There are tonnes and tonnes of good books about stewardship, deepening our theological understanding, planning parish stewardship education programmes, etc. A selection of the best books follows

Financial stewardship

From Scarcity to Abundance: A Complete Guide to Parish Stewardship
David M. Ponting
ISBN 1-55126-438-2 , $24.95

This handbook presents a one-stop, all-in-one practical resource for parish stewardship leaders. In a relaxed informal style, the author demystifies the financial stewardship process and helps clergy, stewardship committees, and parish wardens reclaim the ministry of stewardship. It’s also an excellent introduction to stewardship for divinity students.

Ponting uses a theological framework to tie together the complete landscape of parish financial stewardship. He incorporates personal money management, nurturing a culture of stewardship, working with limited volunteer availability, year-round stewardship programs, and using effective tools and techniques such as narrative budgets. He also provides practical guidance for planned giving programs, capital campaigns and conducting a parish audit of stewardship ministry. This Canadian book will help facilitate productive stewardship planning so that your efforts will bear fruit that will last.

Books by Kennon Callahan

Kennon Callahan, one of today’s most sought after church consultants, has worked with thousands of congregations across the world over the past four decades.  He is renowned for his dynamic motivational speaking and solid theological perspective.  As a pastor, teacher, researcher, lecturer, and theologian, he has helped tens of thousands of church leaders through his workshops and seminars and books.

All his books are good, but these stand out:

  • Building for Effective Mission: A Complete Guide for Congregations on Bricks and Mortar Issues ISBN 07879-3872-6
  • Effective Church Finances: Fund-Raising and Budgeting for Church Leaders ISBN 07879-3869-6
  • Giving and Stewardship in an Effective Church: A Guide for Every Member ISBN 07879-3867-x

Money (Isn’t) Is Everything: What Jesus Said about the Spiritual Power of Money
Herb Miller
ISBN 0-88177-132-5

Should be required reading for clergy who think they shouldn’t talk about money!

More Blessed to Give: Straight Talk on Stewardship
John H. MacNaughton
ISBN  0-89869-413-2

A concise and thorough guide to all aspects of the theology and practice of stewardship.  This careful, step-by-step approach to giving and planning will help the reader consider a Bible-based theology of money, the development and presentation of the parish budget within this theological context, sacrificial giving and tithing, a detailed structure for the every member canvass, and a program of year-round stewardship.  Also included are stewardship success stories, sermon examples, and sample mailing pieces for use in the every member canvass.

Ask, Thank, Tell
Charles R. Lane
ISBN 0-8066-5263-2

A great little book, easy to read and full of good stuff.  Particularly helpful was the list of methodologies for the annual stewardship ask…ranked in order of their effectiveness.  And the section of building a culture of thanksgiving in your church is vital.  There’s much to say on the importance of thanking donors, volunteers, and God…who has given the church those volunteers and donors.

Beyond Fundraising: New Strategies for Nonprofit Innovation and Investment
Kay Sprinkel Grace
ISBN 0-471-70713-9

This book examines the common concerns of many nonprofits and offers proven steps to attract and retain donor not just to the organization, but to its mission.  The author’s philosophy is well-stated: “Donors do not give to organizations because organizations have needs; they give because organizations meet needs”.  Churches will need to adapt to their own settings, but there’s much to be gleaned here.

Growing Givers’ Hearts: Treating Fundraising as Ministry
Thomas H. Jeavons and Rebekah Burch Basinger
ISBN 0-7879-4829-2

This wonderful refreshing book empowers readers to work in spiritually grounded, deeply creative, and professionally satisfying ways.

Practical plans for parish stewardship leaders

The S Word
Archbishop Douglas Hambidge

This is a great read…the first half gives enthusiastic theological pointers about what stewardship really is, all of which would be great fodder for sermons and announcements and brochures (if attributed, of course).  And then, Hambidge moves to a year-round process for parishes to help base their stewardship response on a vision carved by the parish for the future they believe God is calling them into.  It’s practical, persuasive and fun reading…and it gives ideas galore.  And what’s more, he’s giving us a Canadian perspective!  Highly recommended.

A plan for stewardship education and development through the year
David W. Gordon
ISBN 0-8192-1803-0

An excellent thorough step-by-step guide highly suitable for well-organized visionary parishes.

