23 Oct Weak Fundraising
At 16 years of age, Uzziah was crowned king. Pretty heady stuff for a teenager. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and God gave him success. He fortified Jerusalem, built towers in the wilderness to protect the people, and assembled more than 300,000 troops. Uzziah was a genius in designing war machines. “In Jerusalem he made devices invented for use on the towers and on the corner defenses so that soldiers could shoot arrows and hurl large stones from the walls” (2 Chron. 26:15). God blessed him with victories over all the surrounding nations. Uzziah was living the life, but he got too big for his britches and God taught him humility. “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18). Pride embeds itself deep in our hearts but eventually rises to the surface. Ironically, fundraising success can derail you and your ministry. You begin to trust your own human efforts instead of God’s provision. Uzziah made three crucial mistakes.
Uzziah was successful at the beginning of his reign because he listened to godly counsel. “He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success” (2 Chron. 26:5). Zechariah died and Uzziah took a tragic turn to the dark side of pride. Who are the “Zechariahs” in your life? How often do you seek their advice? Do you have a leadership coach to mentor you? Who keeps you grounded?
Uzziah desired to burn incense on the altar of incense. Eighty-one godly priests warned him against it, but he wouldn’t listen. Some executive directors who have a little fundraising success think they know everything they need to know and stop listening to those around them. They don’t take advice from their team and push forward with their own agenda. Before you ask your key major donor for a gift, ask your team for their insights for the right project and the right amount. How willing are you to submit to their counsel when it goes against what you think?
It’s great to have confidence in your fundraising abilities, but overconfidence is a trap. You become tone deaf to what your donor wants to accomplish with their giving and only pitch your ministry objectives. Some leaders develop an arrogant attitude believing the donor serves their ministry instead of the other way around. Uzziah charged right into the Temple and the Lord struck him with leprosy. He left immediately and spent the remainder of his days in a separate house banned from the temple (2 Chron. 26:21). Pride is an ugly attitude that will isolate you from your team and even your major donors.
Think About This: In the Christian walk, weakness is strength. You can attempt to fundraise in your own strength, but you will miss the power of Christ (see 2 Cor. 12:9-10). Boldly fundraise with humility.
Response: Lord, give me genuine humility and grace as I encourage our ministry partners to give generously.
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.