For a few years, I had the privilege of working with William (Bill) G. Enright when he was the founding Director of the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, an arm of the Lily Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. He was running the “Creating Congregational Cultures of Generosity” workshops for which I became a trainer.
Bill had the magic combination – wisdom and the experience to back it up. Prior to founding the Lake Institute, he served more than thirty years as a Presbyterian pastor, first in small churches and then as a senior minister of a large congregation in Indianapolis.
Bill retired a few years ago but thankfully he had more to share with the faith community about the spiritual importance of giving. Late in 2017, he wrote and published, Kitchen Table Giving: Reimagining how Congregations Connect with their Donors. It’s a bargain at $14.95.
The concept of the “kitchen table” is a “metaphor symbolizing those times and places where deep conversations occur that shape our charitable giving.” The table itself may not be a literal place for you – it might be the conversation that happens at Starbucks or in your car on the way to the movies or on a reflective walk. On the other hand, some of you might not have thought about having a kitchen table conversation about money at all. Maybe it was taboo in your family. Maybe you assume everyone you know is already on the same page.
Good news: Kitchen Table Giving encourages you to continue or begin the conversation about money. It will also help you to assist others to talk about the role money plays in their lives too.
Written primarily for clergy or anyone in a church leadership position, right off the bat, Bill addresses the topic that sends fear into the heart of most pastors: preaching about money. He notes that there seems to be two types of sermons that (shock, shock) don’t inspire giving: the “begging” sermon and the “comfortable guilt” sermon.
In order to move from begging and guilt, this book helps address the spiritual and faith-filled purpose for giving. Once that happens,
“…faith-motivated donors want to know: ‘How in my giving can I support what God is about in the world?’ Smart congregational leaders address that question by telling stories that are more aspirational than preachy to spark the spiritual imaginations of their audience” (emphasis added).
A short and easy read, Kitchen Table Giving includes thoughtful reflection questions and action steps at the end of every chapter. The book is an excellent mix of wisdom-filled spiritual grounding (one chapter is called, “What has God to Do with Money & Giving?”) and practical suggestions for implementing a stewardship strategy once a solid faith-filled foundation has been laid.
Bottom line: Kitchen Table Giving is inspirational reading. It will help your congregation experience stewardship, tithing, or giving as “the joyful celebration as to what God is about in the neighborhood your church calls home.” So, take a read, gather ‘round the table and go have a great conversation.