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People RaisingA Practical Guide to Raising Funds
By WILLIAM P. DILLON
MOODY PUBLISHERSCopyright © 2012 William P. Dillon
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe Benefits of Raising Funds
Many people who are called to be missionaries are given the assignment to raise funds, and yet the reality is they have never raised funds before. So it is fair to ask the question, "Why raise financial support?" I want to unveil for you the benefits of raising funds—and there are many.
Maybe you are considering missionary service of church planting, of maybe you have already been involved in ministry. In either case, the question, "Why raise financial support?" is a crucial one for you.
I grew up in a missionary home, where I saw faith at work. I attended Moody Bible Institute and heard every conceivable missionary message. I talked with many missionaries and read missionary biographies. However, it was not until I personally raised funds for our ministry that I comprehended the important reasons for developing a base of consecrated supporters. After nearly forty years, I have come to understand that raising financial support is necessary for many reasons.
Raising Financial Support Attracts a Base of Prayer Support
If you worked on our staff at Inner City Impact in a salaried position, few people would commit themselves to pray for you. However, when you serve in a missionary capacity, the people who invest financially in you are inclined to pray for you. Prayer follows financial investment.
Raising Financial Support Stretches Your Faith
To those about to begin raising funds, David Tucker of Regions Beyond Missionary Union International says: "You are about to embark on what can be one of the most maturing and spiritually fulfilling ventures of your life."
Raising financial support can be a spiritual adventure. You'll love many aspects of it. But we rarely grow and mature by doing what is easy. When friends you expected to give do not, it's discouraging. When days go by and your level of support does not increase, you may be tempted to question your call. Those are the days when you step forward in faith, trusting that God has called you and that in His time He will supply every need. Raising financial support will teach you what it means to walk by faith.
Raising Financial Support Stimulates and Encourages Vision in the Body of Christ
Raising financial support calls for the missionary or church planter to interface with other believers who make up the body of Christ. When Christians meet face-to-face, they communicate Christ's vision, His call. Another person's enthusiasm and dedication will stimulate your interest and involvement in kingdom work.
In his article "The Tin-Cup Image Can Be Shattered," Daniel Bacon describes the missionary who raises financial support as accomplishing three goals.
First, the missionary is a model for missions. That may seem scary, but you must never forget God has given you your status. In essence, you are a walking testimony of God's coveted plan for world evangelism. Bacon says, "The presence of a missionary is a living illustration of obedience to the Great Commission." In raising support, you keep God's priority of ministry in front of the body of Christ and help others become mission-minded.
Second, the missionary becomes a mobilizer for kingdom work. You provide believers the opportunity to participate in God's program for world evangelism financially and through prayer. Because of your deputation ministry, some may sense God's heart for mission and join the workforce.
Third, the missionary serves as a minister for missions and ministry. You facilitate effective communication that will bring together the mission agency and the local church. Bacon says, "The missionary obviously needs the church for support, but the church needs the missionary to extend, in obedience to the Great Commission, its ministry worldwide." We will talk more about opportunities to minister later in the book.
Raising Financial Support Broadens the Base of Financial Support for Your Organization
If your organization were to hire staff members based on their financial resources, you would have only a handful of staff. Rather, the organization counts on the staff member through his network of people to broaden its financial base. When your friends support you financially, you play an integral part in broadening your organization's financial base.
Raising Financial Support Develops You as a Person
Bud Taylor of Source of Light Ministries, International, offers this perspective:
There are many things that God will teach you that you could not possibly learn anywhere else. You learn how to work with people and how to adapt under divergent, difficult, and sometimes desperate circumstances. That is when the realization dawns that we are so limited and God is so limitless! It is not as is so often misrepresented a punitive measure, but a privilege. It is not a promotional gimmick, but a prerequisite. In the process one learns poise, polish, and proficiency and how to use time, tact, and talent to [one's] best advantage.
Raising Financial Support Stimulates Fellowship among Other Believers
As you contact your network of people and add friends to that network, you become involved with caring, praying, and burdened people. Rewarding times of fellowship result as you interact with believers through the fundraising process.
Raising Financial Support Opens Opportunities to Witness
As you travel from place to place, making new contacts, God gives divine appointments with the unsaved world. And through those opportunities, you begin to participate in others' call to fulfill the Great Commission.
Scott Steele and Tom Frieze of International Missions say, "Missions was and is God's idea, and it is a real privilege to speak to God's people about God's program and to enlist their petitions."
Raising financial support is far more than raising money. It is ministry. It is relationships. It is watching God work His eternal program for the ages in a practical way.
Chapter TwoThe Biblical Basis for Raising Funds
As you consider raising funds, you may wonder whether raising financial support is biblical. Does Scripture say anything about the process? Are there principles, commands, dos or don'ts, or any models in the Bible?
I guarantee you: The Scriptures are not silent about finances.
Jesus spoke often concerning wealth—its use and its careless abuse. In fact, He spoke more directly about stewardship than about any other subject. Approximately seven hundred direct statements in the Bible relate to finances. One could add a hundred more indirect references. Nearly two-thirds of the parables of Christ deal with the use of wealth. God often relates our use of wealth with our commitment to Him.
Teaching materials from SIM (Serving In Mission) point out, "A review of Scripture reveals an amazing amount of material related to this subject." The material that follows is adapted from SIM's "introduction to an interesting and valuable personal study."
