April 2022 Resource

Creating Financially Sustainable Congregations
Creating Financially Sustainable Congregations


James L. Elrod


Church Publishing, Inc., New York, NY

Book Review By:

Melvin Amerson

Premise of the book:
Churches can become vital by developing intentional financial structures driven by mission/ministry, while recognizing generational generosity motivations and preferences.

What this book does:
Creating Financially Sustainable Congregations is a unique resource for clergy and laity, which introduces accounting principles and practices, statistical data, along with strategies for encouraging sustainable funding for ministry. Also, the author addresses general differences in giving with different generational age groups. Further, budgeting, financial transparency, and missional communications are discussed. Each chapter starts with scripture and ends with questions to consider.


1- An Introduction
2- Terminologies and Typologies
3- Church Financial Statements
4- Capital, Capitalization, Capital Formation, and Endowments
5- Budgets and Budgeting
6- The Philanthropic Landscape
7- Generational Consideration
8- Managing Crisis
9- Sustainable Church

What are some important insights:
The author provides numerous insights for clergy and laity who want to maintain or develop a sustainable ministry, which embraces transparency. “A budget describes in financial terms how the church plans to realize its mission, the connection between budget, mission, and stewardship becomes apparent.” (p.57) “A church that wants to ensure it has a sustainable revenue base must take into account not only the capacity to give, but generational factors that influence a donor’s inclination to give.” (p. 77)

Possibilities as a resource for churches:
This is a sound resource for clergy and Finance Committees who want lead and develop sustainable funding for ministry during changing times.

Melvin Amerson

The Rev. Melvin Amerson is a member of the Texas Annual Conference and serves as a Resource Specialist and Area Representative at TMF. His experience and passion lie in encouraging and developing generous, faithful leaders and congregations.

Amerson is the author of Celebrating the Offering, Fruit for Celebrating the Offering, and Stewardship in African American Churches: A New Paradigm, as well as several articles covering topics from generosity, leadership, and visioning. He served as a board member of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center until it was dissolved in 2021 and is currently serving on the Texas Annual Conference Church Leadership Team. He is a nationally recognized generosity consultant known for his engaging presentations. Beyond strengthening congregational leaders, one of his favorite ways to use his skills is to empower Wesley Foundation staff to effectively fund their college ministries.

Melvin obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi, an M.Div degree concentrating in Christian education from Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia, an Executive Leadership certificate from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and a certificate in Professional Fundraising from Boston University. Recently, he completed a fundraising certificate with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.