Book Review of “Funding Ministry with Five Loaves and Two Fishes”
Funding Ministry with Five Loaves and Two Fishes
by Rosario Picardo
Abingdon Press, 2016. 124 pages.
What if you stopped worrying about the things that your church doesn’t have, and instead looked closely at what God has already provided? You may discover resources and potential that can bear fruit when placed in the Lord’s hands. Rosario Picardo is a successful church planter who believes that Jesus is calling the church to be more like the disciple Andrew. When faced with a hungry crowd, Andrew talked to people and found a boy who was willing to give away his lunch. By entrusting the bread and fish to Jesus, Andrew took action even when it seemed the odds were against them. Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the people brought joy, sustenance, and even leftovers. Perhaps the Lord will open your eyes to recognize new possibilities to fulfill your church’s mission.
Picardo’s ministry has included planting a church that met in a theater, and merging with another congregation. He has seen God work in challenging situations where willing servants helped good news blossom into new life. Now he serves as the executive pastor of New Church Development at Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church in Tipp City, Ohio. He oversees and encourages churches that have been planted by that thriving congregation. In this book, he presents a range of examples from around the country where unexpected initiatives are resulting in life-giving ministries. He urges us to explore the needs of people in our community, such as elementary students or immigrant neighbors, to expand our mission and share the gospel beyond our usual expectations.
We should reconsider overlooked assets in our congregation, starting with members’ gifts and abilities. What if the church were to search diligently, like the woman in Jesus’ parable, to find the lost coin? Picardo advises us to assess all the items that might no longer be used such as a set of hand bells, or land that could be sold or developed as a community garden, or space that is underutilized during the week. Relationships with leaders and organizations in your community could be nurtured into meaningful ministry partnerships. He offers creative ideas for fundraising, and guidance on pursuing grants that align with God’s vision for your context. A set of four “questions to prompt creative thinking” in chapter six may help your church council identify an opportunity for ministry that could revitalize outreach and bring renewal to your neighborhood.
This book is for church leaders who know it is time to stop waiting for the past to return, and are ready to seek God’s vision for their present and future ministries. This optimistic approach is founded on experiences of everyday disciples like Andrew, whose faithful response to Jesus has revealed God’s grace in some surprising ways.