Book of the Week – Giving Back (Merril Oster and Mike Hamel)

Giving Back
Using Your Influence to Create Social Change
By Merril J. Oster and Mike Hamel

We often hear of entrepreneurs-those people who take an idea or concept and make it come alive and make the world a better place. They are usually known by the wealth they accumulate because of the risk and daring they took.

Merrill Oster and Mike Hamel would like to make a distinction. Those that profit from advances or research or inventions are, in their words, “business entrepreneurs.” They seek to also make known to us “social entrepreneurs”, investing time, talent and other resources in order to make the neighborhood or some area of the world a better place. 

Each chapter in this book features the background of the key individual and why he or she started or got involved with the ministry associated with him or her. It is refreshing how many of these people rose from circumstances similar to the people they now serve. In a way, the troubles they’ve seen help them have empathy and a concern for those in similar straits. Each chapter also has a “Givers and Receivers” section that looks at who gives assistance and to whom it is given. Contact information for each group is also included. Also, books that have influenced the featured individual are also included. This helps the individual or group looking to begin a ministry learn from what others have done in beginning such a ministry.

I heartily recommend this book. As St. James wrote, “Faith without works is dead.” The people featured in these pages have put their faith in action and made a difference. What they have learned can be learned by any of us getting into ministry work that makes a difference in our spheres of influence even as we share the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. (Review by John L. Hoh, Jr.)

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