Even as I typed the headline, I thought I might lose a few readers. Let’s face it, money is a difficult thing to discuss, and whether you’re talking money matters with family, staff, or parishioners, it usually doesn’t come with ease. The Bible contains more than 2,000 verses that mention finances, and more than a quarter of Jesus’ parables deal with money, so it’s clearly an important topic. Talking about money at the parish is not easy!
Nevertheless, it’s still difficult for many of us to talk about money. As it relates to the Church, it’s sometimes even harder to discuss giving. Because money is such a personal topic, many churches tend to shy away from discussing it at all, when we should be celebrating and promoting the ways investing in our parish can help grow the Kingdom.
Since the Bible has already equipped us with thousands of verses about money, I’m not here to assemble a list for you. Instead, I’d like to suggest a pair of books you can read, books that have helped me as I’ve asked people to consider giving to the church. Both books can be easily read in a day and are full of practical advice for you to try during your next stewardship weekend or capital campaign.
If you’ve never read the book Asking: A 59-Minute Guide to Everything Board Members, Volunteers, and Staff Must Know to Secure the Gift by Jerold Panas I strongly encourage you to do so. With topics like “Taking the Fear Out of Asking,” “Why Donors Really Give,” and “The Most Powerful Motivators,” it’s been a go-to for volunteers and staff members for years.
Another quick and practical read on the topic is The Giver and the Gift; Principles of Kingdom Fundraising by Peter Greer and David Weekley. Greer and Weekley divide the book into giving from two perspectives – the person asking and the person giving. From the “asker’s” point of view, chapters such as “Christ-Centered, Not Me-Centered” and “Grateful, Not Entitled” help set the tone for a well-intended request. When the book focuses on the giver, you’ll read chapters like “Mission Minded, Not Manipulative” and “Transformational Giving, Not Just Informed Philanthropy.” Talking about money at the parish is not easy – but it can be done!
(And since we’re talking about money already – we linked to Amazon above simply as a reference. You can find these books at a used bookstore or different online sites for bargain prices.)