Stewardship 2018 – Book Review: Best Practices in Parish Stewardship

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As I mentioned last month your Stewardship Committee has worked with Church Development out of Kansas City for Webinars, Resources and books related to Stewardship. Three books that I have read in the last month and that were recommended by Church Development, are listed below and are all available on  Last month I reviewed the book Rebuilt, and this month I will talk about the book, Best Practices in Parish Stewardship.

  • The Spirituality of Fund-Raising – Henri J.M. Nouwen – 2004
  • Rebuilt – Michael White and Timothy M. Dolan – 2013
  • Best Practices in Parish Stewardship – Charles E. Zech – 2008

Although this book is written about the Catholic Church, there is a lot in the book to help us all with our understanding of Stewardship.  Quite simply this book is based on the concept that Stewardships is everything we do in the Church, including our time, talent and treasure.  I will try to describe the book by sharing what he says about Stewardship and then the eight things that he shares that churches can do to advance Stewardship.

Some thoughts to describe Stewardship:

  1.  “All we have is really a gift from God, Who asks us to return a portion in the form of time, talent, and treasure to support His work on earth.”
  2. “Stewardship involves developing a need to give, rather than merely giving to a need.”
  3. “Stewardship is an understanding of a total way of life; a conversion of mind and heart.”
  4. “Stewardship is not about something we do, it is about who we are, and Whose we are.”
  5. “Stewardship is about asking ourselves, ‘What do we own, and what owns us.’”
  6. “Stewardship is an act of worship, not an act of obligation.”

Eight things that parishes can do to Advance Stewardship:

  1. Be a welcoming parish that takes community building seriously.
  2. Appoint a Stewardship Council.
  3. Include stewardship as a vital component of the Parish Plan.
  4. Emphasize Stewardship in all parish formation and education programs.
  5. Provide the opportunity for lay witness presentations.
  6. Encourage parishioners to make a commitment to the parish by pledging.
  7. Communicate with parishioners on stewardship.
  8. Remember that good stewardship starts in the parish house.

Although these comments talk only about a portion of the overall book they do share many of the key points in the book.