Tuesday, October 8, 2002

The Passionate Steward: Recovering Christian Stewardship from Secular Fundraising by Michael O'Hurley-Pitts

St. Brigid Press, 0973137800, $19.99

Books have been published explaining why Catholics can't sing, why Catholics pray the Rosary, and why Catholics don't (and/or shouldn't) have women in the priesthood. From St. Brigid Press and author Michael O'Hurley-Pitts comes a book on why some Catholics (and, to be sure, Christians of other denominations) don't give. The Passionate Steward: Recovering Christian Stewardship from Secular Fundraising is a book targeted at Christian parishes, in particular clergy and laypersons responsible for parish stewardship, but is not necessarily a "how-to" on the fundamentals of fundraising. Rather, Steward reads more along the lines of a "why-not" or "how-about" book in that problems of parish stewardship are not addressed with definite solutions in mind, but are exposed to allow the reader to come to the proper conclusions about what is best for his/her church.

O'Hurley-Pitts defines the various kinds of stewardship, pointing out foremost that giving is "not transactional," but "vocational." The problem with implementing secular fundraising techniques to parishes, he argues, is that the act of giving is thus in danger of being cheapened. Giving to one's church, be it time or money, should not have to require tempting parishioners with gifts and incentives, the author argues. People should want to give without having to be bombarded by a "what's in it for me" mentality, particularly when the incentives are hardly spiritual.

O'Hurley-Pitts outlines in Steward a history and the basic fundamentals of stewardship from a Christian perspective and suggested methods for campaigns (direct mail, guest speakers), and weighs the pros and cons of each. For the struggling small-town parish or the established metropolis church, The Passionate Steward lays out the nuts and bolts of stewardship in a concise and timely manner.

No comments: