TEENA M. STEWART has served in ministry leadership for years, most recently at Northgate Christian Fellowship in Benicia, California and at Java Journey Coffee Shop Ministry in Hickory, North Carolina (http://www.javajourney.org) where she and her husband, Jeff, an ordained minister, currently serve in market place ministry. Teena’s published articles have appeared in Leadership, Discipleship Journal, Ministry Magazine and many other publications. Book credits include Successful Small Groups from Concept to Practice (Beacon Hill), co-authoring The World’s Easiest Pocket Guide to Money and Marriage with Jeff Stewart and Larry Burkett and contributions to several anthologies, most recently Follow Your Dreams (Thomas Nelson).

Teena is also an artist and jewelry designer. Visit her art website at http://www.serendipitini.com. In addition, she uses her administrative and creative skills to oversee Safe Harbor Rescue Mission’s Resource Warehouse and Gallery http://www.resourcewarehouse.org/.

For more info on Teena’s writing visit http://www.teenastewart.com

Tina’s latest book is Benevolence: Ministry to the Poor and Needy (Beacon Hill, 2011). Here’s a brief synopsis:

A sign of Christian maturity is our willingness to look beyond our own needs to care for the needs of others. Scripture references more than 2,000 passages regarding the poor and needy. Giving back is clearly important to God.

Many want to care for the poor and disadvantaged but don’t know how to connect with needs. Others may already be giving back, but need guidance to prevent them from doing a disservice to themselves or those they assist. Still others struggle with how to launch and/or manage benevolence ministries. Ministry leader and author Teena Stewart responds to these challenges in her book Benevolence: Ministry to the Poor and Needy which encourages and equips Christians for effective benevolence ministry.

The book’s unique accompaniments includes interviews with individuals involved in  benevolence ministries across the nation as well as how-to advice for developing benevolence teams and boards. The wealth of information covers sample mission statements, guidelines, policies and procedures, resources, outreach ideas, promotional ideas, an appendix of benevolence resources, and chapter questions to help readers reflect on best benevolence practices related to benevolence ministry.

The book targets benevolence-minded individuals seeking to improve how they minister to the needy, plus pastors and church leaders wishing to motivate and equip congregational members in the realm of benevolence.

Learn more from Teena and her book as she answers a few questions in the interview below:

Q:  What motivated you to write this book?

A: At the time this book was conceived I was on staff at Northgate Christian Fellowship Church in the San Francisco Bay area. I saw the needs of the hurting and broken as they came in or called in and how they were handled.  I also helped organize a special event where we coordinated multiple opportunities for our church members to get involved in area charities and service projects. I learned volumes.

People often want to help the needy or local charities but do not know who to help, or how to go about it in a healthy way. Individuals might give money to someone in need in order to cleanse their conscience but without thought to whether it will truly help them or not. I am a natural encourager and equipper and I wanted to share my knowledge regarding how individuals and churches could have a positive impact on helping hurting people.

Q:  Why should we care about the poor and needy?

A:  Many people claim to follow the teachings of Christ. A sign of Christian maturity is our willingness to look beyond our own needs to care for the needs of others. Scripture references more than 2,000 passages regarding the poor and needy.  Giving back is clearly important to God.

Q:  What has your present work for a women’s rescue mission taught you about helping the needy?

A:  I have worked in a number of capacities at Safe Harbor Rescue Mission in Hickory, NC, most currently as their Resource Warehouse and Gallery Director. The experience has been amazing. I’ve learned so many things. First, that sometimes people have landed in difficult life circumstances because they had no choice. Some have had really difficult upbringings. In other cases it is because of poor choices. Sometimes they remain broken or in need because of emotional illness or physical disabilities. It has taught me to look at the underprivileged and hurting with new eyes. It used to be I would see a homeless person and think, “why don’t you just get a job?” Now I look at them and consider the myriad of things that may have brought them to that point.  I’ve also learned how many hands it takes to turn one life around.

Q:  Tell us a little more about your book

A:  I spent a lot of time interviewing different people involved in benevolence ministry for this book. So you will find those accounts in the book. The book also includes advice for developing benevolence teams and boards, sample mission statements of charitable ministries, guidelines, policies and procedures for handling benevolence needs, resources, outreach ideas, promotional ideas. It also has an appendix of benevolence resources, and chapter questions to help readers reflect on best benevolence practices related to benevolence ministry.

Q:  What is the exact book title and where can people purchase it?

A:  It is called Benevolence: Ministering to the Poor and Needy (Beacon Hill, 2011) and you can find it at most book stores including online entities such as amazon.com or on the Nazarene Press website http://www.nph.com/nphweb/html/nph/index.jsp. I will be available after June 1, 2011.

It sounds wonderful! Thanks so much, Teena, for letting us know about your book. No doubt it will be a blessing to all who read it.

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