The Old Testament Pattern
Scripture supports the idea that God is ultimately in charge of providing for His people, and your experience in fundraising will show you times when God provides miraculously—beyond any strategy or efforts of your own. Remember how God red His people, the Israelites, while they wandered in the wilderness, with the miraculous provision of quail and manna to eat (Exodus 16:13-17; Joshua 5:12), or how God provided for His servant Elijah by sending ravens with bread and meat (1 Kings 17:1-6). God can and does provide miraculously sometimes.
But God put a structure in place for the support of ministry workers. Numbers 18:21-24 lays out the Old Testament pattern for support. God called for the nation of Israel to give a tithe to support their "full-time" spiritual leaders. God never changed the plan, and the Old Testament ends with a stern rebuke to the nation for not giving these tithes (Malachi 3:8). This was God's plan, not something Moses or Aaron dreamed up.
"I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the Tent of Meeting. From now on the Israelites must not go near the Tent of Meeting, of they will bear the consequences of their sin and will die. It is the Levites who are to do the work at the Tent of Meeting and bear the responsibility for offenses against it. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. They will receive no inheritance among the Israelites. Instead, I give to the Levites as their inheritance the tithes that the Israelites present as an offering to the Lord. That is why I said concerning them: 'They will have no inheritance among the Israelites.'" (Numbers 18:21-24)
God's tithing system is restated in Deuteronomy 14:22-29, stipulating that a portion of the tithe is intended to cover the Levites (full-time ministry workers). In 2 Chronicles 31:4, Hezekiah the king orders his subjects who lived in Jerusalem to provide for the priests and the Levites, so they could devote themselves to God's law.
You'll recall also that God called on His people to provide for the creation of the Tabernacle (Exodus 25-31,35-40) and for the building of the temple (1 Chronicles 29; 2 Chronicles 2; 2 Chronicles 4:4-22; Ezra 1).
God's plan was that the people as a group should provide for those in ministry, and leaders regularly called on God's people to make that provision.
The New Testament Pattern
In Luke 8:1-3, we see the pattern for support illustrated in Jesus' ministry. He allowed others to minister to Him physically and materially. He was not embarrassed to receive help as they gave to Him of their substances (goods, possessions, and property). These verses include the statement that "The Twelve were with him" (Luke 8:1). The implication is that Jesus and His disciples were giving themselves fully to ministering to people, and the people were providing for their needs.
After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Johanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod's household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means. (Luke 8:1-3)
The Twelve were sent out by direction from Jesus, not by their own choice or volition (Matthew 10:5). They were to give themselves fully to ministry, not to earning a living. They were not allowed to take food or money for operating expenses. Rather, they were to depend on God's supply, and God's plan for that provision was through other people (Matthew 10:5-15).
God's Plan Calls for Christian Workers To Share Their Needs
The disciples were instructed to inquire who in the city was worthy of God's blessing (Matthew 10:11). Apparently they were to request hospitality from one of those families. The implication is that God was going to bless the home that provided hospitality because of tire disciples' presence. But the disciples had to be bold to the point of actually asking for lodging.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul clearly states that he expects fellow Christians to help him on his way to Spain to preach the gospel. There appears to be no hesitation in his statement: "I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to visit you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while" (Romans 15:24).
Paul makes another direct request for financial help from a church in 2 Corinthians 1:15-16: "Because I was confident of this, I planned to visit you first so that you might benefit twice. I planned to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you flora Macedonia, and then to have you send me on my way to Judea." (See also I Corinthians 16:6 and Philippians 4:10-20.)
In the Old Testament, the prophet Elijah was bold to ask for the last bit of food a widow had. Elijah based his request on his confident trust that God would reward the woman's faith. The result was God's provision for Elijah need and His great blessing on the widow and her son.
The word of the Lord came to [Elijah]: "Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food." So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, "Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?" As she was going to get it, he called, "And bring me, please, a piece of bread."
"As surely as the Lord your God lives," she replied, "I don't have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die."
Elijah said to her, "Don't be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land.'"
She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah. (1 Kings 17:8-16)
SIM makes the following statement regarding raising funds.
If the Lord has called you into full-time Christian ministry, it is His plan that you be supported by other Christians except in unusual cases. It is His plan, not just your plan o1 your organization's plan.
Support raising is a ministry. It is not begging people for money. Rather, it is an opportunity for you to share your vision ... People must be challenged to have a part in the Great Commission through you.
Support raising provides opportunity for blessing to those who give to you. And God gives them credit for your fruit.
Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They area fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:17-19)
For the sake of the gospel, it is appropriate to share our specific needs with those capable of helping us. Thus, support raising systems do not detract from trusting God as the source of the supply of your need.
Clearly Scripture is not silent about finances. Through the centuries, God has supplied His people's needs through others. You can be confident that He has promised to supply your every need as well (Philippians 4:19).
That raises more questions: Do we tell people our needs? Do we ask for support? Or do we wait in full faith that God will direct others to meet our needs without our revealing those needs? We will address these questions in the next chapter as we study the convictions of God's great heroes of faith.
Excerpted from People Raising by WILLIAM P. DILLON Copyright © 2012 by William P. Dillon. Excerpted by permission of MOODY PUBLISHERS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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