Star Book of Stewardship-Clifford Jones

The Star Book for Stewardship

  Jennifer Mills-Knutson

Rev Jennifer Mills-Knutson

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.

 

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