Customer Reviews: Maximize: How to Develop Extravagant Givers in Your Church
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on April 21, 2011
Maximize does lay a great foundation for giving. How? By showing that giving and generosity are basic values of discipleship that ought to be maturing over time.

Here are my 10 takeaways on the book:

1. It is impossible to become a fully developed follower of Jesus without also becoming a fully developed steward of financial resources. Again, where your treasure is there your heart will also be.

2. Giving should be an outward, material expression of a deep, spiritual commitment... and indication of a willing and obedient heart. Larry Burkett

3. Maximize is the stewardship system that was developed out of this singular goal to cultivate first-time givers and move them towards extravagant giving.
' Turn a first-time giver and do a regular giver.
' Turn a regular giver into a tither.
' Turn a tither into an extravagant giver.

4. By nature, the concept of generosity is in conflict with the concept of self preservation. Andy Stanley.

5. So teach on stewardship four times a year.
' Teach on money mid-to-late January
' teach on money right after kids get back to school.
' Pick two other stewardship Sundays during the year at your own discretion.
' Along with this new stewardship testimonies two times a year

6. Revolutionary gratitude
' Giving is a way of taking the focus off the money we make and put it back where it belongs on the lives we lead, the families we raise, the communities that nurture us.
' Our goal is to create a culture of generosity. (that is more than money)
' Stewardship is discipleship, which creates a culture of generosity, encouraging generosity through education and strategic stewardship practices, and following up with givers effectively.

7. Four key elements: continuing education
' teaching
' Challenges
' Small groups
' Membership class
"Money and its use are indicators of spiritual health" Say that twice out loud!
' Practical ways to develop people:
' teach on financial management
' provide financial management resources
' offer a stewardship small group

8. Educate people to bring the full tithe to God as an act of joyful worship

9. Measuring things: You need to measure!

10. Cultivate extravagant givers.
' step up to give extra care and support of those people who choose to live as extravagant givers
' how can we better minister to you
' is there anything we need to clarify for you
' how can pray for you

Check it out!

Ed Loughran
Senior Pastor
Vineyard Community Church Joliet Illinois
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on October 19, 2011
What I like about Nelson Seacy's books is the fact that they'e not about theory but down to earth practical advice. Maximize is no exception. Here's what I learned from Maximize.

1. You have to have healthy stewardship to have a healthy church. Stewardship is about discipleship. Followers of Jesus give. I have to admit that I never made the connection between the two. I always thought that healthy churches gave, but I never considered the fact that healthy stewardship was part of how the church became and stayed healthy.

2. God has a specific plan for fully resourcing His church and freeing His people from financial repression. This hit me hard. I never thought of it in these terms. But it makes perfect sense and is Biblically sound. God has a plan for everything else. Why not funding His church. Therefore, I don't have to come up with a plan or use guilt inducing gimmicks. I just teach His plan. Duh!

3. You can't be a mature believer without giving. I've seen it too many times, members who are spiritual pygmies. They've been coming to church for thirty years, but have no depth to their souls. Stewardship is integral with discipleship.

4. You have to have multiple giving options. The offering plate won't cut it, especially in this debit card culture. And if the only time the congregation can give is on Sunday morning, you're leaving a lot of God's money in their pockets.

5. You can't let people climb the leadership ladder without also climbing the generosity ladder. It's leads to problems and hurt. I've pastored this church. Several times. I know that is a direct correlation to the maturity issue I mentioned above.

6. Giving isn't about money. It is about growing in Christ.

7. People want to give. People know they should give. The problem is they still want to control their money.

8. The tithe is a sign of a submissive heart. It is not about legalism, but grace.
When we don't give, it's not a money problem, it's a heart problem.

9. Pastors lead the way. This hurts. I have given and I have not given through my Christian life. I am giving now and I know it makes a difference in my walk with Christ and my ministry. I tell people that I can't explain it other than the fact that God does it, but when I give, I always have enough to meet my needs and when I don't give to God, there is never enough.
Yet what bothers me most is that I have consistently failed to teach stewardship. I thought if I helped my people get their hearts right, the money would take care of itself. That was a lie from Satan. It grieves me when I realize that I have been a hindrance to their walk with Christ.
I think through the years that I didn't teach stewardship not just because I was afraid of what people would think, but mostly because I would have to face my own disobedience.

10. Create a culture of generosity. Church people can be the stingiest people in the world when it comes to God's money. They think that they're doing God a favor by not spending any money.
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on September 29, 2010
The book "Maximize" is an eye opener. It is impossible to explain how much I have learnt from it. It's one of those books that you will have to read over and over again. "Maximize" is not one of those books you just throw on the shelf after reading it, you want to call every pastor in the phone book to recommend it to them.

Just few things I have learnt from this book:
1. "Maximize" teaches me to be a disciplined pastor in encouraging my church members in the area of financial stewardship.
2. It helps understand the need to teach the church that giving is part of spiritual growth, spiritual maturity and an act of worship.
3. "Maximize" teaches you not to be afraid to talk about money in church.
4. The power of testimonies given by those who regularly tithe is the single most powerful tool for supporting your teaching.
5. As a leader or pastor I must be a faithful steward first before I can teach it to others.
6. Hold leaders and staff in the church accountable. Inconsistency in tithing amongst church staff or leaders affects the whole church.
7. Maximize has helped me to understand that everyone in the church can be an extravagant giver.
8. True generosity is not how much you give but how much you have left.
9. It helps you understand stewardship is more than just getting the givers money. We need to be concerned about the givers spiritual maturity.
10. "Maximize" teaches the importance of spending time on a personal level developing discipleship with your faithful givers, with systematic follow ups.

