores twenty financial stewardship themes and includes appendices for ten subthemes. Each theme (chapter) includes stories and quotes, commentary on relevant Old Testament and New Testament passages, and questions upon which to reflect. Whether or not a pastor or layperson is comfortable thinking or talking about giving money and other financial assets to God through the church, this book is understandable, inspirational, and informative. Herb Miller states: Christian stewardship uses the life God gave you for God's purposes. Your money is a tangible extension of that life. God does not so much call…
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