Book Review: Not Your Parents Offering Plate

I picked this book up several months ago and I am just now getting around to reading it. My senior pastor just recently read the book and I know of at least one other person in our church who is reading it now.

First of all, I personally believe that the Bible teaches we are to be a tithing people, that we are to be good stewards, not just of money but of everything that God has blessed us with. The Bible has much to say about money and the use of it.

I have taken some good from this book but I do not like the book in general and wouldn’t recommend it. There is a lot of talk about the church being in competition with other non-profit organizations and I do not believe we are in a competition. People give to non profits who are producing what they set out to produce. If a church is faithful in making disciples people will support the work.

The second thing that I do not like about the book and I believe it is contrary to scripture is where the author feels that the large donors in our churches should have more attention than the small donors. I don’t care how you slice it, Jesus shared a parable where a woman put in a mite, a very small amount, the smallest of the small, but it was everything. The tithe that God gave us makes the field level for everyone. If a person makes $10 the tithe is 10 percent and if a person makes $10,000 the tithe is still 10 percent. The author spends a good deal of time explaining why he believes it is even biblical to spend more time appreciating those who give the most but I totally disagree with his conclusion.

Here are a few quotes from the book.

“People have the money and they continue to give. Religion is just no longer their charity of choice.”

3 Reasons that People Give to Organizations (I totally agree with this by the way)

1. Believe in the mission of the institution

2. a high regard for staff leadership

3. fiscal responsibility of the institution

“People want to be a part of something that changes lives.”

“Nonprofits and churches only have one thing to sell — changed lives. When they do it well, they are supported, but when they do not do it well, they go out of business.”

“The person leading the flock makes a lot of difference in whether today’s donor contributes as completely as they can. When they see a pastor who has a great vision and shows excellent skills in leadership, they will invest in that pastor’s vision and trust in his or her skills to make the hopes of the donor come true.”

In chapter three of the book titled “All Members Are Not Equal” the author says the following. “One of the most ridiculous oft-heard expressions in a church is that all members should be treated equally. Yet, I have never seen a church truly treat all its members equally except when it comes to fund-raising.”

“The argument that I hope you hear being made is that the rich need the attention of their pastor to know how to handle a burden of money.”

There are some good thought provoking parts in the book and I have gained some great insights into things that I need to be doing where I serve but over all this is not the book I would choose to use in teaching and leading my church in the biblical discipline of giving.


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