This book is written to be useful so that churches will grow strong and healthy. It is also to help ministers and church leaders know practical steps to raise money for ministry and create a unified, joyful congregation in the process. For this reason I describe four foundational principles in Chapter 1. The rest of the book then expands on those principles. While it is intended to be extremely practical, good practice in ministry must also be based on a solid foundation.
Principle 1 explains the crucial role of the minister (chapter 2). Principle 2 is devoted to vision because money follows vision (chapter 3). Principle 3 lays the theological foundation for generosity and raising money. I have tried to integrate a theology of money under the practical heading of generosity (chapters 4–6). The theology is set out in this way so it can be preached and communicated easily. Principle 4 is the most practical section, explaining how to ask a congregation to support the ministry financially (chapters 7–16).
I have emphasised the role of the minister and often use the term ‘senior minister’ to mean the leader of a ministry team in a large church. This reflects my own experience. I must stress that nothing I write here is confined to large churches. The process can be fruitful in large churches, small churches, city churches, country churches, easy areas and difficult areas. This is because it is based on principles that are not confined to any particular church size or location. I include a small church case study in chapter 11.
It is also written from the perspective of a minister as the leader. This has directed the way the material is structured. It is based on the conviction that raising money is a subset of leadership and so I have commenced with the role of the minister as a leader. This is followed by the chapter on vision because before the minister asks for money, there must be a very clear vision: a reason for people to give. Only then do I discuss the topic of generosity and finally an appropriate way to ask.
The book is also written for other leaders and members. I was always delighted when staff and others introduced me to new ideas and then helped put them into practice. At the end of each chapter are a summary, a set of discussion questions and a statement of the chapter’s key idea. These are particularly important to the success of any attempt to raise church income. This is because the book will be of most value if it is read and studied collectively by the minister and other church leaders. It would be ideal for a chapter to be discussed at each elders’ meeting or in other groups where leaders meet. Many exciting ideas in churches fail because a minister or elder goes to a conference, reads a book, gets excited and then tries unsuccessfully to persuade colleagues who were not part of the original experience. It is far better to learn together in an environment where people are able to wrestle with ideas and have misunderstandings explained to their satisfaction. While this is true in any new ministry endeavour, it is particularly applicable in the area of raising money because of its sensitive nature.
This is an excellent book on the sensitive and at times contentious subject of raising money in the local church. It is full of wisdom and practical guidelines that come from experience. Rod Irvine’s track record gives his written words an authority and impact that many other books on this subject lack. Even if some readers might question or disagree with a few of the ideas expressed, they will be challenged and stimulated to think through, at greater depth, the issues raised. Ḁis book contains some of the most detailed and helpful guidelines for the actual “how to” of raising money for ministry that I have seen. It also brings out most forcefully the author’s conviction that raising money has an evangelistic basis. For both minister/pastor and lay people alike, this lifts their thinking to a far higher level than merely raising dollars. Every minister would ἀnd this book an enormous help and encouragement. Some may even ἀnd the reading and application of it a ministry-transforming experience.
Reverend Dr Vic Roberts, former Archdeacon of Wollongong.
After training as a high school science teacher, Rod Irvine completed a doctorate in physics at the University of Queensland. He then studied for the Anglican ministry at Moore College Sydney and was ordained in Brisbane. For twenty years he was senior minister at Figtree Anglican Church in Wollongong, Australia. To further his leadership and help address the increasing organisational complexity of the church, he completed an MBA from the University of Wollongong. He has been married to Helen since 1971 and they have ἀve adult children and (currently) eight grandchildren. Rod is now retired and living in Brisbane, where he spends his time researching leadership, mentoring and writing.