Chris Willard of Leadership Network in Dallas and Jim Sheppard of Atlanta's Generis have penned a book to help church leaders foster a culture of giving among today's congregations. The pair reports that traditional church leader training and seminaries have done little to prepare pastors to address the heart of financial generosity in the church.
Publisher Zondervan recently asked the two some questions about the premise behind their book and its intended audience. Excerpts of that interview follow:
Your book states that church financing used to revolve around principles of institutional loyalty and obedience to the biblical command to give, and that most church leaders know that "old model" simply is not working anymore. What makes the "old model" ineffective in financing Christian ministries today?
Willard: Givers today, perhaps more than ever before, expect to see a meaningful return on their investment. They are no longer satisfied to give to their church just because they should. They expect that their investment will have real Kingdom impact. The church needs to find ways to tell stories and show results that illustrate that impact.
Sheppard: The generation of current seniors has a loyalty to the institution of the church that is not as prevalent in the generations that follow. As a result, the church has to adapt its methods and messages to be relevant to each age and stage.
You have jointly run a number of well-attended workshops and seminars at various ministry conferences. What church officers tend to be looking for the kind of information and insight you provide?
Sheppard: At the events I generally attend, I see mostly executive pastors and senior pastors. Also, [we help] staff and lay people who specialize in stewardship and generosity at their church.
Willard: We also often see church planters and core members of the planting team looking for insight as to how to launch a church with generosity in mind.
"Contagious Generosity: Creating a Culture of Giving in Your Church" is currently available with a list price of $16.99.
Format: Softcover; Ebook; Kindle ISBN-13: 9780310893134; (Ebook) 9780310893141 Kindle Edition ASIN: B006IC1CDI