Giving is a complex matter. It is tied up with our background, upbringing, attitude, financial standing, need, charity interests and level of social involvement. It is also tied up with the expectations placed upon us as well as a host of personal motivations, from feelings of guilt to ambitions of increasing our status. Sometimes giving is simply the fashionable thing to do, but it is also may be related to a personal challenge, the emotions we happen to be experiencing or where we are at the moment along life’s path. Giving surrounds us.
On the other side of the coin is the process of asking people to give. To ensure that our asking yields more fruit, methods and tools have been developed using software based on diverse platforms to analyze donor bases to determine giving habits and giving capacities. There are also specialized companies that will help prepare your reports, strategies, direct-mail campaigns and legacy-giving plans. Enterprises selling their know-how train fund developers and advancement officers as well as assisting them in achieving their annual goals. Nonprofit organizations are increasingly involved in accountability processes, joining associations promoting financial responsibility to build credibility with the public. The process of asking for donations occurs around us and to us every day.
The Bible teaches us about the joy of giving. Exodus 35:5 reveals that God commanded the Israelites to give as God had blessed them; in other words, those who had more should give more. And their contributions could comprise different things – gold, silver, acacia wood, garments, etc. Every person should give as he or she is able and according to the blessings bestowed by the Lord God . In that community, in which visits to the temple were frequent, people were reminded repeatedly of what God did for them. And in the New Testament, Jesus taught a great deal about giving – helping others, honoring God and honoring the state, sharing with the local congregation. So many verses address these issues. And in Acts and the Epistles, we have reports of giving for missions and in times of special need.
What would be the basic tenets of today’s fund development?
- It is biblical to give, because everything belongs to the Lord.
- It is biblical to give, because we have been commanded to do so.
- It is biblical to give, because in that way we are growing in faith.
- It is biblical to give, because sharing with others is biblical, also.
- Local churches should be teaching on the topic of biblical stewardship regularly and from the beginning.
- Emphasizing mission and mission work (reaching out from a local community to another continent) helps believers learn to give. Giving by faith should be encouraged because we must learn to trust God to provide life’s necessities. Supporting missions in the local church and via mission organizations is biblical, and we should practice this regularly.
- Fund developers should get involved in local churches as teachers of biblically based lessons about God’s generosity and His plan for this world.
Just imagine: If all Christians would give as they are able, they would experience so much joy that they would be eager to undertake this exercise of faith more often. As the old saying goes, if everyone comes to church with an attitude to serve others, everyone will go home having been served. The same principle could be used in giving: If all Christians would give as they are able, all church and missions programs would be funded, all missionary support raised and all worthwhile projects financed – and this would be true on an ongoing basis. It would be a simply wonderful message to the entire world about what Christians are doing for ”one another.”
One of the important concepts to understand in this model is that the fundraiser is not only a collector of money for projects but also a biblical teacher about stewardship and God’s economy. Givers are not just donors; they are brothers and sisters in Christ to whom God has extended the privilege of experiencing joy and worshipping Him through giving. In this regard, a fundraiser serves much like one of the pastoral staff in a local church, helping the members “do giving” the best possible way.
Do you give? Regularly? With joyful heart?
Photo credit: Charities Aid Foundation