Books by Horizons Stewardship Authors

At Horizons Stewardship, we pride ourselves for having some of today’s best-selling generosity authors within our family.
Explore the latest on giving in the church below.

The E-Giving Guide For Every Church

Using Digital Tools To Grow Ministry

The purpose of this book is to help churches raise more money for ministry and mission by better using electronic media.

Although philanthropy in the US is growing, churches continue to receive a declining portion of that philanthropy. Part of the challenge is that America is becoming significantly less dependent on paper currency (cash and checks) yet the church continues to count on paper currency as their primary media for donations. There have been warning signals for several years. Many churches face shrinking budgets and membership and are beginning to ask the right questions. The author’s goal is to capture this teachable moment with a resource that will encourage pastors and church leaders to utilize tools already available to change the trajectory of their resourcing; because nothing is more important than what God has called them to do.

The banking and electronic giving industries have not made it easy for churches to understand their services or fees. This book will take the confusion and fear away and open churches to new possibilities.

Generosity Rising

Lead a Stewardship Revolution in Your Church

Generosity Rising calls for nothing short of a revolution in the arena of stewardship and finances. There comes a time when the system no longer seems to work; when new programs and one more workshop are no longer effective. There comes a time when revolution is the only viable option; a revolution that overthrows the old system and ushers in a new order. For the church, NOW is such a time! Yes, you heard me right; the church today desperately needs a revolution in stewardship and generosity. The church today needs pastors and stewardship chairs willing to step forward and lead a revolution in generosity and giving.

Pastor and lay people attend all the workshops and read all the books but nothing ever seems to change. People are frustrated and angry. People see how in most churches a small percentage give the majority of dollars and how the vast majority of givers and not much more than token contributors. The majority of people in our churches spend more on dog food every month than they give to support to their church. We need a revolution, a revolution led by leaders who ready to step up and be counted, leaders not content to with the abysmal giving histories in most of our churches. This book is about nothing less than starting a movement, a revolution of generosity within our churches. This book is a handbook on how to lead a revolution in generosity. I invite you on a journey to go from being a lone nut to a revolutionary leader in generosity.

Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate (Revised Edition)

A New Vision for Financial Stewardship

People don’t give to church because we don’t offer them a compelling vision of the good their giving will achieve. 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 would not 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.

Bounty

10 Ways to Increase Giving at Your Church

Bounty envisions stewardship to be grounded in gratitude, revealed in prayer, lived in faith. Bounty offers the only approach to stewardship development that truly works long term— a spiritual one. At the forefront, it entails seeking God’s guidance for the use of the blessings we have been given, bringing us closer to God. This God- given inspiration moves us from searching for the right annual campaign program, or the perfect sermon, to an entirely new way of thinking about who we are and what we are called to do. By incorporating the practices of Bounty , you will lead your church family to experience the genuine joy of generosity.

The ten best practices described in Bounty will guide you in your stewardship role. These practices will challenge you to replace ineffective number crunching with prayerful discernment. Both clergy and laity will benefit from Bounty’s explanation of how old habits can inadvertently sabotage efforts to raise money for ministry. The examples we include here are drawn from our experiences; the practical tools we provide will help to lighten your load.

Ministry of Giving

A New Vision for Financial Stewardsip

Outside of financial crises or large capital campaigns, “major donors” or “high-capacity givers” may be the most ignored group in churches when it comes to spiritual development. The Ministry of Giving is a great reminder that our financial leaders have much more to give than just financial resources, and building a bridge to them will benefit us in ways we have yet to understand or imagine. Launching a giving ministry isn’t about money. It’s about raising up people to fulfill the mission and vision God has placed on our hearts.

Crafting a Theology of Stewardship

(and Why Your Church Needs One)

Crafting A Theology of Stewardship is a call to the local church to re-visit and re-think their beliefs and practices in the area of stewardship, generosity, money, and giving and then to re-calibrate and re-cast those beliefs based on the teaching of scripture.

