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Book Review "Ask, Thank, Tell" by Charles R. (Chick) Lane

Ask, Thank, Tell by Charles R. (Chick) Lane 2006 Augsburg Fortress, Minneapolis

“I have seen too many congregations denied the joy of giving by a mentality that sees stewardship only as away to get the congregation’s bills paid.”(p.5) Chick Lane has been in position to make the above observation after working with hundreds of congregations while on the staff of the Northwestern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA for nine years, plus the time serving as an ELCA churchwide staff member.

Having served as a parish pastor and teaching a Biblical perspective of stewardship as an expression of discipleship, Chick Lane boldly makes the Biblical statement that it all belongs to God, and he charges believers to steward what they have received faithfully. In other words the practice of stewardship is discipleship, not membership. “When the Bible talks about stewardship it almost always talks about the intimate connection between how a person handles financial matters and the person’s relationship with God. In the Bible all stewardship, including financial stewardship, is an intensely spiritual matter.”(p. 7-8)

This book is written for Stewardship Committee members, starting with the Biblical teaching of stewardship. Once the committee members identify with the discipleship role rather than the membership role, their task is leading others to the position of discipleship. This approach supports the vital role of laity in teaching stewardship, modeling it, and encouraging others to do the same.

The process Chick Lane outlines also includes the importance of thanking the congregational members for their offerings, and telling them what is happening because of their discipleship practice of stewardship. It is a complete system that encourages stewardship practices as an expression of

their relationship with God.

In the words of Chick Lane:

“If a believer gives to the institution so that other can do ministry and congregations can keep going, then that person has a major roadblock in the way of a stronger relationship with Jesus. On the other hand, if that same believer can begin to understand that giving is an act of faith, growing out of a relationship with Jesus, and if that giving can grow toward a tithe, then that believer has taken a huge step toward having stewardship at the hear of his or her relationship with Jesus.” (p. 16-17)

Our Pacific Southwest District Stewardship Committee will be making this book available free to congregations who want to develop a new Stewardship Committee or to revitalize an inactive one. We are fully supportive of the content of the book and its outline for developing a congregational stewardship committee. We see no theological issues because of Lane’s identity with ELCA. If you want to secure your own copy it is available on Amazon in both new and used copies.

Gary Norton

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