Books

Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate

Not Your Parents' Offering Plate: A New Vision for Financial StewardshipNot Your Parents’ Offering Plate: A New Vision for Financial Stewardship by J. Clif Christopher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think I have a love/hate relationship with this book. Christopher admits at the end that he is laying some HUGE expectations on parish ministers, a job he no longer performs himself. He’s basically saying, “Be the Steward” and let everyone else learn from your perfect example. If he approached his own pastoral ministry at the breakneck pace he suggests for others, it’s no wonder he burned out and moved into consulting on financial matters.
That’s the “hate” part.
On the other hand, I think he’s got great ideas, meaningful ideas, for churches and for pastors. I realize I’m unusual among my UCC colleagues in that I don’t mind talking about money at or in church. Honestly, we have to talk about it, don’t we? And I love many of the approaches suggested, including narrative budgets and targeting different age groups according to their styles of communication and letting the pastor in on the big secret of who gives and how much.
But in my current setting, I think I’m about as likely to get (and be able to use) that last bit of information as I am to fly to the moon. I doubt this guy has ever worked with dyed-in-the-wool Congregationalists. I am not their boss, or their CEO, even if it’s true that I would be best-suited to do mission interpretation to potential givers.
I finished the book feeling glad that I have already put it into the hands of our Stewardship committee and wondering how they will respond to it.

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2 thoughts on “Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate”

  1. I feel about as you do, with the "flying to the moon" likelihood alongside learning more about the giving of members here. Although I'm trying. I ordered several copies of the book to share with some folks (we don't have a formal stewardship committee right now) at church who might provide good feedback, and one person told me that "all that stuff would work at a large suburban church where they have doctor and lawyers, but not here." With which I disagree. But still. I think I felt about like you did about the book. Some of it was exhilarating, and some of it scared the pants off of me. I'm looking forward to hearing what others who have read it might have thought.

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  2. thanks for this. I've been thinking a lot about Stewardship, lately. I have not been too comfortable in the past talking about money, but you're right, we have to.

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