Books

I have found the following books to be very helpful in the areas of stewardship, parish operations and development or living your calling. You can click on the title of the book to go to a link and learn more about each book and author. (Right click to open the link in a new tab or page or left click to leave this website and go to the website for that book.) If you would like to suggest any books you have found to be helpful, please email me at either Bill@stewardshipcalling.com or sotpaetj@gmail.com.

And please stay tuned for the book I am writing based on my Igniting The Flame Of True Christian Stewardship program featured in the TRAINING tab on this website that explains what true stewardship is, 3 critical stewardship principles, 2 dynamic stewardship tactics, a 9-step process to reorganize a church stewardship program and fully engage its parishioners, 3 effective communications strategies and a new parish operational paradigm to maximize the effectiveness and reach of your church or faith-based community.

STEWARDSHIP

1.  The First and Finest – Orthodox Christian Stewardship as Sacred Offering               By: V.Rev. Robert Holet, DMin

The First and Finest: Orthodox Christian Stewardship as Sacred Offering explores the rich biblical and historical themes of Christian stewardship from an Eastern Orthodox perspective, drawing insights from themes in the Old and New Testaments and ancient Christianity. The study of stewardship in Church history reveals how contemporary concepts of the ‘religious economy’ impact how and why Christians exercise stewardship today. The premise for this study – that Orthodox stewardship is centered in the priestly offering of Christ and His followers who comprise His Church – helps Christians today to differentiate the holy way of Christian offering from false or misguided concepts of stewardship and offers suggestions for ways in which church communities can rediscover the richness of these insights from the ancient, Orthodox tradition. This study is intended to challenge every reader to consider whether he or she offers his or her first and finest to the Lord, and encourages parishes to exercise stewardship as an act of divine worship in the service of God and the poor.

2.  The Passionate Steward: Recovering Christian Stewardship from Secular Fundraising   By: Michael O’Hurley-Pitts

The Passionate Steward parses the practice of fundraising as it is frequently experienced in Churches, and finds it wanting. The author re-establishes a firm biblical and historical basis for a more theologically grounded approach, and argues convincingly for a recovery of the fullness of “passionate stewardship”. The book is thoroughly researched, and moves easily and cogently between statistical analysis, theological assessment, practice, and anecdotal integration.  The Passionate Steward treats the uniqueness and similarities within the range of mainline Churches, but it also provides a much needed indication of how those issues are played out in both the United States and Canada.

3.  Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate: A New Vision for Financial Stewardship  By: J. Clif Christopher

Hearing a young attorney speak of the faith-based reasons for which he had just made a substantial monetary gift to a community youth center, Clif Christopher asked the speaker if he would consider making a similar contribution to the congregation of which he was an active member. “Lord no,  they wouldn’t know what to do with it” was the answer. That, in a nutshell, describes the problem churches are facing in their stewardship efforts, says Christopher. Unlike leading nonprofit agencies and institutions, we too often fail to convince potential givers that their gifts will have impact and significance. In this book, Christopher lays out the main reasons for this failure to capture the imagination of  potential givers, including our frequent failure simply to ask. Written with the needs of pastors and stewardship teams in mind, Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate provides immediate,  practical guidance to all who seek to help God’s people be better stewards of their resources.

4.   Good and Faithful Servant – Stewardship in the Orthodox Church       By: Anthony Scott

This pioneering volume endeavors to develop an Orthodox Christian model of stewardship by drawing on scriptural, patristic, historical, dogmatic, and liturgical foundations. Renowned contributing authors explore the links between wealth and poverty–from methods of handling money in the pre-Nicene Church to twentieth-century American patters of fundraising. Although it addresses moral and social themes related to money management, almsgiving, and acts of mercy, this volume also reminds us to measure stewardship in terms of self-giving, not merely contributions of wealth but also offering our very lives to Christ our Lord. Philanthropia, ultimately, is proven by cheerful giving, in a spirit of love, the source of which is in knowing the Almighty God.

