Thoughts on Fundraising by Saint Paul of Tarsus and Henri Nouwen

Is fundraising a meaningful spiritual practice?  Does it fit into the matrix of ministry?  The work of “fundraising” has been labeled by a few minds as some irreverent effort that has no place in churches.  The implication is that asking for dollars is manipulative and represents a lack of trust in the provision of God.  Thankfully, this is not the only belief on the topic of congregational fundraising.  The other view is that fundraising and church can coexist. 

Fundraising can be embraced, valued, and learned.  It can also connect us to the work of God in the world.  Fundraising cultivates giving and givers.  Saint Paul spent a great deal of breath in his second letter to the church at Corinth doing the work of cultivation and fund development (see chapters 8 & 9).  Asking for money and developing generous people is a form of ministry, and the below are reasons churches should consider developing this ministry in their faith communities:

  1. One of the “fruits” of the spirit is generosity.  If God is working to produce generous giving in people, shouldn’t we join God in His work and do our part to inspire generosity?  Fundraising is an activity that inspires generosity.
  2. We are called to give of our financial resources to help the poor, the marginalized, one another, and to spread the good news of the Kingdom of God throughout the world.  Fundraising is an activity that helps move money in the direction of these missions.
  3. Challenging ourselves and others to “grow” in the practice of giving/sharing/stewarding enables us to renew our minds, say “no” to the voices of consumerism, and “yes” to the calls of simplicity, contentment, and a commitment to serving God.  Fundraising is an activity that develops a deeper discipleship.
  4. Cultivating givers connects the one doing the asking with the one being asked. In these conversations, relationship-building occurs.  Fundraising is an activity that develops  communities where disciples support and encourage one another.

Who better to sum up this case statement for fundraising than Henri Nouwen?  “Fundraising is as spiritual as giving a sermon, entering a time of prayer, visiting the sick, or feeding the hungry”. (A Spirituality of Fundraising) Don’t deprive yourself or your congregation of this great spiritual discipline.

But don’t take our words for it, try it yourself and see what happens.

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