There are many reasons for pastors to begin cultivating planned and asset-based gifts — what we call fishing on the other side of the boat. But the heart of fundraising must always be to disciple the people of God in the proper stewardship of the assets God has given them.
Money and wealth are not evil — they are gifts.
The assets we own are blessings from our Father God given to us to provide the things we need and to fuel the work of the Kingdom.
A Biblical View of Wealth
In fact, wealth can point us to God… if we have a proper view of it as a blessing from the Lord.
In John 21, Jesus miraculously gave the disciples more fish than their nets could handle. Because they had been discipled, they recognized that “the catch” was from their Lord.
John 21:5-7 (ESV) Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. [Emphasis mine.]
It's exciting to me to read this story and see how the tremendous blessing they received produced a spirit of gratitude and praise for their Lord.
So much so that Peter couldn't wait to get to Jesus! He threw off his heavy coat and jumped in the water to swim to shore.
Unfortunately, many Christians do not have a godly perspective on the wealth they've been given stewardship over.
It's a part of the sinful nature we wrestle with on this earth. By nature, we're selfish, afraid, greedy, and prideful.
For most people who've achieved more wealth than they'll ever need, the natural thing to do is to build bigger barns.
To Bless, Not Possess
Most estate planning is wrapped around the idea of how they can keep the most amount of money for their heirs.
And even for most financial advisors and lawyers, client wealth retention is the No. 1 priority, not philanthropy.
Financial professionals largely leave it up to church leaders and nonprofit executives to educate donors on value-based or legacy giving.
The self-centered nature of this way of estate planning can only be dealt with in a process of discipleship that aims to help the Christian become more like Jesus.
Fundraising is a discipleship tool you can use to teach your people how they can use their assets to promote their Christian values rather than hoard it for themselves.
That's the heart of this course. It's not really about the money, although money can do a great deal of good in your church.
Feed My Lambs
This course is really about helping you disciple your people to leverage their wealth to further the Kingdom of God.
Our wealth really isn't ours at all! We're merely stewards of God's wealth to put it to good use in His Kingdom.
And that's exactly where Jesus took the conversation after the disciples had received their great financial blessing.
John 21:9-10, 12, 15 (ESV) When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.”
Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” [Emphasis mine.]
After Peter received a tremendous financial blessing, Jesus asks him, “Do you love me more than these?”
Jesus was really asking him, Do you love me more than the wealth I've given you?
Then … “Feed my lambs.”
Jesus was discipling Peter to use his wealth to further the Great Commission.
Money, assets, wealth — it's all for Jesus and His Kingdom.
And that's why fundraising is such an important discipleship tool. It helps train Christians to think of their legacy in terms of values instead of valuables.
Paul takes this idea even further when he tells Timothy to teach those who are rich “to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future … ”
In other words, Paul was telling Timothy to use fundraising as a discipleship tool.
Fundraising as Discipleship
Encouraging and educating people to be generous with their wealth is what fundraising is all about. It's about discipling others towards a generous lifestyle.
As you begin fishing on the other side, remember that fundraising should be about discipleship, not money.
The money will take care of itself when hearts are right.
When people have been discipled properly, they'll recognize that their wealth is from the Lord, just as the disciples knew it in John 21.
Then, the gratitude and love that comes from a generous heart will drive people to create a legacy in your church that will fuel Kingdom work for generations to come.
Posted on 09/08/2017