Many of our churches and many of our families are enduring financial struggles. The NC Conference Media Center offers resources that you can borrow to help your church leadership and your congregation face these struggles with Christ at the center. Read below for our recommendations, and fill out the Resource Request Form for any titles you would like to borrow. We will mail them to you.
The United Methodist Church is also offering many online resources to help your church through these tough financial times. UMC Giving has moved to become a part of Resource UMC, so you can now access Generosity Resources there. This website includes articles, tools, and publications such as the UMC Handbook, UMC Member Digest, and the new Selah Generosity Pastor and Leader Kit. You may also want to view the Local Church Learning Session: Giving Platforms to Increase Giving on the Resource UMC Facebook page.
Discipleship Ministries of the UMC is offering a new online course, Disciples Living Generously. This three-session series is designed to help church leaders see stewardship and generosity as more than “how do we pay the bills” but rather “how do we grow generous disciples?” Moving the focus beyond the church’s need for money to clearly highlight a disciple’s need to experience the joy of a generous life.
United Methodist Communications also offers a free online course, Communicating About Online Giving. The course explains how giving in the UMC works, how to get started with online giving, and how to make it safe and effective. This self-paced course offers 1 CEU.
Also, check out this article from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, COVID-19 Reminds Us of Crucial Church Finance Safeguards. This is one of many helpful articles from the Lewis Center related to church finances.
These studies include materials adapted for adults, youth, and children so that all family members can participate in the same program.
Earn. Save. Give. Wesley’s Simple Rules for Money by James A. Harnish. John Wesley believed money was important as a way of expressing and living out Christian faith. To Wesley, the task was simple: earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can. Rev. Harnish presents Wesley’s concepts and beliefs in plain, useful language, suitable for individuals to grapple with and groups to discuss and act upon. This program includes a DVD, Leader Guide, Book, Program Guide Flash Drive, Youth Study Book, and Children’s Leader Guide.
What About Our Money? A Faith Response. This book study from the United Methodist Women explores how we understand money within the context of our faith. This discussion and our own awareness of how we relate to money can actually help free us from many of the financial dilemmas we face. It will explore our own relationship with money, the money choices available to us, and how we individually and collectively respond to economic inequalities in light of our faith.
The youth version of this UMW study, Is It Just Money? Our Dollars, God’s Economy, is an exploration of money as it relates to faith and justice. This collection of activities and discussions will provide the study leader with resources to help youth deepen their understanding of the complex questions that surround making, having, giving, and using money.
Money Matters: A Study for Children endeavors to teach children about the concept of money, the importance of generosity, and how God intends for us to use money as an expression of love for others. Each session contains suggestions from children’s literature that correspond with the central topics. These are reinforced through activities, arts-and-crafts projects, and other hands-on learning experiences.
Some of these stewardship campaigns can also be used in small groups.
Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity by Adam Hamilton. This revised version of Rev. Hamilton’s popular study is an invitation to rediscover the Bible’s wisdom on prudent financial practices. Find the keys to experiencing contentment, overcoming fear, and discovering joy through simplicity and generosity. It includes a DVD, Leader Guide, Book, and a Stewardship Program Guide with Flash Drive.
Defying Gravity: Break Free from the Culture of More by Tom Berlin. In this small group study and stewardship campaign, Rev. Berlin explores what is required to sustain a vibrant life, what we need versus what we want, and what we can do to avoid being pulled into the orbit of materialism. The Leader Kit includes the book, leader guide, DVD, program tools flash drive, The Generous Church pastor’s guide, and one family card pack.
Treasure: A Four-Week Study on Faith and Money by Jacob Armstrong. Rev. Armstrong uses Matthew 6 to reexamine how we look at our finances and possessions, through the counter-cultural teachings of the Sermon on the Mount. Participants will examine their lives, their ways of giving, their finances, and their faith, then discuss and reflect on how generosity can affect our relationships with people and with God. This program includes a DVD, Program Guide Flash Drive, and Devotional Book.
The Gratitude Path: Leading Your Church to Generosity by Kent Millard. In contrast to budget-centric stewardship models, this book offers you a fresh alternative: the Gratitude Campaign—a Christ-centered approach that promotes spiritual health for both donors and the church. This biblically-based, no-nonsense resource will enable you to help people count their blessings and give to God out of gratitude. The study includes discussion questions, samples, and a step-by-step outline for conducting a Gratitude Campaign in a church of any size.
New Consecration Sunday by Herb Miller. This proven program, often taught by our United Methodist Foundation in churches throughout the NC Conference, approaches financing the ministries of your congregation by teaching stewardship from a spiritual perspective rather than a fundraising perspective. It focuses on the question, “What is God calling me to do?” rather than, “What does the church need in order to pay its bills?” The program includes a Stewardship Program with Guest Leader Guide & CD-ROM and a Team Member Manual.
For Small Groups
These small-group and individual resources can also be adapted into a stewardship campaign.