Pastor Bola Adebisi
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on October 15, 2010
Stewardship and giving is something every pastor must learn to teach about. As a church planter I need more money, and the people I am reaching are the ones God intended to help us become financially independent. Through Maximize, I have learned simple strategies and principles from God's Word that I can use to teach and train those I am reaching. It has also given me the confidence to talk openly about money with my attenders, members and leaders. Here are a ten things I took away from this book.

1-Send hand written THANK YOU notes to first time gives.

2- Follow Up with givers in all levels

3-Offer a bigger & pre stamped envelope

4-Stop our Sunday service and offer a time of giving

5- Preach 4 times about stewardship each year

6-Offer multiple ways for people to give

7-Hold staff and key leaders accountable with giving

8-Teach consistently about bringing the FULL TITHE

9-Offer a TITHE CHALLENGE at least once a year

10- Send biannual giving statements (next year quarterly giving statements)
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on March 21, 2011
If you only purchase one book on church finance, this is THE book. One thing about all of Nelson Searcy's materials is that they are 100% helpful and easy to apply. Everyone is touting how their products can help you. And it is easy to buy several kinds of the same thing. But in the book Maximize you will learn everything you need to know as a pastor for developing generous givers. It is thorough. When I picked it up I could not put it down. I devoured it in one sitting with highlights, dog-eared corners, and to do lists on the front fly cover. This book needs to go to the top of your to-buy-list. If you wait you may be depriving your people from becoming generous givers. As in Monopoly, "Don't go past go, don't collect $200, go straight to the checkout and purchase Maximize. You'll be glad you did.
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on July 18, 2014
Practical suggestions and strategies about how to increase giving in churches. I especially like the idea of the giving continuum. I have also long thought that one of the reasons that more people,don't give in their churches is because they're not educated, and he drills this home in the book. He also gives loads of examples and samples. This is probably one of the best books I have read as far as the author providing examples and samples of the material he uses. It was great. The book is intended for pastors, but I think the leaders of the treasury / stewardship departments in a church would benefit greatly from reading it as well. Lay people can also benefit from it, though they probably might not be so interested in the strategies for increasing church growth
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on October 2, 2013
As a pragmatic guide to pastors about how to discuss Biblical stewardship, Maximize is systematic and easy to understand. It's a difficult issue for pastors, as the idea of money can be uncomfortable.

The red flag warning sign that caused me to come to write a review was the statement that new members are REQUIRED to be regular givers. REQUIRED. "Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest." Not so much.

The second red flag was the weekly meeting with big donors--givers. The money given earned them face time and special prayer from the pastor. Perhaps if I were a pastor I'd understand this donor-care behavior. I'm not, and I do not.

Pastors, check this out of the local library, but don't spend your hard-earned money on this one. Glean some tips from it as you can, then move on.
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on May 7, 2015
Great thoughts, particularly on developing giving steps. It was foundational in the development of our giving journey. We chose not to use amounts in the steps like Nelson does. For our context, we have people of very different income levels and to place an amount with a given level would created false securities for some, may be appropriate for some and then for others it would create insecurities. We instead focused on 'action' words as our steps based on simple definition. Overall the book is WELL WORTH the read and will give great insight as you develop your own giving philosophy and how your church can cultivate disciples in the area of giving.
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on February 20, 2011
There really isn't anything new under the sun, but that is okay.

Mr. Searcy does a fine job of reminding us how to move people to greater acts of giving. I know some today will label this type of book as gimmicky, but don't knock that. We pastors buy the new and greatest books because of stupider gimmicking than what Mr. Searcy is selling.

This is a "how-to" book plain and simple. There is a biblical basis for tithing and giving, but don't look for a well defined exegesis here. This book assumes you know your church needs to tithe. This book gives you the tools to make it happen. As of this review I haven't been able to institute all the idea's laid out in this book but I am working towards that end. I noticed that my church brethren of years passed used some of this same material. Mr. Searcy has just labeled it in a new book and box. Same verse and song, though. If tithing is working in your church, don't read this book. If you aren't sure how to get people to tithe or even what to do, like me, read this book. Seminary actually didn't help me alot in this area. This book will.

A good foundational book on biblical truth in tithing and giving is Randy Alcorn's, "Money, Possessions, and Eternity." Use both of these books together.
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on July 1, 2013
I love this book! After renting for five years our church moved onto a new campus and we were challenged to meet a new level of expenses. Not only have we met them, but this book has helped us become a generous church, helping the needy, single moms, building homes for the poor and more. Using Nelson's stewardship system, we saw our church's budget increase 12% the first year, then 15% and finally 18% this last year. Understanding that stewardship is part of discipleship is key.

I also use this book as a part of my coaching network for pastors leading plateaued or declining churches (turnaround and it has helped many of this fuel a turnaround with increased resources. Thank you Nelson for a very helpful book!
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