“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
“I never seem to have enough time in a day to do everything I need to get done in my ministry.”
“I just don’t have enough willing and skilled people to get the work done.”
“We are always short of funds to carry out our mission.”
This is the third of three blogs discussing what it means to lead abundantly in a time of scarcity. In this final article we will consider the need for more resources to carry out the ministry to which we have been called.
Ministry requires resources; the money, facilities and materials that are necessary to fund and support the work to which we have been called. Fundraising can seem like a relentless taskmaster, continually pushing us to find the money we need to pay salaries and meet operational expenses, and beyond that to expand into new areas and fund new programs. Why is it so hard to fund God’s work? Let me offer three steps in raising resources in a God-pleasing and successful manner.
Many if not most leaders carry the burden to find more and more resources to finance their work. For most, the work of raising money seems far removed from the work that they love and were called to do. This feeling can lead to the temptation to separate our fundraising work from our ‘real ministry’. We adopt the attitude that we will endure the hardship of fundraising if it will bring the money we need to ‘do’ our ministry. I would suggest this is an altogether wrong attitude. Instead, we must understand that raising funds IS ministry. In fact, for pastors and other spiritual leaders, it may be the most profound ministry you have! Remember Jesus’ words, “for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21) We don’t raise money in order to do ministry, instead we do ministry in and through our work of raising money. Every person in our ministry needs to be equipped, guided and challenged to be a generous, godly steward. They need to develop hearts that are rich toward God and experience for themselves the joy of selfless generosity. They need to give as a sign of their freedom from the greed and selfishness of our times. And they need to give that God may use them to build his kingdom. For these reasons and more, your work of raising money is ministry. The first step in securing resources for your ministry is to own this statement and have it guide all you do.
The second step is honesty. We must be honest with our supporters as to our needs and the way their support will be used. If our supporters are more than checkbooks to us (and they must be!), they need to be well-informed of our challenges and opportunities as full partners in our work. This is especially true in a time of financial shortfall. Rather than reducing communications, this is a time to share your needs with them openly and invite them to seek God in making a generous response. This requires time and presence. We must inform and involve our supporters in our work if we are to help them align their hearts with our mission. If we see fundraising as a part of our ministry (step #1), then we will make it a priority to invest the time to build open and honest relationships with our supporters. They in turn will respond with the generosity and support we need to carry out our work.
The third step is trust in God to bring the increase. If we truly believe that God’s people will support God’s work by listening and responding to the Holy Spirit, then we must trust that God will supply all of our needs. And this is where Christian leaders must truly lead. If you are always short of the money you think you want to fund your ministry, have you ever considered that God may be giving you all of what you need, asking simply that you be faithful in using it? If God is our supply, does it not make sense that what he is supplying may be sufficient, even if it seems like much less than what we want? Be faithful with what you have; be thankful for it and invest it wisely, and let God take care of meeting your wants.
I believe that following these three steps – seeing your fundraising work as ministry, being honest in communicating with your supporters, and trusting God to meet your needs – are the keys to raising resources in times of scarcity. Remember, we worship a God of absolute abundance, and if we are faithful, he will indeed supply all of our needs, according to his great riches in Christ Jesus. May that be your legacy as you lead your ministry.