William G. Enright
Amazon CreateSpace, 86 pages
Reviewed by Baron Mullis
What if fundraising were a fundamentally joyful activity? Bill Enright believes not only that it can be, but that it must be. Enright has been urging spiritual leaders to get savvy about talking about money for a generation and in “Kitchen Table Giving” he issues a captivating invitation to reflect on the art of leadership and the mechanics of talking about money as a spiritual leader.
Reflecting on the insight that most congregation members arrive at church with their decisions about giving already made, Enright explores when and where these decisions happen, and concludes that decisions about giving are made in the heart of the home, right at the kitchen table. In six pithy chapters, the reader is invited to recognize that congregation members are already talking about money – and that they both want and need spiritual guidance.
Seeking to help spiritual leaders understand how to be a part of this kitchen table conversation, Enright leads the reader through his assessment of what makes for joyful giving.
The book progresses from a foundational recognition of joy as a motivating factor in conversations about money to observations of what makes an effective spiritual leader when it comes to having table-talk about our wealth and resources. “Kitchen Table Giving” reflects on the hallmarks of joyful ministry: purpose derived from meeting the needs of the community and meaning gained from serving the work of God in the world. With stories of congregations and leaders who found their voices about money by seeking to serve God in real and tangible ways, Enright inspires readers to consider their own ministry and that of their congregation from the vantage point of joyful giving.
From there, the reader is skillfully navigated to seek clarity in the spiritual body’s vision for ministry and methodically to galvanize the congregation toward fundraising that unites the body and strengthens the vision for ministry. With reflections from his own career, Enright provides encouragement for those who discover setbacks or detours from their original plans on the journey that God is leading. Always, he urges the leader to take a long view of the work of God.
Having thus addressed the practicalities of preparing for effective conversations about money, Enright returns at the end of his book to the spiritual foundation of religious fundraising. Better than most, he understands that giving should be a spiritual discipline: a means of strengthening both personal faith and corporate identity.
Interspersed throughout the book are case studies from Enright’s extensive career as a scholar of philanthropy, examples from more than 30 years of parish ministry and insightful reflections into both leadership and fundraising from experts in management and philanthropy.
“Table talk” guides at the end of each chapter will aid spiritual leaders who wish to use the book as a tool for education within the congregation, with questions for personal reflection as well as questions for group engagement. Enright not only admonishes pastors to have candid conversations about money, he provides the tools with which to do so.
Enright is a master fundraiser and a trusted pastor. “Kitchen Table Giving” is part memoir and part exhortation that for the sake of congregations and for the sake of the church, spiritual leaders need to get serious about talking about money — joyfully.
Baron Mullis is pastor of Morningside Presbyterian Church in Atlanta. He previously served with Bill Enright at Second Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis.