Thursday, February 26, 2015

7 Things I'd Miss If I Didn't Do Fundraising

Fundraising is hard work and it's really, really easy to come up with reasons why I don't want to do it.  Often my heart screams at me to just "get a normal job".  But in my sober moments, I know that I'd really miss the rich benefits of fundraising.

Here are 7 things I'd miss if I didn't do fundraising:

#1: Having a huge, godly family

Though I didn't know it when I started fundraising, over time I realized that God had provided a huge, godly "family" around me.  I have dozens of "moms" and "dads" who love me a ton and are constantly offering up prayers and sending me encouragement.  There are few things I love more than going "home" to visit them and hearing how God has been at work.

Moreover, there are many on my support team that I really look up to.  They're gifted in so many ways - ways that have convicted and inspired me.  Some of my biggest heros are people I met through fundraising.

#2: Reaffirming my calling regularly

A repeated assertion in this blog is that fundraising is hard.  And whenever anything's hard, it makes us question if it's worth doing.  Though it's tempting to view such questioning as a bad thing, I've seen many times in my own life that the end result of asking these questions is a deeper resolve.  In fact, I'm convinced that my earlier years as an atheist came about precisely because I didn't ask enough questions.

Fundraising causes me to question regularly whether I truly feel called to the ministry I'm involved in.   After asking these questions almost 13 years now, it's only caused me to love this ministry more deeply.

#3: Recalling God's faithfulness constantly

The very nature of fundraising requires me to share my testimony at every opportunity.  Though I confess that at times, in my selfishness, I've grown tired of sharing it over and over again, I've realized that I never have to share it the same way twice - and actually I'd do well to purposefully connect it to each person's own story as best I can.  This causes me to remember God's faithfulness to me constantly and in fresh ways.

Moreover, though it's not always super-encouraging to read my monthly reports at the end of the month, I've learned to focus my viewpoint on what God has provided rather than on what He has withheld.  Recalling God's faithfulness fills me with thankfulness for His monthly provisions.

#4: Reminders that this is not my home

Most fundraisers I know could be pulling in a more impressive paycheck if they'd used their skills in the secular world.  For example, a couple years ago a friend shared with me his job description.  It sounded remarkably similar to mine, except that he was working for a big company rather than a small ministry - and it turned out that he was making over three times what I made!  That led me to have one of those "reaffirming my calling regularly" moments!

In pondering that further, however, I was grateful.  Yes, we fundraisers may not be able to afford the same kinds of vacations or houses, but in realizing what we can't have in this life, we can have excellent reminders that this is not our home.  One day we will reign with Jesus.  But not yet.

#5: Financial security

The flipside of #4 is #5: fundraisers actually have great financial security!  When the recession hit the US years ago, my support level dropped - but only by a small percentage.  However, many of my friends and family lost their jobs altogether.  They may have been making more than I did before the financial crisis, but even my smaller portion was better than suddenly having nothing!  Fundraisers are recession-proof.

#6: Fantastic training for ministry

Yes, fundraising IS ministry - but fundraising is also not your end-goal.  Yet, your end-goal ministry will benefit tremendously from your time in fundraising!  You're learning to connect with all manner of people, to share the gospel in winsome ways, to network when you're out of contacts, to be diligent, to rely on God to provide (see #7), etc.  Honing these skills now will allow you to hit the ground running once you're fully-funded.

#7: Increasing my dependence on God

I'm personally convinced that God can finish your fundraising anytime He wants.  Money is not the limiting factor.  Rather, He wants you to learn something.  That something almost certainly includes dependence.  And patience.  And crying out to Him when all else seems lost.

That way He gets the glory, you get the blessing and the world gets to see what faith looks like.

I wouldn't trade that for anything.

What would you add to this list?