Maximize: How to Develop Extravagant Givers In Your Church
Nelson Searcy, with Jennifer Dykes Henson
ISBN: 978-0-8010-7218-5

Mark Munn, director of development at Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver, writes: “I am always on the lookout for a simple step-by-step guide for the total novice to fundraising. I have found this book to be a very helpful resource for those just starting a stewardship program in a church and for those that have been in the field for a while looking to revamp their program. It offers a step-by-step plan for systemizing and growing financial offerings, while growing strong disciples at the same time. The book covers how to: cultivate first-time givers; challenge people to tithe; develop an ongoing stewardship system; follow up with givers the right way; develop multiple giving options; shepherd different types of givers in your church; and educate people to grow in the grace of giving. It’s very accessible, and very easy to read. And it invites lots of R&D (Ripping off & Duplicating). The one significant drawback to the book is that its authors represent a very particular, non-Anglican, non-denominational, American mega-church community—so be prepared for theology light and the liberal use of Biblical quotes out of context.”

Fearless Church Fundraising: The Practical and Spiritual Approach to Stewardship
Charles LaFond
ISBN-13 978-0-8192-2863-5

An award-winning consultant brings humour, wisdom and 25 years of experience to the hardest conversation of all—God and money. It is an ecumenical approach for church leaders, or anyone raising money in faith communities. Fearless Church Fundraising removes the terror from stewardship, urging leaders to focus on deep spiritual conversion and a clear compelling mission before they design the pledge cards.

In this rich resource—part handbook, part workbook, part spiritual guidebook—former monk and popular consultant Charles LaFond combines road-tested strategies and sample campaign documents with the sensitivity of a spiritual director. The result is an irresistible, user-friendly text that promises to transform your churches fundraising and spiritual life.

A Manual for Stewardship Development Programs in the Congregation
Edited by Thomas R. Gossen
ISBN 0-8192-1679-8

Includes a discussion of year-round stewardship programs and an outline of five popular commitment programs. Workbooks for each of the five programs are sold separately.

Leading capital campaigns

Conducting a Successful Capital Campaign: A Comprehensive Fundraising guide for Nonprofit Organizations
Kent E. Dove
ISBN 0-7879-4889-2

An authoritative systematic guide to planning and managing a successful capital campaign, easily adaptable to a church setting.

Note:  Resources for Mission has also lots of hints about capital campaigns…how to hire a consultant (and why to hire a consultant!), hints from staff members in Canada who have supported capital campaigns in their dioceses, some draft policies to start with etc.  Email Susan Graham Walker for this kind of information.

Holistic stewardship

Grateful and Generous Hearts
John Westerhoff

Westerhoff challenges Christians to move beyond the quest for material possessions by embarking on a life of simplicity that begins with an inward journey. An exploration of how to fulfil the baptismal covenant by giving generously from the heart to achieve a deeper relationship with God.

Giving Together – A Stewardship
Carol A. Wehrheim
ISBN 0-6642-2689-2

The author presents a concise, accessible resource to help families better understand the importance of stewardship in the family, in the congregation, in the community, and in the world. Wehrheim clearly illustrates a more holistic understanding of the concept to include careful consideration of the choices we make that show the role Christian discipleship plays in our lives. Includes both a participant’s section and a leader’s guide, so is good for a small group of family study.

Beyond Tithing
Stuart Murray
ISBN 1-8422-7000-1

A radical examination of the contemporary practice of tithing in which the author argues that the current legalistic approach alienates us from Jesus and is far from Christian. After an examination of tithing in the Old Testament and in Christian history, he calls for churches to explore more creative ways of developing communities of justice and generosity that really are good news to the poor.

Resources for preaching, teaching, and worship

First Fruits: A Worship Anthology on Generosity and Giving
Adrian Mann, Robin Stevens, John Wilmington
ISBN 1-85311-392-1

This rich and varied anthology focuses on a theme of perennial concern to many churches:  the challenge of giving for their work and mission. Providing many creative ideas for teaching, preaching and reflection on this theme, First Fruits encourages openness of heart and hand based on Jesus’ teachings about money and generosity. Encouraging a healthy attitude to what we give and what we keep, the book includes a free accompanying disk of the text of the worship material.

