First Fruits Book

On this website, Barnabas Foundation offers additional stewardship resources and samples for topics covered in the Second Edition of “Firstfruits: A Stewardship Guide for Church Leaders.” (The first edition title was "Becoming a Firstfruits Congregation.") Also included is source information for all books referenced by the author, Robert C. Heerspink.

In order to develop a better understanding of stewardship within the church, we recommend that you use “Firstfruits” as a “how to” manual with your church leadership groups. It has been used and tested and has proven to be an effective guide. We suggest that you assign segments of the book for study and discussion until you have covered the complete book. 

You may purchase a copy of “Firstfruits: A Stewardship Guide for Church Leaders” from Faith Alive Resources.

The following content is organized identically to the book, “Firstfruits: A Stewardship Guide for Church Leaders.” Its chapters are identified as “Discoveries.” Only the “Discoveries” or chapters that have additional reference information are listed.

Discovery 2: Four Myths About Stewardship

  • God and Mammon in America by Robert Wuthnow available at

Discovery 3: The Real You

  • A Biblical Theology of Material Possessions by Gene Getz available at 

Discovery 5: Stewardship Lost and Found

  • For additional reading on the topic of the environment, you may want to check out Earthwise by Calvin DeWitt available at Faith Alive Resources, Serve God, Save the Planetby Matthew Sleeth available at Zondervan, Green Mama by Tracey Bianchi or Green Like God by Jonathan Merrit available at Amazon.

Discovery 6: Money: Two Sides of the Coin

  • The Pursuit of Happiness by David Myers available at
  • Good Steward Purchasing Flow Chart Our purchasing decisions are sometimes driven by feelings rather than good financial planning. This flow chart will help you decide to purchase (or not to purchase) based on facts rather than impulse.
  • Freedom of Simplicity by Richard Foster available at 

Discovery 7: Financial Freedom - at Any Income

Discovery 14: Our Kids and Their Money

  • Resource ideas for high-school, middle-school, grade-school and pre-school youth including such items as books, DVDs, children's banks, commitment cards ... just to name a few, click here and see Youth Education categories of Barnabas Foundation resources.
  • Raising Cheerful Givers This 7-part series looks at what parents can do to help grow generous, joyful givers who will continue to impact Christ’s Kingdom for years to come...

Discovery 16: Taking Money into the Pulpit

  • Sermon Ideas – A library of stewardship sermon ideas provided by pastors across the U.S. 

Discovery 17: Money and Mission

  • Storytelling Budgets– The church budget can be an opportunity to deepen the spiritual life of your church by creating a storytelling faith community and increasing awareness of the need to support it with financial commitment.
  • The Story of Stewardship in the United States of America by George Salstrand available at 

Discovery 18: What Makes Givers Tick?

  • Minute for Ministry – Featuring descriptive information or personal stories during worship will help make a specific ministry “come alive” for your members.  

Discovery 19: Your Cord of Three Strands

  • Stewardship Team Development – A stewardship team will provide ongoing support and ideas to promote stewardship to all segments of the church, including pastor, church leadership and membership.
  • Stewardship Resources – Barnabas Foundation suggests a variety of resources for different ages and small groups.

Discovery 20: Budgets: Beyond Line Items

  • Effective Church Finances by Kennon L. Callahan available at 
  • Ministry Budget Plan – Sample of a church ministry budget plan that connects dollars with mission.
  • Ministry Budget Plan Cover Letter – Sample letter to congregation to accompany and explain the Ministry Budget Plan.
  • Storytelling Budgets – The church budget can be an opportunity to deepen the spiritual life of your church by creating a storytelling faith community and increasing awareness of the need to support it with financial commitment.

Discovery 21: Campaigns? Pledges? What are We Getting Into?

  • Generous People: How to Encourage Vital Stewardship by Eugene Grimm available at 

Discovery 22: Stewardship Initiatives: Five Ingredients

Discovery 23: Adding Spice to Your Efforts

Discovery 24: Keep Talking

  • Communication is Key – Celebrating ministry, sharing ministry needs, thanking members for their gifts -- all play an important role in encouraging stewardship among church members.
  • Quarterly Communication to Members- Inform members of their year-to-date giving, share any special financial needs of the church and celebrate ministries

Discovery 26: Getting Started with an Endowment

  • Does Your Church Have a Foundation? - Legacy Foundation is a turn-key church foundation program that was developed by Barnabas Foundation to provide churches with all of the advantages of a Foundation without the legal cost and work of setting up and maintaining their own.
  • Effective Church Finances by Kennon L. Callahan available at 

Discovery 27: Keep the Momentum Going!

  • Stewardship Spotlight – A free quarterly newsletter delivered right to your email, ready for duplication and distribution to your church members.

Special Notes:

Research Shows Positive Impact of Spiritual Health on Giving

As part of Barnabas Foundation’s stewardship education work with churches, we’ve developed a survey which measures the spiritual health and maturity of respondents. It is based upon the evaluation of a variety of factors such as participation in Sunday worship service, private prayer and devotions, volunteer service, etc. 

As spiritual maturity increases, so does giving. That is the conclusion drawn by researcher, Dr. Rodger Rice, as he merged and studied the results of over 4,000 responses to surveys of 25 individual churches. 

Dr. Rice’s research shows that the most spiritually healthy people had given an average of 13% of their incomes to all charitable causes in the previous year, while the least spiritually healthy people had contributed an average of 2%.* A finding of particular interest is that those whose lifestyles reflect spiritual disciplines are more generous, regardless of age.

* Source: Time-Talent-Treasure Congregational Survey