GIVING

BOOK REVIEWS

The strength of our Book Reviews collection lies in the categorical breakdown that we have created for you below. We have divided the most common ministry design issues into categories so that you can more easily find the solution that you are looking for. Our eventual goal is to have an in-depth review for every book that will give you further assistance in discovering the reading pathway that can lead you to the solutions to the ministry issues you may be facing.


MONEY |

GIVING

  • Church Giving Matters: More Money Really Does Mean More Ministry

    by Ben Stroup. Publisher: CrossBooks Publishing.
  • Contagious Generosity: Creating a Culture of Giving in Your Church

    By Chris Willard and Jim Shepherd

    “The general practices related to church funding aren’t producing the same results they have in the past. There is a general acceptance that something has changed but little talk or interest is coming from traditional church leader training sources such as denominational entities and seminaries. Pastors are largely left to their own devices to “figure this out.” They need a lifeline. While some churches are experiencing exponential growth, some churches – despite their best efforts – have been unsuccessful at moving beyond survival mode. Coupled with increased competition from other nonprofits and a decline in the commitment to give to the church first, churches risk losing the funding they need. A growing number of leaders are beginning to discover there is another way and are struggling to understand what makes one church generous and another not. There is a need in the market to offer a simple, working definition of “generosity” and reveal the “secrets” some church leaders seem to have simply stumbled upon which are resulting in unexplainable ministry growth and unprecedented church funding even in the midst of tough economic times. The content of this material was developed and refined by Jim Sheppard and Chris Willard through years of ministry leadership in the local church, consulting with church leaders across a broad spectrum of church settings, and through participation in and leadership of the Generous Church Leadership Community facilitated by Leadership Network. Of particular benefit will be the collection of observations and best practices gleaned during the Generous Church Leadership Community that originated within real-life church leadership situations and scenarios by highlighting specific challenges, methods, and successes.”

  • Fields of Gold

    by Andy Stanley. Publisher: Living Books.

    Focuses on Scriptural motivations for giving
    This a great “gift book” to aid in disipleship

  • Funding Your Ministry

    By Scott Morton

    “Whether you are experienced at fundraising or just starting out, Funding Your Ministry will help answer your questions and put you on the biblical path for recruiting and maintaining donor support.”

  • How to Increase Giving in Your Church: A Practical Guide to the Sensitive Task of Raising Money For Your Church or Ministry

    by George Barna. Publisher: Regal Books.

    Focuses on communicating stewardship principles

    Click to see full review

    Purpose:

    The book is “geared toward helping church leaders acquire current and accurate knowledge about the who, how and why of giving to churches” and to develop a unique stewardship plan for their own ministries.

    Content:

    The author seeks to “address some basic questions about the givers (their demographics, psychographics, theolographics) and their giving (why do they give, how do they give, how much do they give, what would encourage them to give more)”. He hopes to “diffuse some of the most common sources of anxiety, fear and misunderstanding related to fund-raising”. The information in this book was drawn from 4 year studies that included interviews with more than 10,000 adults “randomly selected from across the nation”.

    Analysis:

    While this book was published in 1997 and the research was performed in the early 1990’s the need to research and understand “giving” components of your current congregation and situation is clearly established. Do you have a firm grasp of your current situation?

    Application:

    Who will benefit?

    Pastors and lay leaders leading a capital campaign.

    How will it benefit?

    It will motivate and educate us to understand the people we serve and seek to reach with the gospel.

    Where does it fit in the ministry design process?

    Stewardship planning.

    Aha Thought:

    page 153 – 157: Key Principles for Effective Stewardship:

    1. You are raising money for life transformation, not organizational survival.
    2. People give to people and causes, not to institutions or programs.
    3. Repeat donors must be inspired and persuaded.
    4. There is no substitute for absolute integrity. None.
    5. A visionless church is an impoverished church.
    6. People give to winners; tell your stories.
    7. Fund-raising is a means to an end. Focusing on the end facilitates the means.
    8. Dream big, pray big, ask big, minister big.
    9. Ministry donors do not just give; they invest.
    10. Stewardship is a lifestyle, not an event.
    11. Listen carefully, respond strategically, thank people sincerely.
    12. Use the pastor appropriately in the stewardship process.
    13. People appreciate useful information.
    14. Let love, compassion and servanthood-not dollar goals- be your motivation.

  • Making Change: A Transformational Guide to Christian Money Management

    by Ken Hamphill. Publisher: Broadman and Holman.

    Teaches Biblical stewardship of money.

