Owning the Challenge of Ministry Funding
Inadequate funding remains one of the most significant challenges facing Christian ministries around the world. Yet who bears responsibility for this deficiency?
Chris Wright, in conversation with James Cousins, challenges Christians to recognize that the problem of insufficient funding does not belong to those experiencing the shortfall but to those entrusted by God with the means to alleviate it. Combining John Stott’s The Grace of Giving and Chris Wright’s The Gift of Accountability, two classics on generosity and financial integrity, along with a brand new reflection, this book encourages readers to think critically about the problem itself.
Together, these three works form a powerful treatise on Christian generosity, stewardship, and financial responsibility, questioning and transforming long-held beliefs around Christian giving. The Shortfall serves as a reminder that our resources belong to God, and we will be held accountable for how we choose to steward them.
Chris Wright and James Cousins mince no words in this straightforward work, identifying the problem with the shortfall in funding for ministries as our problem. This is an unequivocal call to the body of Christ to take personal ownership of the unmet needs of the ministries we support and to respond through generous and joyful giving. They call on us to become both sowers and kingdom builders, two powerful metaphors they reinforce through the stories of Moses, David and Paul. With this new teaching added to John Stott’s The Grace of Giving and Chris Wright’s The Gift of Accountability, we have a powerful presentation of kingdom values applied to the practice of asking and giving. I pray that God’s people will take the challenge of The Shortfall to heart, resulting in a new wave of generosity for God’s work.
R. Scott Rodin, PhD
Senior Consultant and Chief Strategy Officer, The Focus Group
I was challenged by the title of this book as I have not only faced this issue of shortfall personally with missions I have founded and chaired but also as chairman and trustee of several donor foundations and trusts and the overwhelming and continual requests for funds to help with ministry shortfalls. Chris Wright and James Cousins have done a great service to the Christian community in producing a practical resource that not only draws extensively from biblical principles but also includes the powerful testimony of a businessman and how he began to think through and address this issue of the shortfall in practical ways over a period of several years. It does not need to take us several years! The very clear and hard-hitting message in their book put simply is: “The shortfall is not their problem but my problem.”
Ram Gidoomal, CBE
Chairman, South Asian Concern
Chris Wright and James Cousins identify the core problem with a lack of funds for Christian ministries and then ask the tough question: Who is responsible for the shortfall? While the challenge is confronted headon with a call for all of us to “provide” for the work of those who are called to be in “ministry,” I appreciate the fact that the authors also charge those who are seeking funds to properly communicate their needs to those who have the means to share God’s resources with them.
Brad Layland, CFRE
CEO, The FOCUS Group
Read this book with an open heart; it will challenge you. Read it with an open mind; it will impact how you view your life and how you could live it by God’s grace. Every disciple of Christ needs to hear and embrace this rich biblical teaching. I would even encourage you to pray the Lord’s prayer before and after each time you sit down with this wonderful book. Ask the Lord how he would have you not only pray toward the hallowing of his name and the coming of his kingdom but also be a part of the answer to your own prayer, so that God’s will for his people and the world will be done.
Michael Oh, PhD
Global Executive Director/CEO,
Needs in the world have never been greater and opportunities for our witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ in word and deed more plentiful Moreover, never have Christians had more resources. If we are gripped by the kingdom of God, this should challenge us to seize the day with greater generosity and stewardship. But selfishness, confusion, and limited vision cripple our mission. This book, combining the wisdom of James Cousins, Chris Wright and John Stott, offers wise advice on needs, giving and accountability necessary for God’s mission.
Michael W. Goheen, PhD
Director of Theological Education, Missional Training Center
Professor of Missional Theology,
Covenant Theological Seminary, Creve Coeur, Missouri, USA
Table of Contents
- Part 1: The Problem of the Shortfall Chris Wright with James Cousins
- Funding Christian Mission
- Working Together for the Truth
- The Shortfall: Whose Problem Is It?
- The Bible Addresses the Problem
- Sowers and Kingdom Builders
- Two Biblical Kingdom Builders
- Part 2: The Grace of Giving John Stott
- Christian Giving Is an Expression of the Grace of God
- Christian Giving Can Be a Charisma, That Is a Gift of the Spirit
- Christian Giving Is Inspired by the Cross of Christ
- Christian Giving Is Proportionate Giving
- Christian Giving Contributes to Equality
- Christian Giving Must Be Carefully Supervised
- Christian Giving Can Be Stimulated by a Little Friendly Competition
- Christian Giving Resembles a Harvest
- Christian Giving Has Symbolic Significance
- Christian Giving Promotes Thanksgiving to God
- Part 3: The Gift of Accountability Chris Wright
- Financial Support for the Poor Is Integral to Biblical Mission
- Financial Administration Is a Stewardship of Grace and Obedience
- Financial Appeals Require Systematic Advance Planning
- Financial Temptations Call for “Safety in Numbers”
- Financial Accountability Demands Transparency before God and Human Beings
- Financial Trustworthiness Is an Apostolic Honour to Christ
- Epilogue: The Personal Journey of a “Kingdom Builder” James Cousins