“Stewardship has been kidnapped and is being held hostage by a sinister villain named Paying the Bills,” states Charles R. Lane in his book, Ask, Thank, Tell. But authentic stewardship is really about discipleship, biblically based, and centered on three simple verbs that can renew and clarify our local-church stewardship efforts.

This refreshing book helped me get back to the biblical Big Picture. Our stewardship ministry is meant to help people grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ through the use of the time, talents, and finances that God has entrusted to us. But Lane doesn’t leave us alone with high-sounding goals. He describes loads of creative possibilities for how we can ask people to invest in God’s work around us, thank them for their involvement in God’s Good News, and tell them how their giving helps transform lives on God’s behalf.

“When God’s people have opportunities to give, giving begets giving,” says Lane. An invitation to support specific initiatives helps us get interested in new ministries, create new connections within and beyond the congregation, and further God’s work in a variety of ways. This book goes beyond brief description of the seven types of annual response programs to ways to “make the pie larger” with special offerings, mission opportunities, planned giving, and more.

“Thanking should be part of the culture of every congregation,” notes Lane. He then names eight ways to thank people and identifies six recurring occasions for expressing our gratitude. In the midst of this year-round effort, we can tell our local, national and global mission story in eight different ways, focusing on people, not programs. “As people know that they are making a difference in other people’s lives,” says Lane, “they will be drawn closer to their brothers and sisters in Christ, and they will be motivated to grow in their generosity.”

Ask, Thank, Tell is a small book that packs a big wallop – a great resource to transform our stewardship ministries!

Your partner in ministry,
Betsy Schwarzentraub

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