I have heard the following opinions from gospel-workers in many cultures, including my own people in rural Iowa!
- Face-to-face appeals won’t work in my culture.
- There’s no money out there. We must go ‘outside’ for funding.
- Asking affects relationships.
These opinions do not come from philosophical meandering but were germinated from painful disappointments. Fair enough, but are these opinions are accurate for all time. What to do next?
Perhaps my story can help. After quitting my job at the newspaper, I launched out in ministry with two strong opinions about fundraising:
- Asking is wrong. ‘By prayer alone’ was my plan—like the saints of old!
- Friends will give automatically without my doing a thing.
But no one sent money. And praying like the saints of old brought only two ‘non-asked for miraculous gifts.’ Totaling $45. But ministry was going well so I lived in financial denial! Someday money will come…someday….
But soon we had eaten through our meager savings and we couldn’t pay our bills. It was then that my wife Alma (who was not living in denial) asked me politely:
“Are you going to support this family or not?”
I didn’t know what to do. I needed to give time to the students on campus, but there were no fundraising seminars. The advice I got was unhelpful—things like:
- Sell Christian materials.
- Just trust God.
- Get a real job!
Discouraged, I sat at my ‘desk’—a spindly card table in a bedroom—with a blank sheet of paper and my bible. Where to look? My concordance did not have a ‘fundraising’ category.
Finally I stumbled across Numbers 18 about God providing for the Levites, then Philippians 4 about Paul receiving funding from Philippi. And then I discovered Luke 8:1-3 about the women funding Jesus, “many women” it said. Wow!
Gradually, I realized my no-ask opinion was not from God—the bible showed gospel-workers asking! Freed up, I began making appeals. Sure, I made tons of mistakes, but people responded.
What brought me freedom from bondage about fundraising—the bible! And to this day, I still exhilarate in finding new insights from the Scriptures about funding.
How about you? Do you face a specific perplexing funding issue right now? Bring it to the bible! You will find answers!
Remember the words of Jesus, who when tempted by Satan said:
“Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every opinion that comes out of the mouth of [your name].”
Let’s try that again! “…every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”
If the bible is not ‘top-of-mind’ in your fundraising, you will resort to your experience-oriented opinion or your culture’s opinion. That is dangerous. The bible must be our guide for life and ministry. The bible trumps your culture! The bible trumps your opinions!
Now, here’s good news—there are not 8000 bible verses on fundraising! I find about 51 that teach or give examples about funding the work of God. You can master 51—that is do-able!
Why not start today to study these 51 funding passages in depth? Click here to download your copy of the 51 top funding passages. And dive in!
Historical note: In teaching the importance of Scripture to leaders, former Navigator President Lorne Sanny said, “I’d rather be known as a ‘bible-doer’ than a ‘bible-teacher!’” May that be said of us as well.
But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. —James 1:22