In this eBook, Joel Mikell lays out seven perspectives that should be at the heart of a theology of stewardship and presents five significant value propositions that will result. Joel also suggests a step-by-step strategy for creating a written document that articulates a theology of stewardship for the church and provides several examples to guide the process. The last section lists twenty helpful resources in the areas of stewardship, giving, and generosity.

Rich Church, Poor Church

Keys to Effective Financial Ministry

In Dr. Clif Christopher’s nearly forty years in ministry as a pastor and President of Horizons Stewardship Company, he has witnessed the financial stewardship practices of thousands of churches. A few have exceptional records in acquiring and managing the necessary funds for mission and ministry, but the vast majority struggle every year to get by.

In this important new work made even more relevant by our economic times, Christopher contrasts the traits of the most productive congregations with those who perennially fail to secure the funds to perform transformational ministry. Some churches practice the necessary financial habits that form the foundation of successful ministry, and others waste valuable resources and undermine ministry opportunities. Through Christopher’s insight born out of years of experience and consultation, readers can assess the financial condition of their own churches.

Church Giving Matters

More Money Really Does Mean More Ministry (2nd ed.)

There is a wide gap between how pastors are trained and what churches expect of them. Pastors are trained to preach, while congregations expect them to manage a complex, nonprofit organization, measuring their success by the people in the pews and the dollars in the plate. On top of that, the ever-increasing complexity of local church ministry is demanding more money while the rules of funding ministry are changing, leaving many pastors feeling uncomfortable, unprepared, and overwhelmed.

With practical tools and effective leadership principles that can be immediately implemented, Ben and Joel assist church leaders in changing the conversation from “What do we have to cut to survive?” to “What does God want us to do next?”

If you desire to gain a better understanding of how to lead your church through tough and prosperous economic times, and if you believe God will provide all you need to accomplish the ministry he has placed on your heart, this book will be invaluable resource to help you fund your God-inspired vision.

CLIMB Higher

Reaching New Heights in Giving and Discipleship

C.L.I.M.B. draws on an analogy comparing stewardship development and summiting Mount Everest. Both may seem to be long, challenging, and depleting endeavors, but for those who are successful, achieving the summit can be a life-transforming experience.
For those who are willing to do the work and commit to following the 5 principles of C.L.I.M.B.

Clear and compelling vision
Leadership
Inspiration
Motivation
Boldly ask

Achieving the summit of enduring and effective stewardship will have a profound and everlasting impact on you and the ministries of your church. Ministry will be funded and lives forever changed. Just as the expedition guides dream of making Everest accessible to the masses, the components of C.L.I.M.B. are the result of a similar dream; a dream of a new reality. A reality in which Christians no longer view “stewardship” as drudgery but as an exhilarating opportunity to develop a cherished relationship with Christ. A reality where people give joyfully, substantially, and gratefully to ministries that fulfill God’s kingdom on earth. We dream of a time when Christians live fully into the image of our generous and loving God. C.L.I.M.B. rejects all the negative baggage and instead presents stewardship as a life-giving, transformative process that results in deeper faith, stronger ministries, and vibrant congregations.

Gaining Traction

Field Guide for Leadership Teams

An experienced pastor, businessman, and coach, John Laster lays out major strategies for church leaders to use in developing a team concept and cooperation to lead a church to reach its leadership potential. Bill Easum describes Gaining Traction as, “a life-tested field guide to the future of your church.” Using military metaphors with field briefings and field exercises for the reader, Laster lays the foundations that each leader must build upon. Laster shows step by step how to develop each of these foundations personally and corporately. Gaining Traction also explores leadership challenges and how to deal with them. These include overcoming fear and developing trust, building team credibility using suggested credibility tools, and amassing leadership capital. The final section deals with practical matters of team formation, resourcing, recruiting, and training including how to conduct a pastoral search with congregational input, and how to develop leadership team principles.

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RECENT Posts

An Enlightening Perspective from Your Investors

I am an Investor.

