Ministry and Money: a Practical Guide for Pastors
Janet T.Jamieson – Philip D.Jamieson – Westminster John Knox Press – 2009
If I had my way there would be a special place in heaven for people who write books as helpful as this. If I had been able to read this in my first year of ministry instead of my 25th many things in my life and work would have been better. Nonetheless, even now, this is a book well worth my time even as I read it mid-career.
The Jamiesons begin their book with a first section which includes an in depth, insightful and yet totally accessible review of money in Scripture and then the history of the church’s teaching on money. This scholarly work is followed by the presentation of a “Theology of Money” that will set the tone for the rest of the book. If “Part 1” were all the Jamiesons had to offer, this would still be an excellent book well worth the time to read.
In “Part 2” of their work the Jamiesons set out to apply the “Theology of Money” by giving the pastor the tools to understand church accounting in order to ask the questions and give the leadership in the finance committee meetings that we should. As a part of our due diligence as clergy, the authors give us a quick tutorial on the strengths and purposes of cash basis, modified cash basis, and accrual basis accounting with practical examples of each. There is also a very helpful discussion of accounts, designated funds, and gift acceptance policies. Once the pastor has learned to read financial reports and to look for important indicators the books takes on church budgeting including zero-based and program budgeting.
The authors empower the clergy to have a stronger voice when discussing congregational finances but they also challenge the clergy to have better control of their personal finances. The 9th chapter covers such matters as clergy taxes, housing allowances, federal withholding, seminary debt, health insurance, retirement and reimbursements.
The remainder of this work is dedicated to teaching stewardship in the congregation from a firm Biblical and theological perspective. If the last chapter of this book were all that was offered it would still be a bargain in time and expense.
Each chapter of this book includes concrete, real-life examples and discussion questions making it a helpful tool for a clergy book club, and/or text study. The sections on accounting also include exercises in accounting with correct answers at the end of each chapter.
Janet T. Jamieson is an Associate Professor in Accounting and her co-author and husband, Philip Jamieson, is an Assistant Professor in Pastoral Theology both at the University of Dubuque.
Pastor Mark A. Anderson
Assistant to the Bishop