July 2021 Resource
Generosity, Stewardship, and Abundance: A Transformational Guide to Church Finance
Lovett H. Weems, Jr. and Ann A. Michel
Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, Maryland
Book Review By:
Premise of the book:
Clergy and Lay Leadership can lead and guide congregational generosity and financial sustainability by embracing a spirit of abundance, integrating fruitful year-round stewardship practices, and being open to creative use of facilities.
What this book does:
Weems and Ann Michel have created an excellent resource for clergy and finance teams to develop and model congregational generosity. These clergy/authors share from vast years of experience, research, and practice. They begin with establishing a theological framework on faith and money, which embraces a theology of God’s abundance and generosity as opposed to a scarcity mindset, which many congregations commonly accept. Further, the book serves as a guide on practically every area of church stewardship and finance, along with new practices. Also included: ways to generate facility user fees and community partnerships. Moreover, the authors masterfully integrate the spirituality of giving with mission, leadership, practical stewardship, finance, and administration.
The Spirituality of Money
Part I: Generosity
Part II: Stewardship
Part III: Abundance
Appendix A: The Three Funds
Appendix B: Sample Capital Budget Worksheet
What are some important insights:
This resource offers insights throughout from developing a culture of generosity to forming and building endowments. Principles 1 and 2 - “Never talk about Peoples’ money apart from their Discipleship” and “Never talk about the Churches Money Apart from its Mission.” (p. 12) “One of a spiritual leader’s most important roles is helping others see money and giving through the lens of faith.” (p.14) This is a unique and awesome way of viewing generosity, “we think of the church as the recipient of Christian generosity and not itself an agent of God’s generosity.” (p.22)
Possibilities as a resource for churches:
This is an outstanding resource for clergy and laity who want to lead and develop cultures of generosity while embracing a mindset of God’s abundance. A must-read!!!
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.