A young woman brought her fiancé home to meet her parents. After dinner, her mother told the girl’s father to find out about the young man. The father invited the fiancé to his office for a talk.
“So, what are your plans?” the father asked the young man.
“I am a biblical scholar,” he replied.
“A biblical scholar, hmmm?” the father said. “Admirable, but what will you do to provide a nice house for my daughter to live in?”
“I will study,” the young man replied, “and God will provide for us.”
“And how will you buy her a beautiful engagement ring, such as she deserves?” asked the father.
“I will concentrate on my studies,” the young man replied, “God will provide for us.”
“And children?” asked the father. “How will you support children?”
“Don’t worry, sir, God will provide,” replied the fiancé.
The conversation proceeded like this…and each time the father questioned, the young idealist insisted that God would provide.
Later, the mother asked, “How did your talk go, honey?”
The father answered, “He has no job, he has no plans, and he thinks I’m God.”
Funny story but it brings home a great point – we can have faith, but we also must have “works” to bring in funds for the ministry God has called us to. As our dear mentor James states, “Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?” James 2:20 (ESV). All the thinking, planning, and talking will not produce anything apart from actually doing it.
So how do you gather funds for the ministry? First, it starts with faith. You have to BELIEVE that God wants you in this ministry and that He CAN and WILL bring in the funds. (See last month’s High Calling.) But you have to be on HIS page, not Him on yours. Are all of you – staff and board/committees – on the same page with regard to the ministry itself and fund-gathering? Have all of you spent time together praying and seeking God on how He wants you to gather resources? Has a clear plan from God emerged? Who’s leading the effort? What are the action steps? How will you measure success? Have you identified funding sources such as markup on literature, church partnership fees, board and committee efforts, events, grants, and more? A famous pastor once said, “God always hits a moving target.” If you are not moving, talking to people, gathering information, and praying through it all, it is doubtful you will see much fruit.
Start with BELIEVING that God wants you in this ministry and that He CAN and WILL bring in the funds when you are on HIS page. Then gather staff and boards and committees to spend time seeking God’s plan. When you seek His face, He will not turn you away. He will show you the path forward, step by step, when you are fully relying on Him. There will still be work but work is always part of trusting God! “Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:18.)
What is the path to gathering funds for God’s ministry? The answer will only come when you spend time getting aligned with God. Jeremiah 33:3 (ESV), “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and tell you great and hidden things you have not known.”
Lord, teach us how to be aligned with You so that we can be blessed by who You are! In Jesus’ mighty name, AMEN.