Posts Tagged ‘fundraising’

Consider the lilies of the field!

Just one month ago, Let’s Start Talking began our annual general fundraising drive.  We had approximately five weeks left in our fiscal year and were $135,000 short of our 2010 budget projections for fund raising—a very serious amount for LST.

We had a multi-pronged approach for reaching our fundraising goals: We all committed to prayerfully ask God; Sherrylee committed to calling all general donors (not worker donors) from the last two years; the staff committed to calling all our former LST workers who had been out of college at least five years, and we would ask the guests attending our Harvest Call Benefit Dinner on September 25th in Fort Worth to give. Our need/goal  was much greater than we had every even dreamed of attempting before.

By God’s grace and mercy, I’m happy to say that we received enough donations to cover the entire ministry shortfall!  I’d like to share with you, not how-to’s, but lessons remembered and learned in this month of intense fund raising!

  • God is rich! He has all the money in the world. If we look at money has something that belongs to us, then we should worry about the hard economic times many of our supporters are facing! If we understand that God is the Creator and Donor of everything we receive, then we and the people we ask for funds are just caretakers/managers/temporary users of His things!  And He is not short of funds!
  • God is grace-full! The core idea in the word grace is that of a gift!  When we ask people for gifts, we are asking for grace. If they give us a gift, they extend grace to us. If God is the First Donor of every good gift (James 1:17), then His generosity is the same as His graciousness—and He is rich in grace (Ephesians 2:7), full of grace (John 1:14), there is no end to His generosity!
  • Asking is part of God’s plan. I know we hate to ask, but this must be our problem because over and over, God has told us to ask!  Listen to these explicit instructions from God:

“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:22

“Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” John 16:24

“We have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him”. 1 John 3:21-22.

Maybe our problem is that we have gotten into the habit of asking for ourselves.

When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:3)

  • Offering others an opportunity to be blessed is a wonderful act of Christian love! Donating is a special opportunity to receive God’s blessing, if we really believe  Jesus’ words, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35)

A Choice Between Fear and Confidence!

The economy is poor, everyone’s budget is tight, our home church just launched a huge capital campaign, the economic future is unpredictable—these are all good reasons to fear asking Christians for special gifts to meet big goals.

God is rich, God is generous, and God is good—these are all better reasons for not being afraid to ask Christians for special gifts to meet big goals.

The last month of asking for LST and the astounding goodness of God in fulfilling all of His generous promises has confirmed for me again that fear is a sin, not a choice.

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Following up my post on “I Just Have To Ask . . . ” I thought I would give you a chance to express your own opinion about being asked for donations.  If you didn’t read the blog, go ahead and take the poll, then click on this link (http://wp.me/pO3kT-6S) to go back to it.  Feel free to use the new share buttons and get some of your friends to take the poll. The more, the merrier.  (And you will not get a fund raising request by answering the poll–I know what you were thinking!)

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I was caught off guard the other day in a conversation about fund-raising. We are just beginning our month-long annual fund-raising drive for the Let’s Start Talking Ministry, and I was talking to the staff about who we were going to be calling. Leslee spoke up and said, “Well don’t call Charlie Marshall (name changed) because he hates to be asked to give!”

Now I know Charlie pretty well. He does mission trips with LST every year and is a strong advocate at his church for this ministry, so I was a bit shocked to hear that he doesn’t like to be asked to give to the ministry. Here are the reasons that I came up with—and I wonder if they are generally applicable to more people than just Charlie??

  • He spends lots of his own money financing his own LST mission trips, so that should be enough.
  • He does his charitable giving for missions through his home church and thinks everybody should.
  • He doesn’t have any more money to give and is embarrassed to say no.
  • He has more money to give, but doesn’t want to and doesn’t want to have to say so.

Maybe you can think of other possibilities?

Then I was having  another conversation with missionary friends of ours who work in Africa. I was asking about a situation where some African brothers were asking LST to finance their church building project and a car—which is totally outside of LST’s mission.  He was reminding me that in many parts of Africa, asking for things from those who appear to have them is just like breathing. It is a survival technique that is not at all considered “begging,” or anything else that we westerners might find demeaning.

He then told me that just as it is natural for them to ask for what they feel they need, it is perfectly ok with them for you to say No as well.  He was telling me about how African preachers sometimes come to him and ask why the Americans get so upset when they are asked for something!!  Interesting, isn’t it!

I think a lot of us are Charlies who don’t like to be asked for money—maybe other stuff as well, but especially money, but here is a point I need you to think about

What if God were just like us—and didn’t want to be asked for anything, especially something that was His?

Our prayers would be a lot shorter, wouldn’t they!  In fact, as I think about asking and giving, several biblical texts come to mind that make me think that God is much different from us.

  • Matthew 5:42 – Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
  • Matthew 7:7 – Ask and it will be given to you. . . .
  • Matthew 7:11 – . . . how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
  • John 14:14 – You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it
  • James 4:2 – You want something but don’t get it.  . . . . You do not have, because you do not ask God.

Doesn’t this sound like it is OK with God to be an asker—in fact, He desires it!  I believe that means for me that if I am trying to be godly that it is OK , not only for me to ask others, but to be asked by others!

So my conclusion is that I am going to choose not to be offended when asked for something. And I am not going to be embarrassed if I cannot fulfill the request and must say no.  It’s a very liberating decision actually.

And where I would really like to get to is to be as God is described in Ephesians 3:20: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask. . . .” If we love others like God loves us, then it will give us great pleasure to be asked for something we can give—and we will give more than we were even asked for!

I have a great illustration of a personal experience with someone already like this: Byron Nelson, one of the greatest golfers ever and a generous Christian. It’s longer, so I’ll post it next.

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