What Jesus Said About Money and Possessions
Keith Tondeur and Timothy N. Green
ISBN 1-8542-4418-3

Jesus had more to say about money and possessions than virtually anything else. Jesus’ teaching is contained in twenty-two key parables. Each is explored with care, considering what each means for our relationships, giving and sense of security.

Preaching and Stewardship: Proclaiming God’s Invitation to Grow
Craig Satterlee
ISBN 978-1-56699-417-0

Both new and veteran preachers alike find the annual stewardship sermon a challenge and are eager for encouraging, practical advice. Satterlee offers a nuts-and-bolts handbook on preaching stewardship, raising issues preachers need to consider when preparing stewardship sermons and offering advice on how to address them.

Satterlee argues that stewardship preaching must include and concrete proclamation of God’s love, will and justice, as well as an invitation to grow as stewards in response to this proclamation. He focuses each chapter on a question preachers ought to ask themselves as they prepare the stewardship sermon, beginning with “what do you mean by stewardship?” and “Why should we give to the church?” He explores what the Bible says about stewardship. He then names some of the assumptions both preachers and worshipers bring to the stewardship sermon. Satterlee illustrates the premise of each chapter with anecdotes from congregational life. Preachers will especially appreciate stewardship sermons he shares from various preachers to illustrate points in the text.

Mission action planning/strategic planning

It’s essential to have a clear vision of the priorities of the parish or diocese before asking people to step up their contributions.  A Mission Action Plan (MAP) is one way to do this, and it’s a method practiced in many areas of the U.K. church. The Mission and Public Affairs Council of the Church of England’s General Synod speaks of MAP as “drawing on management methods to give a semi-formal structure to processes of planning and imagination around the mission of the local church”.  They caution that it is a “tool to be used alongside local wisdom, not a ‘brand’ which must be adopted off the peg”.  In more detail: “Its great strength is in helping parishes and groups to understand mission in a more intentional way-as an active expression of Christian discipleship which does not ‘just happen’ but which requires careful assessment of the context, the resources, the theology and the relationships which are particular to the local setting.”  This same report recommends the following as the best book to use as an inspiration and guide.

How to Do Mission Action Planning: A Vision-Centred Approach
Mike Chew and Mark Ireland, with a forward by Archbishop David Hope

Another approach to the same kind of careful and faithful forward thinking is

Holy Conversations: Strategic Planning as a Spiritual Practice for Congregations
Gil Rendle and Alice Mann
ISBN 1-56699-286-9

This very helpful book assists leaders in utilizing the planning time for a parish as “holy conversations,” talks within the parish or diocese that can eventually build community and focus for the ministry of the following years. There are practical tools, incredibly important cautions, and a real desire to build plans that will build God’s people and God’s mission.

N.B.  There is real danger in applying a business model of planning to a church setting carte blanche. And some parishioners will want to offer to help and do just that. In churchland, there needs to be a sympathy for the engagement of the whole church community, for deep prayer, for time to reflect, and for the nudgings of the Holy Spirit. Both of these books will be helpful supplements to a leader who understands the need to plan, but doesn’t quite see why churches won’t work like businesses.

Volunteer engagement

Volunteer Leadership Series, Group Publishing, Loveland, Colorado. (available from Augsberg Fortress).

Marlene Wilson, General Editor

This is a series of six small and excellent books on these topics: Creating a Volunteer-Friendly Church Culture; How to Energize Volunteer Ministry; Volunteer Recruitment, Interviewing and Placement; Volunteer Orientation and Training; Volunteer Encouragement, Evaluation and Accountability, all by leaders in the field of volunteer administration. The writing is lively and accessible; the knowledge is based on long years of experience; and there’s a bonus…all the documents can be scanned for parish use with no concern around copyright! This is the wisest investment you can make to supplement the webinars/podcasts on Engaging Volunteers from the Anglican Church of Canada.

ParishWorks: Tips and Templates to Revitalize Your Church

Ward McCance

This is a solid Canadian how-to book of helpful administrative tools and templates for parish churches. It includes a sample job description for a Volunteer Coordinator.

An informative website that has introduced a membership fee giving you unlimited access to downloading their practical material. You can also download and pay by individual topic.

The Luther Seminary Center for Stewardship Leaders

Weekly email newsletters with very helpful information, and ideas that will point you to new resources and conferences.  Sign up and be connected to a great group of people who take stewardship very seriously.