Making The Annual Pledge Drive Obsolete
By Timothy Dombek and Michael Durall
Commonwealth Press, Golden, CO 80401
Reviewed by Francis C. Gray, Retired Bishop, Diocese of Northern Indiana
Making the Annual Pledge Drive Obsolete is a slim volume, thick with helpful material, and could be used by congregations where there is a desire for serious change in the usual stewardship efforts. Good stewardship material is not for the faint of heart, and this volume offers no easy bromides, convenient shortcuts, or gimmicks. Rather, the authors address giving in a positive community-building manner. “Nothing you can purchase is more valuable … than the money you give others in need,” says Fr. Dombek. The introduction reminds the reader that generosity can be “just plain fun” as well as being a deeply religious act.
The opening chapter addresses several of the pitfalls of stewardship failure, including low expectations, fear of failure, and lack of vision. All too frequently, clergy and other leaders are timid about asking for generosity and fearful of rejection when they do ask. One chapter reviews what “being a member in good standing” implies and offers appropriate means to encourage this. Having a compelling vision and a way to communicate vision is essential to stewardship. Generous givers respond positively to vision more than to any other approach. The chapter on “The Parishioner as Consumer” is especially insightful in addressing the topic of ineffective practices. Also addressed is the unhelpful practice of emphasizing averages in giving. “And, by the way, when did God call us to be average?”
Other chapters are:
“The Good Life”
“Why Some People are Generous and Others Are Not”
“How Churches Can Become Worthy Recipients of Parishioner’s Charitable Giving”
“Practical Ways of Ending the Pledge Drive”
The Rev. Timothy Dombek was ordained in The Diocese of Northern Indiana. He grew up in Warsaw, Indiana, was a member of The Cathedral Church of St. James in South Bend, and now is serving in the Diocese of Arizona.