Issue No. 248 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting highlights a hot-off-the-press quick-read, but profound, book on generosity from prolific writer/thinker R. Scott Rodin. In it, he suggests this no-gimmicks mission statement for your church’s stewardship committee: “Pray. Challenge. Model.” Plus, this reminder: check out my Management Buckets website with dozens of resources and downloadable worksheets for your staff meetings.
R. Scott Rodin asks a probing question in his latest book, “If all I had in life was God and a dime, would that be enough?”
In just over 100 pages, this remarkable quick-read novelette highlights three challenging generosity scenarios confronting Carl Burns, the director of stewardship for a fictional Seattle-based nonprofit ministry.
Similar in style, length, humor and importance to his 2011 novelette, The Third Conversion, this memorable short story packs yet another punch. Pastors, stewardship committee members, ministry leaders, board members and all Christ followers should be warned: your logical (but not biblical) assumptions about God-honoring giving and generosity are about to crumble.
I won’t divulge the storyline in this short review (no spoiler alert here), but I will guarantee you this: it’s a generosity page-turner—and that’s not an oxymoron.
I’ve been off the grid for several weeks while traveling in Asia (hence the lapse between issues), but I’m now back in the saddle and enjoying jet lag. So in a sleepless stupor at 2:00 a.m. this morning, I picked up The Million-Dollar Dime and browsed Chapter 1—in search of sleep. Rats! I got hooked!
This is a page-turner—even at two in the morning.
--I was captivated by the story—built on the memorable simplicity of a dime. (I predict you’ll repeat this stunning story dozens of times.)
--I was convicted by the insights. “The journey from owner to steward is the transformational journey from bondage to freedom, anxiety to peace, grasping to letting go.”
--I was shocked by the honesty—especially the transparent confessions that maybe, just maybe, our evangelical mantra of sacrificial giving (“give until it hurts”) is, in fact, not biblical. Yikes.
--I was inspired by the biblical principles. “We should be outrageously generous givers because we were created in the image of an outrageously giving God.” And “No matter how much we think we have or don’t have, we have enough.”
Two hours later (now 4:00 a.m.) my re-energized body and mind arrived simultaneously at page 106—the last page. Some books lull you to sleep. Not this one. Rodin’s book—and his stunning treatment on the joy of generosity—got my juices going.
His two-page back-of-the-book summary lists two foundational truths (“handrails on a narrow path”): “God owns it all and God will always provide.”
Warning! You’ll need multiple copies of this book. It’s a perfect gift book for your pastor, your donors, board members, staff members and key volunteers.
To order this book from Amazon, click on the graphic below for The Million-Dollar Dime, by R. Scott Rodin. (Note: Bulk pricing is available directly from Kingdom Life Publishing.)
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions:
1) When coaching a pastor to review the giving records of his church members, Carl Burns, the fictional director of stewardship in this book, says, “I believe that there may be no greater single indicator of the strength of our spiritual walk than how we give.” Why do you think Christians have freely shared and confessed many sins to their pastors—but often resisted making their giving (or lack of giving) histories available to their spiritual mentors and leaders?
2) In the book, Cassie, a former drug dealer—now a women’s shelter director—shares her personal journey into the joy of generosity and why she always carries a dime in her pocket. Her belief: “He wants all of us.” Reflecting on that, Carl adds, “That word ‘all’ had to be the most challenging word in the Christian vocabulary.” Do you agree—and how might that impact your generosity journey?
Your Donor Letter Doesn’t Connect With 75% of Your Donors! - Insights from Mastering the Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Nonprofit
One of the big ideas in Chapter 7 in my book, Mastering the Management Buckets, is to become a student of the “social style” of your colleagues, your boss, your board members and—here’s an idea—your donors.
One big mistake: communicating your giving opportunities to others by focusing on just one social style—your own. (Example: If your donor letter is written by an analytical, that approach won’t bless 75 percent of your recipients.) Here’s why:
--Analyticals will want the historical context and the facts and will react slowly and cautiously to your ideas.
--Drivers want you to get to the bottom line quickly and can make swift decisions.
--Amiables enjoy close relationships and love stories. They, like analyticals, will avoid risky ventures, but opinions are more important than facts.
--Expressives will take risks, based on hunches and intuition, have low interest in routine issues, and often can be exciting cheerleaders for your cause. (Don’t ask analyticals to be cheerleaders for anything—they still have 50 questions that need to be answered.)
For more help and two downloadable charts, “General Overview of the Four Social Styles,” and Do’s and Don’ts for the Four Styles,” visit The People Bucket webpage.
P.S. Check out my latest ECFA blog posting on “Policy: The Board’s Chief Occupation.”