Losers, Vagrants, and Misfits

“David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him” (1 Samuel 22:1-2).

King Saul’s jealousy flared up against David forcing him to escape to the wilderness. Four hundred men followed David. This rag tag band of brothers “were down on their luck… losers and vagrants and misfits of all sorts” (1 Samuel 22:2 MSG). How was David supposed to face Saul’s elite fighting force with these guys? Donald Rumsfeld, famously said, “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.” Do you wish you had a different fundraising team? Consider these three strategies for developing the fundraising army you want.

♦  Listen to the Holy Spirit. Leaders lead. David’s first move was to hunker down with his fledgling army in a stronghold in Moab. Sounds like a safe choice, but the prophet Gad told him to go to Judah instead (1 Sam. 2:3-5). As leaders, we tend to lean on our own understanding (Prov. 3:5-6). Don’t be so committed to your strongholds that you miss the Holy Spirit’s prompting. Your fundraising team will respect and follow you when they sense you are following the Lord.

♦  Take Responsibility for Your Actions. Before David reached Adullam, he stopped at Nob and asked Ahimelek the priest for some bread for the men who were with him (see 1 Samuel 21:1-9). Doeg the Edomite, one of Saul’s officials, overheard David’s conversation, ratted him out to Saul and later came back to slaughter all the priests and their families. Ahimelek’s son, Abithar, escaped and told David the tragic news. David replied, “I am responsible for the death of your whole family” (1 Samuel 22:22). If you’ve made fundraising mistakes, own them. Strong leaders inspire their followers when they take responsibility for their failures and seek to improve.

♦   Lead by Example. Later, David had a prime opportunity to kill Saul (see 1 Sam. 24). His men urged him to take vengeance; instead, he cut off the corner of Saul’s robe. Afterwards, David’s conscience got the best of him and he rebuked his men for wanting to attack Saul. David was a man of action, but first he was a man of integrity. As the leader, you are the number one fundraiser for your organization. You set the pace and disciple your team through every situation. The success of your ministry rises or falls on your fundraising leadership.

How did David’s band of misfits become his mighty warriors described in 2 Samuel 23? Together, they followed David into battle and learned on the job how to kill their own Goliaths.

Response: Father, forgive me for being impatient with my fundraising team. Help me become a more effective fundraiser to lead my team to greater success.

Think About This: Every non-profit organization wants their next development hire to be forty-five years old with 30 years of fundraising experience. Instead of searching for David after Goliath, you should recruit a pre-Goliath David.

Have a Spirit-led fundraising week,


Ron Haas has served the Lord as a pastor, the vice president of advancement of a Bible college, a Christian foundation director, a board member and a fundraising consultant. He’s authored two books: Ask for a Fish – Bold Faith-Based Fundraising and Simply Share – Bold, Grace-Based Giving. He regularly presents fundraising workshops at ministry conferences and has written fundraising articles for At the Center magazine and Christian Leadership Alliance’s Outcomes magazine.

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