The Generosity Challenge: 28 Days of Gratitude, Prayer, and Faith by Scott McKenzie and Kristine Miller. This group study will appeal to those who attend the church every Sunday, but who have not yet committed to monetary giving. The study offers a weekly reading accompanied by seven days of challenges in the forms of self-assessment, journaling, and prayer. After 28 days, members of the group study are encouraged to embrace a life-giving journey toward generosity and provided a road map on how to get there. This study includes a DVD and Book.
How to Be Rich: It’s Not What You Have, It’s What You Do With What You Have by Andy Stanley. Pastor Andy Stanley is convinced that most of us are richer than we believe. But we might think, rich is the other guy. Rich is having more than we currently have. If that’s the case, we can be rich and not know or feel it. We can be rich and not act like it. And that is a problem. This study includes a DVD and Book.
The Christian Wallet: Spending, Giving, and Living with a Conscience by Mike Slaughter with Karen Perry Smith. Rev. Slaughter explores today’s culture of consumerism and the impact of what we buy, asking difficult questions about morality and money while acknowledging that there are no easy answers. This book helps Christians grapple with important questions about using money: how we spend, how we live, how we save, how we give, and what it all means. Questions for individual or group study are also included with each chapter.
Freed-Up Financial Living: How to Get There with Biblical Principles by Shannon Plate and John Negovetich with Dick Towner. This DVD-based course serves as the core workshop for a stewardship ministry. It is designed for everyone in the congregation, regardless of their financial situation. Participants explore what the Bible and the culture say about the five financial areas of life (earning, giving, saving, debt and spending). They are then coached on how to implement biblical principles into their daily financial lives through a personal spending plan. This is done in a grace-filled manner – no guilt or judgment allowed. This program includes a DVD and Participant Workbook.
Plant and Grow Your Money: A Financial Guide for Young Adults by Dr. Richard G. Morrison, Ph.D. with Dalene Bickel. This easy-to-follow money management guide helps young adults understand where they currently stand financially and lays the groundwork to help them achieve their future financial and lifestyle goals. From discussions of income, expenses and savings to budgeting, cash flow and net worth, this book simplifies critical financial concepts without diluting the content. The author is a retired corporate executive, a business professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and a member of Wrightsville UMC in Wrightsville Beach, NC.
For Church Finance Leaders
God vs. Money: Winning Strategies in the Combat Zone by J. Clif Christopher. This DVD study for church leaders and finance teams encourages trust in God’s promises instead of money’s false promises. With practical, up-to-date advice on preaching, theology, budgeting, and more, these practical tools provide the resources you need to plan for your annual giving campaign. This study includes a DVD, Participant Guide, and Book.
The E-Giving Guide for Every Church: Using Digital Tools to Grow Ministry by Richard Rogers. A recent survey by United Methodist Communications shows that giving is down in many of our churches and yet, there are still many churches that do not offer e-giving. This book takes away the confusion and fear involved in using electronic media to raise money for your ministry and mission by providing a solid, sustainable framework that focuses on the key topics every church must address.
Growing Through Disaster: Tools for Financial and Trauma Recovery in Your Faith Community by Clayton L. Smith and Matt Schoenfeld. Although this book was written with natural disasters in mind, the insight and tools provided apply to any financial disaster your church faces, including COVID-19. This book shows faith communities how to come together to combat hopelessness and gain/regain financial strength. The authors’ vast experience in assisting communities through recovery can help lead your own community through the process of spiritually-rooted renewal and revitalization. There is a six-session group study to assist pastors and others in facilitating discussion and focus on recovery strategies. The study offers Scripture-based hope and encouragement as a way for people to process trauma together in a safe place.
Funding Ministry with Five Loaves and Two Fishes by Rosario Picardo. Pastor Picardo knows what it’s like to be a pastor in a church with few resources and feel the stress of managing “business” matters like finances, debt reduction, fundraising, and building maintenance. Through trials and failures, innovation and entrepreneurial thinking, Picardo learned new ways for reaching the least and lost and for growing disciples. In this book, he shares the lessons he’s learned with the confidence that other leaders can do the same.
Developing Your Operating Budget: Funding Your Congregation’s Vision by The Lewis Center for Church Leadership. These three video presentations explain what an operating budget is, methods for constructing a budget, and frequently asked questions. The goal of this DVD/CD combo is to help those to whom people look for competent and inspired financial leadership to accomplish God’s vision for their church. It includes outlines of key points, templates, graphics, and sample worksheets.
Church Finances for Missional Leaders: Best Practices for Faithful Stewardship by Bonnie Ives Marden. Marden offers a step-by-step process of managing the budget and financial well-being for local churches of all sizes. The book includes guidelines, tools, and reproducible worksheets to help readers navigate the typical financial demands of operating a church. This clear, easy-to-use guidebook was published by The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church.
Request These Resources
These resources can be borrowed for free by anyone involved with a United Methodist Church in the North Carolina Conference. We will mail them to your home! All you need to do is fill out the Resource Request Form.