Book Review: When Not to Borrow

Book Review: When Not to Borrow

When Not to Borrow: Unconventional Financial Wisdom to Set Your Church Free

By Ray Bowman and Eddy Hall (reviewed by Peter DeHaan)

In When Not to Borrow, authors Ray Bowman and Eddy Hall look at church debt. They expose how it can cripple an organization by limiting ministry, curtailing outreach, and stunting growth. Though unconventional in its pronouncements, When Not to Borrow, does indeed provide financial wisdom to free a church from the burden of debt, opening the door to more effective and less stressful ministry.

Divided into three parts, When Not to Borrow addresses a trio of financial barriers that churches face when they have debt of any magnitude. In short, these barriers render a church “overloaded” with debt, take them “off course” of their mission, and leave then “underfueled” for ministry.

In addressing these common and incapacitating issues, Bowman and Hall provide a series of difficult, yet common sense steps to move a church towards financial freedom. The first is to move “from indebtedness to provision.” The second is to shift “from institutionalism to purpose.” The third is to progress “from insufficiency to plenty.” Following these prescriptions is both difficult and lengthy, involving much sacrifice along the way, but the result is a church that is “free to fly,” no longer overloaded, off-course, or underfueled.

When Not to Borrow is an excellent follow-up to Bowman and Hall’s watershed book When Not to Build, but it even more appropriately serves a worthy precursor, providing an astute path to follow before a church building project is ever contemplated. Like its predecessor, When Not to Borrow, should be required reading for every pastor, church leader, and church board.

[When Not to Borrow: Unconventional Financial Wisdom to Set Your Church Free, by Ray Bowman and Eddy Hall. Published by Baker Books, 1996. ISDN: 780-8010-9021-0. 139 pages.]

Read more book reviews by Peter DeHaan.


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