The planter as generalist: Fund raising

I was recently in a conversation with a friend that was all too familiar. It had to do with fundraising. As we began to talk more, I could see the anxiety rising, and he looked completely overwhelmed. He told me that he would rather be doing the ministry stuff and not have to do the fundraising because it’s not fun to talk about money.

My response to this person was that it’s time to put the fun back in fundraising! People find it surprising that I see it that way. They think it’s because it is my natural bent, but it hasn’t always been something that came naturally. When I began the fundraising process for Riverbend, I had a lot of people say no to me.

When did I start seeing fundraising as fun and not just something hindering me from doing the real ministry?

1. Know your why.

It started when I determined the “why” behind what I was doing. My “why” is to serve like Jesus and share what He has done for all people. In order for that to become a reality, I would need to pray for and cultivate partnerships. When I read stories of those involved in great movements, I discovered they never went it alone.

Even the greatest church planter of all time, the Apostle Paul, cultivated partnerships. You see this play out in 2 Corinthians 8–9.

Fund raising is often seen as a hinderance. It’s a burden to the one raising the money and to the person being asked to give. But in reality, NOT asking is a hinderance. We prevent the giver from receiving the joy that comes from investing in Kingdom work and we miss the blessing of seeing God provide.

We must change our perspective and see these fundraising relationships as more than getting funds, and take the view of the Apostle Paul, in which we see the people as precious partners from God. He loved them and cultivated relationships. If you want to learn the nuts and bolts on this, check out this post.

When you keep the “why” in front of you, it will keep you motivated to keep going! What is your “why”? Do you have it written down somewhere? Keep it in front of you.

2. Let your “why” drive your what.

The “why” will drive “what” you will do. What are you doing in light of your “why” when it comes to fundraising? It starts with taking time to pray about who could help and start reaching out and updating them about what is going on. This means when you schedule your week, you put fundraising in your schedule.

Nothing will replace hard work and time invested in order to get others to invest into the good work God has called you to do. I have heard many point leaders who are waiting for it just to come together with the fundraising. If the Church is going to succeed, you will need to prioritize partnership development and fundraising. No else one in the organization can own that but you. It will take energy to cultivate these types of relationships.

3. Work your plan.

How will you work on your fundraising process this week? Write out what you will do, and give yourself a deadline. Answer the questions: What can I share with my potential partners and what can I ask them to join in with? Tell a coach or friend your plan for the purpose of accountability.

How can you share in a clear, creative and concise way the vision God has put in your heart? Don’t leave out what it costs. Every God-size vision comes at a cost, but it’s worth it. Don’t let your fear keep you from having fun in the process. There is word for doing hard things even when you are afraid: courage.

At times, this will feel like lifting weights at the gym and eating healthy. It doesn’t feel fun, but if you stick with the weight lifting and eating healthy you will enjoy the results. The same is true with fundraising. It doesn’t always feel fun, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s necessary. You can’t change that fundraising is an important part of church planting, but you can change your attitude about it.

We live in a culture that likes quick fixes, we want it fast, without inconveniences and according to our preferences. It is great to have options, but fundraising will require working a plan.

Working a plan means you have a focused tenacity. It’s what Paul refers to in Galatians 6:9: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

We often give up too soon and forfeit seeing the fundraising harvest. We will miss out on the joy that comes from the fruit that God brings. Your Heavenly Father doesn’t want you to miss out either. Work your plan, and see what God does. You don’t control outcomes, you can only surrender and be obedient to the task God has given you.

Published August 15, 2017