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,…
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Stewardship in the Small Membership Congregation

Stewardship in the Small Membership Congregation

Congregations, Resource Review, Stewardship
by Clark Hargus, Ecumenical Stewardship Center, digital version, 2012 The other day I came across an old and generous friend in a new format: the ESC digital version of Stewardship in the Small Membership Congregation. This is a resource that had given me a lot of traction in stewardship work twenty years ago. For Clark Hargus, a small membership congregation is one with an average worship attendance of less than one hundred. When this resource was first produced that might have meant that you were talking about only rural or small town congregations. That’s not the case anymore. Hargus’s basic premise is that in order “to do effective stewardship work in a small membership congregation, the activity should be Bible based, enjoyable, relational, practical and specific.” This is Stewardship 101.…
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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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Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate: A New Vision for Financial Stewardship

Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate: A New Vision for Financial Stewardship

Congregations, Holistic, Resource Review, Stewardship
By J. Clif Christopher, Abingdon Press, 2008, ISBN-13: 9780687648535 What motivates twenty-first century people to be generous in supporting their congregations? How can congregations craft a stewardship ministry that both raises funds for the church’s mission and helps people grow spiritually? Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate offers insight into the answers to questions such as these. Christopher presents not another theology of stewardship but rather a practical guide for translating theology into action. Filled with engaging anecdotes and concrete suggestions, this book will be most useful for pastors who want to approach stewardship not as one more responsibility but as a key for helping people connect their faith and their material lives. Review by D. Michael Bennethum, director for evangelical mission/associate of the bishop for the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod of…
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Celebrating the Offering

Celebrating the Offering

Congregations, Giving, Resource Review
by Melvin Amerson and James Amerson Discipleship Resources, 2007, ISBN: 978-0-88177-526-6 I like to see how the offering is handled in different churches. In some churches, nothing is said. In others, the ushers are invited up. In many, the choir sings to fill the gap. In most, it is an uncomfortable gap in worship. We often don’t know where to put the offering time, or what to say or do. At times I have heard a worship leader say, “I know you don’t want to take an offering, but it wouldn’t be church if we didn’t.” In Celebrating the Offering, Melvin and James Amerson (brothers, both of whom are clergy) help clergy and lay worship teams understand the offering as an important time of worship. In chapter one, the Amersons…
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Stewardship in African-American Churches: A New Paradigm

Stewardship in African-American Churches: A New Paradigm

Congregations, Giving, Resource Review
by Melvin Amerson (Upper Room Books, 2006) Review by Stephanie Jackson, associate for congregational leadership, Office of Spiritual Formation, Presbyterian Church (USA) In Stewardship in African-American Churches: A New Paradigm, Melvin Amerson reminds us of the creative ways African-American congregations started out supporting themselves. Even though money was scarce, the desire to give was generous. Women of the church were most active in raising funds. Their example sets a precedent and a challenge for today’s African-American congregations. Amerson gives an interesting interpretation of giving based on whether a church is conservative, moderate, or liberal. While this information is not conclusive, it does inspire the reader to review his or her understanding of Scripture, theological perspective, and level of giving. Church leaders are encouraged to help members connect faith and money…
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The Multigenerational Congregation

Congregations, Leadership, Resource Review
by Gil Rendle (Alban Institute, 2002) This book touches on issues important to how we do stewardship in today’s church, though it doesn’t specifically address stewardship in the church. Whether we established leaders or our church members like it or not, the cultural landscape has changed, and it affects how we do church and stewardship. Rendle’s book, The Multigenerational Congregation, focuses on this generational division and speaks to how a multigenerational membership is possible in a church. Rendle takes conflict between the generations as a given and helps leaders manage it. His introduction gives us a graphic picture of the generational battle: Say, for example, you are responsible for training and supervising the acolytes at your church. The older members pull you aside to point out that the teenagers who…
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Offerings of the Heart: Money and Values in Faith Communities

Offerings of the Heart: Money and Values in Faith Communities

Congregations, Resource Review
By Shawn Israel Zevit (Alban Institute, 2005) Review by Barbara Fullerton, stewardship development officer for The United Church of Canada. This theologically reflective book discusses money and values in faith communities. It offers fresh viewpoints from the Jewish historical tradition that are biblically grounded in our shared Hebrew scripture. A Jewish spiritual perspective that money is a tool for actualizing God's presence in the world is a core value for this book's systems approach to fundraising, inviting resource sharing for the repairing of lives and of God's world. What a welcome insight to realize we are not “raising” money but “organizing” money already in our faith communities! It is also delightful to read in another faith tradition something we teach in the Christian church—that stewardship is about getting our money…
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Ask, Thank, Tell: Improving Stewardship Ministry in Your Congregation

Congregations, Resource Review, Stewardship
By Charles Lane (Augsburg Fortress, 2006) Review by Michael Meier, associate executive for mission support for the Synodical Relations unit of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Charles “Chick” Lane has written a guidebook for congregational leaders that is refreshingly new in a number of ways. First, the book begins by emphasizing that the goal of stewardship ministry is not to raise enough money to pay the bills, but rather to help God's people grow in their relationship with Jesus through the use of the time, talents and finances God has entrusted to them. The author speaks at length about the importance of growing disciples and provides practical guidance for that effort. There is an excellent section about God's ownership of all we have. Chapter three discusses wealth and possessions in…
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Generations of Faith: a Congregational Atlas

Generations of Faith: a Congregational Atlas

Congregations, Resource Review, Stewardship
by Carl G. Eeman (Alban Institute, 2003), ISBN 1-566-99-272-9, 185 pp. Review by Sandy Lueschen, minister for personal stewardship for the United Church of Christ Many congregations include four generations—four groups that approach life quite differently, even within one community. Natural generational differences can result in frustration, disappointment, and conflict between the generations, but they also can lead to admiration, hopefulness, and friendship. Based on the landmark generational work of William Strauss and Neil Howe, Generations of Faith interprets the generational types for church leaders. Eeman explains the historical cycle of American generations and gives multiple examples of its impact on church life. Eeman's insights will help leaders take an objective view of generational differences in their congregations and aid them in determining how to meet members' competing needs. Of particular interest…
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