Thursday, March 7, 2013

Fundraiser: Friend of the church

This is a guest post by fellow fundraiser Dan "Dan Miller" Miller. Interested in writing a guest post? Write to gospel.fundraiser@gmail.com.
Credit: flickr user "lovstromp"
Creative Commons License

I'll never forget the first time I concluded that support raising was an impossible mountain to climb. It was the day before I actually started making calls.

I was sitting in my home church on Sunday morning, having recently moved back to my hometown to raise funds for full-time ministry. I had been going there almost all my life, but that Sunday morning felt different. Same music. Same smiling faces. Same row of seats that my parents practically owned. I was torn between listening to the sermon and devising who I was going to tackle afterwards and make a sales pitch to. I was tense.

Then the pastor finished with this uplifting exhortation: "And that's why, starting tomorrow, we'll be starting a massive phone campaign to raise funds for our new church building."

Roll credits. My sad biography was over. I considered stopping at Taco Bell afterwards to ask for my old job back.

I was in such a haze that I didn't end up talking to anyone afterwards. I somehow ended up at home, staring at my list of prospective supporters, mentally drawing a big red line through everyone who I saw that morning.

I mean, how do you compete with a church?

As I learned over the next 18 months, it's easy: you don't.

A few thousand years ago, the Apostle Paul thankfully wrote this:
"We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord..."  (2 Corinthians 8:1-3 ESV)
Okay, what do we see?
  • People give because of God's grace in their lives.
  • Giving is related to joy.
  • Poor people can be joyful too. 
  • People give according to their means... and beyond their means.
Which means this: That Sunday morning, my contact list should not have shrunk.

It should have gotten bigger.

As the years have passed and I have seen God remove more and more scales from my eyes, I have seen my home church and other churches in the area explode with people who were happy to give to God's work through their church and through my ministry calling. I get to help them expand their joy not just to the walls of their church and the ends of their cities. I get to help their joy spread to the ends of the earth!

So I'm a friend of the church. And I'm still meeting new friends whenever I visit home.