The Star Book for Stewardship
The Star Book for
Stewardship by Clifford A. Jones Sr. describes itself as a “call for
practical biblical integrity to give contributions in honor of God as Creator.”
(from the Preface) The most helpful aspects of this book are indeed its
biblical resources and its practical sermon starters and teaching guides. From
the beginning, however, it is clear that for Jones, stewardship is always
understood in relationship to tithing. While Jones does approach the theology
of being a steward, that all belongs to God and we are charged to care for it,
he emphasizes tithing as the chief expression of giving and stewardship. The
book aims to show pastors how to move people from membership to discipleship to
stewardship (tithing) and beyond tithing.
The opening chapter is titled “Biblical Foundations for
Stewardship,” and offers one of the most comprehensive surveys of tithing in
the scriptures. Beginning with the Genesis and winding all the way through the
entire New Testament, Jones traces the history of tithing. He writes at the
opening, “Holy Scripture provides the basis for giving and is the standard for
analyzing the authenticity of written stewardship material.” (1) His approach to
scripture reflects this primacy of biblical authority, and he appeals to
biblical authority in all his claims about stewardship (instead of relevance,
prayer, reason, church tradition, transformational experiences, or other
sources of inspiration and authority). This biblical review would be helpful for
a pastor looking for new strategies for preaching about tithing, especially
those who share Jones’ emphasis on biblical authority.
The book proceeds with short chapters on “Practicing
Christian Stewardship” and “The Church as Steward.” These chapters are adequate
surveys of the topics, but these subjects have been addressed by other authors
with much greater depth and insight.
The entire second half of the book is dedicated to an
enormous quantity of resources for preaching and teaching. The resources are
grouped in two categories: “From Membership to Discipleship,” and “From
Discipleship to Stewardship.” Again emphasizing the authority of the biblical
text, Jones offers monthly scripture-based meditations each of these themes,
which could serve as resources for teaching or written articles. He then offers
more than 20 sermon starters on these themes. The final section also includes
sample personal testimonies and words for use at the offering time during worship.
The Star Book of
Stewardship is not a complete guide to everything needed for a church in
its stewardship endeavors. However, it would be a helpful resource for pastors
just beginning their ministry and searching for inspiration in preaching and
teaching on stewardship. It might also help more experienced pastors looking to
broaden their repertoire with new scriptures on stewardship themes.
Jennifer Mills-Knutsonis the Senior Minister of St. Luke's United Church of Christ in Jeffersonville, IN. www.stlukes.cc. You can read Jennifer's Blog @ http://forthesomedaybook.wordpress.com.