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

    by Clif Christopher. Publisher: Abingdon Press.
  • Successful Church Fund-Raising

    by John R. Bisagno

    “God is blessing many churches today with exponential growth and great opportunity for ministry in their community. However, many churches have inadequate facilities or feel the crunch of overcrowding and are without the immediate resources for expansion. This book, written from someone with the heart for the church and who had the joy of seeing his own congregation give in excess of $250 million over 30 years, will equip a church of any size with the knowledge to conduct—from beginning to end—a full capital campaign.”

    This book was published in 2002

  • Succession Transition: A Roadmap for Seamless Transitions in Leadership

    by Gordon Krater and Bill Hermann

    “Leadership succession can make or break an organization, large or small. Less than a third of family businesses successfully transition from the first generation to the next. And fewer than 10 percent of near-retirement-age business owners have a formal succession plan.
    With more than 60 years of combined experience at Plante Moran, Managing Partner emeritus Bill Hermann and current Managing Partner Gordon Krater have collaborated to capture a formula for creating sustainable organizations. The formula has been successfully used to make Plante Moran one of America s top accounting, tax, and consulting firms and helped it earn a best places to work designation from Fortune magazine for an enviable 13 years straight.

    It’s easy to fall into the trap of only focusing on succession near the end of a leader’s tenure. But the process begins with understanding an organization s culture, defining its recruiting processes, developing its training programs, and identifying experiential learning opportunities for its future leaders. While every organization has unique circumstances, this book captures universal ingredients to facilitate successful successions.

    “It takes a village to raise a child,” the saying goes. Similarly, interactions with the elders in your organization create learning opportunities among future leaders. Hermann and Krater share specific examples and observations that demonstrate the key ingredients to help create your sustainable organization.”

  • The Giving Christian: Sowing Seeds For An Eternal Harvest

    by Kirk Nowery. Publisher: Spire Resources.

    It encourages the reader to live life with God’s purpose

    Click to see full review

    Purpose:

    To help the reader focus on the eternal impact of his personal stewardship

    Content:

    The author develops Scriptural basis for different aspects of our stewardship such as giving truth and help and resources and love.

    Analysis:

    This makes a great gift to enrich the lives that you are discipling.

    Application:
    Who will benefit?

    Anyone spiritual leader wishing to disciple others

    How will it benefit?
    It is a teaching tool for helping the new or growing believer

    Where does it fit in the process?
    Discipleship

    Aha Thought:

    The author is reflecting on the story of Peter walking on the water.  “The lessons of this story (which I have to keep on learning), motivate me to encourage other believers, to tell them ‘Keep your eyes on Jesus!’  When I train pastors and Christian workers, I counsel them that if is usually (not always, but usually) more effective to give strength than to give sympathy, to give power than to give pity.  I advise them, tell people: ‘If you’re climbing a mountainous challenge, look to Jesus at the summit.  If you’re running a demanding race, look to Jesus at the finish line.  And if you’re going through a tough experience that seems to require walking on water, look to Jesus, who reaches out and says, ‘You can make it!  Just keep your eyes on Me!’” (p. 64)

  • The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea

    by Bob Burg and John David Mann. Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover.

    Focuses on adding value to the lives of others
    It is a great “gift book” to encourage service

  • The God Ask: A Fresh, Biblical Approach to Personal Support Raising

    By Steve Shadrach

    “As a ministry worker, raising support can be a daunting task. It doesn’t have to be intimidating though. It isn’t about money or asking people to give. It is about looking to God to provide for you. He has given you a vision for ministry, and now you get to invite others into that vision. Your job is to pray and work hard to discover those whom the Lord has already prepared to invest in you and your ministry. God has done His work. Now it’s time for you to do yours.

    A case in point: Nehemiah was very nervous about meeting with the wealthiest, most powerful man on the planet. He was asking King Artaxerxes to fund his Jerusalem restoration project. But when it came time to make his appeal, this lowly cupbearer first looked up to the Person who really provides resources. At the moment of truth, Nehemiah lifted his heart and made The God Ask. In Nehemiah 2:4 he describes the exchange: “Then the king said to me, ‘What would you request?’ So I prayed to the God of heaven.”

    Instead of going into appointments fearing what your fellow man will say, you can have confidence that God is superintending the whole process. This book will help you embrace the fact that this is not a Man Ask. No. It is a God Ask!”

  • Whose Offering Plate Is It?: New Strategies for Financial Stewardship

    by Clif Christopher. Publisher: Abingdon Press.