Issue No. 287 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting features two slim booklets (length category: “my-board-will-read-this”) on stewardship and fundraising. No-brainer purchases for your team. Plus, this reminder: check out my Management Buckets website with dozens of resources and downloadable worksheets for your staff meetings.
Page 25 Take-aways
In my review a year ago of Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability, I mentioned that the three co-authors delivered the perfect PowerPoint slide on page 25 of the book—and then built their case across all 173 pages. I added that the book was “part Nonprofit 101 and part Harvard Business School.”
Déjà vu! In this issue, I’m pointing you to page 25 again—the excellent summary of John Frank’s simple, but powerful book, Stewardship as a Lifestyle: Seeking to Live as a Steward and Disciple.
Frank’s chart, “God’s Eternal Economic Equation,” highlights a systematic series of bold choices/factors that a serious disciple must embrace if he or she is serious about living a God-honoring steward’s lifestyle.
Frank, a stewardship and development consultant (he wrote the chapter, “The Christian Consultant as a Facilitator of Heart Transformation,” in Revolution in Generosity), has gifted the fundraising/stewardship world with a very practical and read-in-one-sitting 55-page booklet. (I put these slim page-count gems into the “my-board-will-read-this-book” category.)
Few authors inspire holy groans in a book’s first paragraph, but John Frank is fearless when speaking holy truth. He writes:
“When I set out to write this book I was completing my doctoral work with a dissertation focused on stewardship education. After finishing, I was faced with the reality that not one of the theological schools or seminaries I sent my dissertation to had interest in the topic, the course, or a suggested curriculum for an MA in Stewardship and Development.”
Yikes! So…seminarians, learn your Greek and Hebrew, but when it comes to helping your people learn to live as stewards and disciples, you’re on your own.
“I believe the stewardship filter is clogged in the church, in the pastor, and in the follower of Jesus,” Frank admits. “Pastors receive little training on the subject in seminaries and theological schools. The result is that a secular fundraising profession now leads the way.”
Citing Gene Getz, Frank adds, “Because pastors have little to no formal training in this area, they resort to their own personal strategies or the latest technique. They tend to be uncomfortable with the subject, yet they know that it bears spiritual impact upon every one of their congregations.”
The solution? Frank believes that “God’s Eternal Economic Equation” (the page 25 take-away) involves 12 connecting statements, starting with “God is the Source and Owner of all.” It includes
“Our calling in stewardship is comprehensive
—time, talent, treasure, touch,”
and “We can enjoy God’s gifts to us.” The twelfth statement: “One day God will reward us according to our wise stewardship.”
That 12-segment equation will preach! Use it for personal study, small group study, Sunday sermon or stewardship series—or as sidebars in your eNewsletter.
The booklet is short, but the insights are deep. For example, Frank warns that the biblical time, talent and treasure list “is not a menu from which we choose. In other words, if you give time, it does not mean you now avoid giving treasure. This has been misused in many giving policies developed by churches and parachurch organizations.”
He adds, “Some may believe that if you give time as a volunteer then you do not need to be a financial donor to the organization. While all gifts of time, leadership and volunteering are appreciated, there is no measurement system in scripture to allow a gift of one type to cancel the need to grow in one’s holistic stewardship.”
Now there’s a PowerPoint slide for pastors and ministry leaders! In addition to page 25, there are 87 stewardship resources (not a typo—87!) listed in the bibliography on pages 45 to 53.
This is the perfect booklet to give to donors, board members, staff members and key volunteers at your church and your favorite nonprofit ministry.
To order from Amazon, click on the title for Stewardship as a Lifestyle: Seeking to Live as a Steward and Disciple, by John R. Frank, CFRE.
Note: While you’re on Amazon, order the classic booklet, A Spirituality of Fundraising, by Henri J. M. Nouwen and John S Mogabgab, Editor. It’s just 64 pages and is an excellent companion piece as you read John Frank’s booklet.
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions:
1) Have you ever tried the page 25 take-away approach to books? I tried it on five of my favorite books today and—BINGO!—I found gems (even several big idea summaries on page 25 of each book). Maybe by page 25, authors have finally heated the oven sufficiently and are ready to serve up the meal?
2) Henri Nouwen gave a talk on the spirituality of fundraising that became a published booklet after his death (see above). He writes, “Fundraising is as spiritual as giving a sermon, entering a time of prayer, visiting the sick, or feeding the hungry.” Then he adds, “Fundraising is always a call to conversion.” In your opinion, why is fundraising often viewed as not very spiritual?
7 Reasons Strategic Plans Fail - Insights from Mastering the Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Nonprofit
One of the big ideas from Mastering the Management Buckets (Chapter 3, The Strategy Bucket) is to understand the seven reasons why strategic plans fail. Here’s an eighth bonus reason: Verbal Fuzz!
“Strategic planning festers in a ‘verbal draft’ purgatory, versus becoming a disciplined process that is both written and implemented.”
Why written? Fred Smith notes in his pithy book, Breakfast With Fred, “I learned to write to burn the fuzz off my thinking."
For the other seven reasons why strategic plans fail, visit the Strategy Bucket webpage—and check out the additional downloadable resources, plus six books to guide you in your strategic planning process.