July 2022 Resource

Creating Generous Congregations: A Step-by-Step Guide
Creating Generous Congregations: A Step-by-Step Guide


David L. Heetland


Cascade Books, Eugene, OR

Book Review By:

Melvin Amerson

Premise of the book:
Strong, effective, generous churches are led by clergy and church leaders who embrace the essentials of fundraising and acquire the requisite skills to lead and cultivate cultures of generosity in their congregations.

What this book does:
Creating Generous Congregations
is an excellent resource for clergy and laity who desire to develop and grow their financial base, while intentionally nurturing congregational generosity through a five-step process. The author shares from his vast fundraising experiences as pastor and development officer in an easy to follow, strategic manner covering key foundational areas of fundraising, from developing a theology of stewardship to fundraising strategies. Gift cultivation is also discussed. Furthermore, he provides detailed information/guidelines on annual, capital, and planned giving programs.


Preface vii
Chapter 1- A Problem Facing Churches Today
Chapter 2- A Theology of Stewardship
Chapter 3- Essential Elements of Fundraising
Chapter 4- Strategies for Fundraising
Chapter 5- Developing an Effective Annual-Giving Program
Chapter 6- Developing an Effective Capital-Giving Program
Chapter 7- Developing an Effective Planned-Giving Program
Chapter 8- A Concluding Word to Church Leaders

What are some important insights:
Excellent insights are offered throughout this resource, such as the essential elements of fundraising: honesty, compassion, care, integrity, accountability, vision, communication, optimism, enthusiasm, sensitivity, listening skills, and patience. (p.22-27) Heetland also encourages financial support using a five-step process: identification, information, interest, involvement, and invitation. (p. 28)

Possibilities as a resource for churches:
Must read resource for clergy and church leaders who want to grow and develop generous people and congregations.

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.