Friday, October 26, 2012

Calling delinquent donors: Part 2 - Just do something

Yesterday we looked at some fears that can lead us to avoid calling delinquent donors. Today we'll examine a familiar story that should help calm those fears.

First off, when it comes to calling delinquent donors, remember that the most likely people to give again are those who have given previously. I've found that in most cases delinquent donors have simply overlooked it and are quick to give a "catch-up" gift.

It's more important, however, to realize that the worst thing you can do is to do nothing.

Consider the familiar story of 1 Samuel 17. (If you haven't read it recently, take a moment to read it now before continuing.) Here we find the decked-out Israelite army ready for battle, but a giant named Goliath comes out twice a day for forty days (v16) and threatens them.

That's eighty times that Goliath frightened Israel into inaction! While our delinquent donor situation is somewhat less dramatic, our fears usually don't distinguish between the two situations and can easily lead us to the same inaction.

We all know what happens next. A young shepherd boy (v14-15) shows up with lunch for his brothers (v17-18), he hears Goliath's threat (v23), and then decides to do something (v32). It's not a particularly well-thought-through plan (v37), and it's actually Plan B (v40) since Plan A involved armor that didn't work well for him (v38-39).

In the end, the problem of Goliath wasn't that he was particularly difficult to defeat (v49), but that Israel had allowed their fears of what might happen to keep them from rationally realizing the truth that David saw:
Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD's, and he will give you into our hand." (1 Samuel 17:45-47 ESV)
In other words, Israel did a lot of nothing (unless you count cowering) for forty days. The alternative that David proposed was doing something, even if that something was not particularly thought-through. The key wasn't that David had a plan fully figured out, but that He put his hope in the right Commander.

If the battle is the LORD's, how much more is our fundraising?

If a stone can slay a giant, how much must we fear a phone call?

But let's take this one step further. Many years later, another Man stepped forward to rescue a fearful people from another giant named Sin. And unlike the shepherd we read about in 1 Samuel, when this Shepherd rushed into the battle, God gave Him into the hands of the giant.

Following the Lord faithfully doesn't always mean that Plan B works out.  It could certainly be that the fears we listed yesterday turn out to be legitimate. You may have an awkward moment or two. You may get ridiculed. You may even lose support.

But the LORD saves not with sword and spear, nor does He save with faithful monthly supporters. Rather, God saves through Jesus Christ. He is the one who rose again to defeat Sin once and for all. He is the one who will provide every dollar we need, even if it means losing some support along the way. He is the one who has risen that we need never fear again:
When I saw Him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But He laid his right hand on me, saying, "Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades." (Revelation 1:17-18 ESV)
So don't listen to your fears of calling delinquent donors. Rather, confidently pick up your phone and know that a far greater battle has already been won for you. You don't even need to figure out a great plan.

You just need to do something.