Think of me as a potential venture capitalist for your organization, or as a mission capitalist for your vision. I am not looking to make money back, but I am looking for a real return on my investment.

What direction are we going in? How will we know when we get there? The architect’s picture is nice, but I need an actionable plan, actual milestones, a map. If I am going to get onboard, then I want us to actually get somewhere. As an investor, I need to know where we are headed and how we plan to get there.

An annual report showing successes for last year and your goals for this upcoming year would help me to understand you. What did we learn from where we succeeded, and what did we learn from where we missed? What will we do differently as a result?

Do you have a multi-year plan? Do you have a plan at all? If you want me to buy into our vision, you need to involve me in vision casting. Help me understand our mission-critical long- and short-term goals. What is our end game?

If you have no tangible, measurable goals for your ministries, then how do you make decisions? How do you (or I) know what has been accomplished? Where will you invest resources? How do you know what to build on, what to re-evaluate, what to re-strategize, and what to let go of?

Do you ever tell me what you are really excited about? Do you ever ask me about my passions and what I want to invest in? Show me your heart, then we can have a deeper conversation about my heart.

I love my church and all, but you are not the only Godly gig around.

I also have a responsibility (a calling, if you will), to invest wisely and maximize the return on the investment. What is going to happen … what is going to change … what should I expect to see if I really invest in you? I need to believe you can manage this investment and follow through.

Let’s talk. I don’t mean the sermons – they are great and I believe that stuff too – but let’s really talk… about what this vision is going to take, how we can get there, and how I can make a difference. I might even have a suggestion or two.

You want me to show you the money? OK… but you are going to have to show me some things too. I won’t be all in until you invite me all the way in. Remember, I am an investor in your vision. Help me see how my investment is making a difference.

By the way, I am not the one afraid of talking about investing. I am a grown-up, and I can handle a challenge. Let’s have a real conversation sometime.

 

Horizons welcomes Mick Tune as a guest contributor. Mick is a partner with Doug Turner and Bill McMillan at Culture of Ready, a partner with Horizons in the generosity movement. Reach out to Mick at mtune@horizons.net.

 

 

 

The Importance of Believing in the Great Commission

Stories about outrageous and extravagant generosity inspire me. Just a few weeks ago, an older woman told me how excited and privileged she felt about giving a generous gift to her church’s capital campaign. Vera went on to say, “The truth is Scott, I probably won’t live to see the results. I’m not going to be around much longer.” For Vera, the importance of her gift was not in its impact during her lifetime, but rather the impact it would have on the church in the future. The gift Vera gave would empower her church to act on The Great Commission.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20.

She was giving an outrageous, extravagantly generous gift for one reason and one reason only—so her church could reach people for years to come with the good news of God’s love and grace. Imagine what our churches would look like if they were filled with people like Vera who believed so thoroughly in the mission of the church—given to us in the Great Commission.

51% of churchgoers have never heard of the Great Commission.

 

A recent poll by Barna Research asked churchgoers, “Have you heard of the Great Commission?” Here are the results:

 

It may be surprising to see that 51% answered, “No.”  It is hard to understand why the majority is unfamiliar with the core mission of the church. However, the research points to a potentially more significant and troubling question–Do churchgoers believe their church makes a lasting and eternal difference in peoples’ lives?  If we truly believe the church and its teachings make a difference, then we are inspired to share our faith and the Great Commission has meaning.

If we don’t believe the Church matters, then the

Great Commission makes no difference.

I met with a church group that was considering a building project. The church told me they were packed with no room for growth. Space was so tight, they decided they couldn’t advertise or invite people to church. The group had called me there to help them decide whether or not they should “do something” about their overcrowded space.  I asked the group, “What would you think about a person who knew the cure for cancer and decided to keep it to himself?” With great indignation, they replied, “That would be criminal!”

 

Then I asked them, “Do you or do you not have the cure for a hurting and broken world? If you do, how can you keep it to yourselves?”

