14 Dec God will Provide
Faith vs. Doubt in Fundraising
Christian ministry fundraising incites our Christian faith. The same God who creates our needs is the same God we must trust. We have a choice to either embrace faith or doubt. As a development director at a Christian K-12 school, I know this circumstance all too well. I rebuke doubt and embrace the belief that God will help me meet my school’s annual fundraising goal. Faith without works is dead, so I put action behind my faith and zealously serve my God, who created my fundraising needs. It is well with my soul because God provided this lack to exercise my faith. Lack often instigates doubt while fulfilled needs strengthen our faith. To quote a line from a Christian-themed, Hallmark movie, “It wouldn’t be called faith unless we had something to doubt.”
Our ministry needs set the stage for us to know Jehovah-Jireh, which means “the Lord will provide.” Scripture illustrates God our Provider in several accounts, but one account that the Holy Spirit brings to my remembrance is Elijah in 1 Kings 17. In the following passage, God commands Elijah to hide by the brook, where He will feed him:
“You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” So he went and did according to the word of the Lord. He went and lived by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. And after a while, the brook dried up because there was no rain in the land. (1 Kings 17:4-7)
In this passage, Elijah’s faith and obedience allow God to show Himself as Jehovah-Jireh. While we may not have faith as strong as those listed in Hebrews 11, we often face the same circumstance as Elijah. This circumstance allows us to experience a confirmation of God’s faithfulness.
I recently completed my doctoral dissertation that studies authentic leadership and its influence on venture philanthropy in Christian, K-12 schools. Yes, that is a mouthful. I have several stories on how God created desperate needs in my arduous academic journey only to fulfill them in His perfect timing. One humorous story that comes to mind is how God sent me a venture philanthropist to participate in my research. I prayed for God to send me another participant, and that same weekend, I received a Papa John’s pizza delivery meant for another address. I called the business, who said that I could keep the pizza. Given my petite stature, I am not one to inhale two large pizzas by myself, so I asked God what He wanted me to do with them. His Holy Spirit told me to “be a blessing,” and two of my coworkers immediately came to mind. One coworker is a hardworking father of three young students, and the other coworker is our school custodian who graciously donates $20 a month from his humble ministry paycheck.
The next morning, as I am putting their pizzas in the faculty breakroom’s fridge, my accounting director sees me and begins inquiring about my research. I informed her that I am still looking for a participant, and she insisted that I reach out to a Colorado school she used to live by before she moved to Texas. She asked me to follow her to her office and was incredibly insistent that I contact the school’s superintendent. She went as far as writing down the leader’s contact information, and to this day, she laughs at how that behavior was out of her shy character. As God would have it, the Colorado school superintendent responded to my email that same day and connected me with his school’s co-founder and philanthropist. When I spoke to her on the phone, the Lord moved me to share what inspired our phone call. After I told her my, “Papa John’s story,” she laughed and fell silent from a moment of shock and awe. She went on to say that her husband represented a company that invested in Papa John’s in its early years and how he had one-on-one meetings with its founder long before the company became a household name.
The point of my testimony is that it is God who commands the ravens, or in my case, a Papa John’s pizza deliverer, to fulfill a need. God also commanded more “ravens,” or venture philanthropists, to meet my need for research participants just as He commands them to invest generously in Christian schools. Without a need and your prayer and obedience, God cannot prove himself as a faithful provider. It is God, not a high-net-worth donor, who meets our fundraising needs by speaking His commands. Just as us ministry fundraising professionals are eager to connect with Christian philanthropists, we should be eager to connect daily with the wealthiest donor we will ever encounter – Jehovah-Jireh.