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 write about the significance of offerings in the Old Testament—about how the focus was never on getting money, but on worshiping God. In another chapter they tell how the New Testament focuses on giving cheerfully and from a generous heart.
The Amersons remind us that Christians, who are receivers of God’s generosity and love, need opportunities to be generous givers. The authors share ideas for using the offering as a time to tell ministry stories: in skits, in short videos, or through people’s personal witness of how the church has touched them. Today people want to know how their giving is helping to build the kingdom of God and making a difference in people’s lives.
This book can be used as a tool in planning worship, as a discussion starter for a worship planning team, or in new member orientation. With chapters for clergy, laity, children, and youth, this book is truly an offering. Thanks to the brothers Amerson for this gift.
Review by Donald W. Joiner, director of Stewardship and Planned Giving for the United Methodist Church.