PARISH OPERATIONS AND DEVELOPMENT

1.  Rebuilt: Awakening the Faithful, Reaching the Lost, and Making Church Matter           By Fr. Michael White and Tom Corcoran

Drawing on the wisdom gleaned from thriving mega-churches and innovative business leaders while anchoring their vision in the Eucharistic center of Catholic faith, Fr. Michael White and lay associate Tom Corcoran present the compelling and inspiring story to how they brought their parish back to life.  Rebuilt: Awakening the Faithful, Reaching the Lost, and Making Church Matter is a story of stopping everything and changing focus.

2.  Oriented Leadership: Why Every Christian Needs It    By: Benjamin D. Williams and Michael T. McKibben

This book provides an overview of leadership and leadership development from an Eastern Christian perspective, discussing the subject at both theological levels and informing it with practical examples and problems found in typical parish and organizational life. Oriented Leadership paints a clear picture of what Christian leadership should and shouldn’t be. The authors demonstrate that leadership is a sacramental aspect of life a vital part of what it means to be created in the image and likeness of God. This very practical book should be read by every Christian, no matter what his or her leadership capacity. The authors link traditional teaching with contemporary practice. Oriented Leadership fills a critical need for sound and workable methods of inter-relationship and inter-action within Church communities and beyond.

3Start With WHY? – How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action   By: Simon Sinek

“It doesn’t matter what you do, it matters Why you do it.” With a little discipline, anyone can learn to inspire. Start With Why offers an unconventional perspective that explains Why some people and organizations are more innovative, more profitable, command greater loyalties from customers and employees alike and, most importantly, are able to repeat their success over and over

4.   Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community            By: Robert D. Putnam

In a groundbreaking book based on vast data, Putnam shows how we have become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, neighbors, and our democratic structures– and how we may reconnect.  Putnam warns that our stock of social capital – the very fabric of our connections with each other, has plummeted, impoverishing our lives and communities.

Putnam draws on evidence including nearly 500,000 interviews over the last quarter century to show that we sign fewer petitions, belong to fewer organizations that meet, know our neighbors less, meet with friends less frequently, and even socialize with our families less often. We’re even bowling alone. More Americans are bowling than ever before, but they are not bowling in leagues. Putnam shows how changes in work, family structure, age, suburban life, television, computers, women’s roles and other factors have contributed to this decline.

5. Better Together: Restoring the American Community      By Robert D. Putnam and Lewis  M. Feldstein  with Don Cohen

In his national best-seller Bowling  Alone, Robert Putnam decried the collapse of America’s social institutions. But while traveling to promote the book, one question came up at every appearance: what can we do to end the atrophy of America’s civic vitality. What can bring us together again?                  

Seeking an answer to this question, Putnam, a professor of public  policy at Harvard, with the assistance of coauthor Lewis  Feldstein,  who has a long and distinguished career in civic activism, visited places across the country where individuals and groups are engaged  in unusual forms of social activism and civic renewal. These are people who are renewing their communities and investing in new forms of “social capital.” Better Together describes a dozen innovative organizations from east to west and north to south that are re-weaving the social fabric of our country, and brings the hopeful news that our civic institutions are taking new forms to adapt to new times and new needs.

LIVING YOUR CALLING

1.   Halftime – Moving from Success to Significance      and    Stuck in Halftime – Reinvesting Your One and Only Life                By: Bob Buford

Halftime – Moving from Success to Significance. Time to pause, midway in the game of your life, and consider how to make the transition from professional success to significance. Revised and expanded for a new generation of leaders, Bob Buford’s bestseller shows how you can make the second half of your life even more rewarding than the first.

Stuck in Halftime – Reinvesting Your One and Only Life. If you have read Halftime and Game Plan, and have gone through the exercises suggested in My Halftime Guide, but are still having trouble making the transition, then Stuck in Halftime could be for you.  With  his usual candor and charisma, Bob explains why so many people don’t  make it to a second half of significance. The book offers practical  suggestions, tools and exercises to re-gain momentum on your halftime  journey.