Growing a Generous Church: A Year in the Life of Peach Blossom Church. By Lori Guenther Reesor
Reviewed by By Gillian Doucet Campbell
I have read many books on stewardship and church fundraising, but none with a picture of a volunteer snow blowing the church sidewalk. This image is indicative of what this excellent resource is, as practical as it is necessary for any church.
Lori Guenther Reesor, researched Christian giving for her Doctor of Ministry degree. She met with faithful givers in churches across Canada and heard why they give. Her research, along with her experience as a stewardship and fundraising consultant, gave rise to this incredible tool for church communities.
The key to this narrative on stewardship is found in the opening paragraph, “Often people just want their church to have more money, but generosity is a discipleship question, not a budget question. More money for the church is merely a nice by-product of generous discipleship.”
Like many in our diocese, the members of Peach Blossom Church are concerned about parish finances. Through monthly coffee shop meetings, some parishioners of Peach Blossom Church gather because they want to address this. Overtime, they share stories of generosity and learn that giving is a spiritual discipline like prayer. They also act on their learnings and assess their progress — and their group grows in members.
While Peach Blossom Church is fictional, you can almost hear the parishioners of your parish having the conversations these characters have around giving, gratitude, debt, church budgets, estate planning, and cherry pie. This is what makes this book on stewardship and church fundraising so engaging and inviting. While fictional, you can learn what happens when a small group of people decide to make stewardship a priority.
Each chapter centres around a month — and each month has a clear focus as well as discussion questions. The conversations and stories shared between the characters of Peach Blossom Church provides actionable ideas for a parish. These conversations are also instructive as to why a church might engage in these ideas.
Throughout the book, there are Bible teachings from both the Old and New Testament, personal stories of how people learned to give, and practical ideas your church can use.
As an accessible way to talk about money and the church, I cannot highly recommend this book enough. It will truly help to teach the economics of generosity and change lives. It will show as Guenther Reesor says, that “Fundraising is the ministry of helping believers become the joyful stewards God has created us to be. When believers talk about their giving, their generosity becomes testimony and helps nurture generosity in others.”
To order your copy today, visit www.lgreesor.com