Investing in the Kingdom; Biblical fundraising
By Kate Nicholas
What does Biblical fundraising look like and can asking for funds ever be regarded as a ministry? Jesus, of course, had a great deal to say about money, mainly because our attitude towards it is a key indicator of where our heart lies and what we most value, which is why some Christians might feel uncomfortable about asking others for money, even to fund a God-given mission.
However, there are plenty of examples of key figures fundraising for God’s work in the Bible, from Moses and David to Hezekiah and Nehemiah – even Jesus’ ministry was funded by his wealthy followers. Only a few years after Jesus’ death, the Apostle Paul also embarked on a major fundraising drive on behalf of the impoverished Christians in Jerusalem and, in a donor appeal letter to the church in Corinth, encouraged a form of regular giving saying, “Now about the collection for God’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of the week, each of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up” (1 Cor. 16:1-2).
How to fundraise
The Bible also provides us with some principles of how we should fundraise; in particular it makes clear that that we should not resort to coercion, manipulation or guilt people into giving, but rather rely on the Holy Spirit to prompt generosity. When God instructed Moses to conduct an ambitious capital campaign to raise resources for his Tabernacle, he said, “Tell the Israelites to take an offering for me; from every person whose heart prompts him to give” (Ex. 25:2). And Exodus reports that “they came forward – everyone who was willing and whose heart moved him came and brought and offering to the Lord” (Ex. 35:21). Likewise, when the Corinthians’ generosity began to wane, Paul wrote to them, “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, because God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7).
When Moses conducted his fundraising campaign he also offered a whole range of ways in which people could give, from the provision of precious metals to jewels, linen to animal skins, wood to incense, as well as calling for skilled craftsmen to offer their time and talent (Ex 35:5-19). He detailed out exactly what was needed, how offerings were to be used, and allowed people to engage in the way that most suited them – an approach that is particularly relevant in the 21st century, with its focus on accountability, customer choice and empowerment.
All funds belong to God
Whether we’re counting income received, donors acquired or retained, it’s also vital to remember that all funds belong to God. Just before his death, King David appealed to the leaders of the kingdom to ensure that his son Solomon had the necessary resources to complete the temple of God. And when the leaders came forward with vast offerings of gold, silver, bronze, iron and precious stones, David praised the lord, saying, “Everything comes from you, and we have given only what comes from your hand” (1 Chron. 29:15).
Biblical fundraising isn’t just a transaction, it’s about awaking a Kingdom vision within donors, awaking a God-sized vision within them and enabling them to give to Kingdom work. Christian giving is an expression of love for our neighbours, so when we fundraise we are helping to mobilise grace in action. When we empower people to give we enable transformation in their lives as well as those of our beneficiaries and when we view donors not just as a source of revenue but as image bearers of God, fundraising does indeed become a vital ministry.
ABOUT KATE NICHOLAS
Kate Nicholas is a best-selling Christian author, preacher and consultant with Action Planning and, in her latest book, Soul’s Scribe, Kate looks at how to understand and share your “soul story” or faith journey. Find out more about her books, TV show and online courses at https://www.katenicholas.co.uk
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