When you plant a church, you have to do some fundraising. Someone asked me what I thought of this. Would I be comfortable talking with people about donating money? I’d have to be, I replied, or else I’m finished before I even start.
I’m far from an expert on how to do this, but I have been learning, and the learning has been good for me. Let me describe what I’ve been learning under three categories: a warning, a change in perspective, and some tools.
When you talk money, you’re talking about one of the most prevalent idols around. How do people react when you mess with their idols? It’s even more dangerous because most of us forget about how idolatrous our hearts are when it comes to money. Be prepared. Don’t think you can talk about money without encountering the issue of idolatry, and the very real possibility that everyone you talk to is struggling in this area.
A Change in Perspective
One of the most helpful things for me was to talk to a missionary who is raising support. We talked about how we have to go around and talk to a lot of people, inviting them to partner with us in our ministries. It would be easy to grumble about this. He said that he’s chosen to see it as a blessing. His job, he said, is to strengthen relationships with friends. That change in perspective helped me. When you look at it this way, it’s actually a privilege.
There have been other changes in perspective as well:
- Fundraising is not about begging. It’s about inviting people to participate in ministry.
- Fundraising isn’t ultimately for the ministry’s benefit. It benefits the giver, and is an act of worship before God. The fact that ministry takes place is only part of what’s going on.
- Fundraising isn’t a distraction from ministry. It is ministry.
- The money doesn’t come from donors. It ultimately comes from God.
There have been more, but you get the point. I see fundraising completely differently than I did a few months ago.
Here are some tools that may be helpful for you, whether you’re a pastor, church planter, or missionary.
- Generous Church – Seriously. Why did I not know about this website and their great resources before? Good blog, books, quotes, and more.
- Generis – Jon Sturdevant and others have a heart for church planters.
- There are a number of books I’d recommend: People Raising: A Practical Guide to Raising Funds, Friend Raising: Building a Missionary Support Team That Lasts, Contagious Generosity: Creating a Culture of Giving in Your Church (just released), and A Spirituality of Fundraising.
I still have lots to learn in this area. What have you learned or found helpful?