Seminary class takes on the topic of money

Posted: December 10, 2012

Finances, fundraising and generosity are topics churches, ministries and non-profit organizations have trouble talking about, but it is a necessity in today’s world.

From April 29- May 3, 2013 Briercrest is hosting a seminary class entitled Stewardship and Generosity, where participants will have a chance to explore these issues.

Tom Berekoff, who brings nearly 30 years of experience in professional fundraising with both Christian and secular institutions, has structured the class toward ministry professionals as well as those involved in not-for-profit organizations.

Dean of the seminary Dustin Resch believes this course will be beneficial to almost all organizations.

“I think [the class] could be a really great thing for people who aren’t interested in doing a full seminary program. It has the potential to enrich any ministry,” Resch offered. “This class would be great for board members from non-profits and camps, even as a onetime event.”

The reason for the wide appeal is two-fold.

First, is the timeliness of the subject matter. Originally, the class was conceived due to feedback received from leadership program coordinator Paul Magnus. Magnus came to seminary officials after noticing his students and associates wrestling through the implications of “traditional fundraising” and how these views interacted with current ministry ideals.

For many ministry and not-for-profit organizations, the weight of collecting necessary funds may become a drain on their work, providing stress to workers and hindering overall effectiveness, as they perceive fundraising to be an arduous task. Berekoff hopes to challenge this perception by exploring a recent paradigm shift that sees giving as a relational invitation rather than a transactional burden.

He will encourage students to view stewardship and generosity as a fundamental part of their ministries.

“I think the understanding of generosity and stewardship tends to be an area of study and conversation that many tend to avoid,” Berekoff explained. “We see it as something that we’re taking away from or that is difficult or only transactional for the participant. Stewardship and generosity are truly a part of ministry and the discipleship of the believer because it’s a part of obedience and following the Lord’s word, following in the character and life of Christ.”

For Berekoff, this shift is especially apparent within today’s upcoming, younger generations.

“I’m so encouraged,” Berekoff reflected. “This coming generation has such a heart and a passion for social justice . . . to be with the people, to care for them. If any part of this course can give students a greater clarity, then we will be doing good work. That’s what it’s all about.”

A second feature that adds to the appeal of the class is the passion of the professor and the care with which he has constructed the class itself.

“This class is not going to be about techniques, it is not going to be about manipulation,” he explained. “Are there practices that are at the core of this work? Yes. My real hope is that there will be personal discovery for the students, that their personal sense of stewardship and generosity will be clearer than when they came into the course.”

To this end, students will have the opportunity to discuss current issues surrounding generosity and stewardship through lectures, Dress up Games readings, panels and personal interaction from both professor and students. Berekoff is eager to create an atmosphere where students can bring their own challenges and experience to the classroom.

Resch, having experienced Berekoff’s expertise at his church while planning for a building campaign, agrees wholeheartedly with the impact a class like this can bring to students who are open to discussing new perspectives.

“[Tom] helps me to think and dream of what could be and what should be. Then money becomes just one of the ways we’re going to get there. It’s not a posture of scarcity but a posture of abundance and that’s such a wonderful way of approaching ministry. I want to share that with other students too.”

For information about enrolling in this class, email Dustin Resch at