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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The Steward Living in Covenant: a New Perspective on Old Testament Stories

The Steward Living in Covenant: a New Perspective on Old Testament Stories

Holistic, Resource Review, Stewardship, Theology
by Ronald E. Vallet ( Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2001). This is a delightful book. It takes us to our theological foundations, to the stories of our heritage, and flings us forward with a challenge to make something meaningful from the past that shaped us. Ron Vallet weaves study with story and intersperses the presentation with short dramas and choral readings. The book begins by challenging our understanding of our calling. Are we to be seduced by the emptiness around us, or will we subvert the dominant themes of our culture and bring the best of our faith and heritage to our households and to the communities in which we live? The author provides theological understandings and practical assistance to help us change and build. He…
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Afire with God: Spirit-Ed Stewardship for a New Century

Afire with God: Spirit-Ed Stewardship for a New Century

Resource Review, Stewardship, Theology
by Betsy Schwarzentraub (Nashville, TN: Discipleship Resources, 2000), ISBN: 0-88177-273-9, 96 pp., $13.95US/$20CDN. Review by Michael Meier, director for leadership development with the Stewardship Team of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America's Division for Congregational Ministries and Giving's resource review editor Betsy Schwarzentraub gives us a short, eminently readable book that is a good theological resource for pastors and other stewardship leaders. In addition to its solid theological grounding, it provides practical helps in the form of questions, activities, and guided reflection at the end of each of the four chapters. I recommend it for its practical helps and its fresh theological perspective. The author begins by connecting the reader to the Hebrew experience as aliens in Egypt. She invites us to recognize that we are often reluctant stewards in…
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Growing Givers’ Hearts: Treating Fundraising as Ministry

Growing Givers’ Hearts: Treating Fundraising as Ministry

Fundraising, Giving, Resource Review, Theology
by Thomas H. Jeavons and Rebekah Burch Basinger. (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 2000), ISBN: 0-7879-4829-2, 211 pp., $22.95US, hardcover. Review by Michael Meier, director for leadership development, Stewardship Team, Division for Congregational Ministries, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. There are those who insist on a wall of separation between “stewardship” and “fundraising.” Proponents of this view tend to value “stewardship” highly and denigrate “fundraising” as something not only separate, but also distinctly inferior. The authors of this volume might succeed in causing such “separationists” to rethink their derisive certainties. The authors intend to show how Christian fundraising can and should be ministry. They believe fundraising not only should raise funds, but also empower spiritual growth within its participants. (See “Aim for the Heart: Fundraising as Ministry”). As…
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Congregations at the Crossroads: Remembering to Be Households of God

Congregations at the Crossroads: Remembering to Be Households of God

Biblical, Congregations, Resource Review, Theology
By Ronald E. Vallet. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1998), ISBN: 0802813670, 256 pp. $29 US Review by Herbert Mather, director of stewardship for the General Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church Here is a book that does not fit the mold. It is both faithful and practical. Most of us have read books on Christian stewardship, agreed with most of what the author thought, "So what?" Many writers develop a sound theology but provide no clues about relating it to real life in the church. Other books have an abundance of how-to recommendations based on the latest management or marketing techniques with a few Bible verses tossed in to furnish legitimacy. Congregations at the Crossroads is different. Ron Vallet talks theology but doesn't simply theorize.…
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