 

Outrageous and extravagant generosity occurs when we truly believe we have the antidote for the diseases that afflict our world. The Great Commission matters when people believe in the importance of sharing the good news of God’s love and grace with the world.

 

So what do we do?

  • Continually and consistently tell stories of how your church’s ministries are making a difference. In every church communication, including your bulletin, newsletter, website, and Facebook page, tell stories of how people’s lives are being changed by your ministry. And if you can’t come up with life-changing stories, it’s time to take a hard look at your ministries and evaluate the quality of your response to the Great Commission.

 

  • Consider a Bible study or sermon series on the book of Acts. Explore the birth and explosive growth of the early church as they lived the Great Commission.   One small church in West Virginia experienced an amazing revival when they spent six months reading and studying the book of Acts. By the end of the study they passionately believed that although they were small, their community desperately needed what they had to offer. And guess what … giving exploded.

 

 

Would you like to experience outrageous extravagant giving in your church? Rather than talking about spreadsheets, budgets and bills, focus on how your church is responding to the Great Commission. How is your church reaching people to share the Good News? How do your ministries demonstrate your mission of sharing Christ with the world? Be willing to ask, “Do we really believe we have the answer to a world that is broken, hurting and afraid?” If the answer is yes, tell your story and get ready for outrageous, extravagant giving! If the answer is no, start looking for the for sale sign.

 

How to Conquer Your Fear of the Ask

Most people are downright terrified to ask other people for money. Asking for money seems intrusive, awkward, impolite and uncomfortable. Asking for money can be intimidating, but changing your approach can make it easier—and even fun!

 

Here are 5 tips for conquering your fear of the ask

  1. Make your donation first.

When asking a donor to support a cause, be sure you are already on the record as having given your support. After all, how can you ask someone to do something you have not already done yourself? Your enthusiasm and commitment should be demonstrated through your early gift to the cause. Your leadership will be an indication to others that the cause is important and worthy of funding. Before asking others, it is essential that your donation (or pledge) has already been made.

  1. Never apologize.

If the conversation begins with, “I’m sorry to be asking you this but…” then you shouldn’t be making the ask. Why would you insult a prospective donor by apologizing for asking? If the cause is not worthy of their donation, then you shouldn’t be requesting it. Before making an ask, consider why you have made a contribution (if you haven’t make a contribution, see #1). Why is this cause important and how will it benefit the church’s mission? Instead of apologizing, you should be conveying the transformational nature of the mission for which you are requesting funds. Begin by sharing your excitement about how this project will result in the advancement of God’s vision for your church.

  1. Don’t downplay expectations.

Asking people to give a little something will result in a little gift. Big visions require committed leadership and, often, significant resources. Donors want to know what it will take to make the project successful and what you want from them. If you sugar coat your ask in an attempt to be more polite, your donor will be confused, frustrated, and likely uninvolved. Be sure to prepare for your conversation in advance and let the donor know exactly what is planned, what is needed, and how you are asking them to respond.

  1. Engage people in prayer.

As Christ’s disciples, we believe generous giving is a crucial component of the discipleship path. As stewards of God’s gifts, we believe God is the giver of all blessings and it is up to us to determine how God would have us use them. Donors should be encouraged to pray about how to use the resources God has provided, and regardless of the size of the gift, listening for God’s leading is vital to the ask.

  1. Make it about the donor.

If you don’t read any of the other 5, please read this one carefully. Be sure you prepare well in advance and understand the donor’s wishes. What are the donor’s passions? What other causes does the donor support? How will this gift fulfill the donor’s philanthropic desires? Give careful consideration to whether the request is appropriate for the donor. Is the amount being requested within the scope of what the donor is able or willing to consider? Has the donor made similar gifts in the past to you or to another organization?

 

If you have the right attitude and are well prepared, the ask should be a time of celebration. The ask is an opportunity to connect eager donors with projects that meet their philanthropy goals. If you’ve done your job well, they will thank you for the opportunity to be a part of it.

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