20 Aug Partners Not Donors
“Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God. It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth” (3 John 5-8).
John commended his friend Gaius for his generosity in supporting several believers on their journeys even though they were strangers to him. This is a wonderful example of the relationship between Christian workers and their supporting team members. Those who support your organization are more than donors; they are your ministry partners. We should engage them as partners in prayer, advice, and financial support.
Are your major donors strangers to you? Can you list your top ten donors right now and share their current prayer requests? You might be able to identify them, but do you know them? Relationships go both ways. How well do your major donors know you and your ministry?
John encouraged Gaius to send the brothers and sisters on their way in a God-honoring manner. Donors honor God through their generosity. You honor God by expressing to your donors they are worth more to you than their money.
No Help from the Pagans
We should not look to the world for help. God’s work should be supported by God’s people. However, Moses instructed the Israelites to ask the Egyptians for gifts (Ex. 12:35–36). Solomon received gifts from the Gentile King Hiram (2 Chron. 2:13–16) and from the Queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10:10). Nehemiah asked the king (Neh. 2:5). Our primary constituency are those who know the Lord, but we should not reject gifts from unbelievers unless there are strings attached.
Sometimes instead of a partnership, we communicate a “They Give/We Serve” attitude. Start framing your appeals from the perspective of your ministry partners, “You can provide…” “You can impact…” “You can rescue…” You can educate…” Thank them from the same perspective, “You have made an eternal impact.” “Your giving introduced many people to Jesus for the first time.” “Through your generosity you have been the hands and feet of Jesus.”
Think About This: Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) was an African American civil rights leader and founder of Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University). In his many roles, he became a skillful fundraiser and wrote about some of his experiences in his autobiography, Up from Slavery.
“I called on a gentleman who received me in the most cordial manner. He wrote me his check for a generous sum, and then, before I had an opportunity to thank him, he said, ‘I am so grateful to you, Mr. Washington, for giving me the opportunity to help in a good cause. It is a privilege to have a share in it. We in Boston are constantly indebted to you for doing our work.’”
Response. Lord, help me see your work through the eyes of our ministry partners.
Washington, B. T. (1986). Up from slavery. New York, N.Y., U.S.A: Penguin Books., p. 184,185.
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 three books: Ask for a Fish – Bold Faith-Based Fundraising, Simply Share – Bold, Grace-Based Giving, and Keep on Asking – Bold, Spirit-Led Fundraising. He regularly presents fundraising workshops at ministry conferences and has written fundraising articles for Christian Leadership Alliance’s Outcomes magazine.