Monthly Archives: November 2011
I just finished a book this week by Henri Nouwen (my other man crush) called A Spirituality of Fundraising.
Here is a beginning statement from his book:
If you are like me a few months ago, I would’ve thought this statement to be an exaggeration at best or a bunch of hooey at worst. However, after engaging in fundraising for the past months I have come to experience the depths of truth found in his words.
See here’s the deal…
Fundraising is not about money…contrary to what many people say. Pastors (at least good ones) do not give sermons or teach so that people will tithe nor do they visit people in hospitals so that they will get a donation on the way out the door…so too in the fundraising process.
Fundraising is ultimately about testifying to God’s kingdom and our mutual call to be a serving people. When we make fundraising about money we cheapen God’s people and simply turn them into objects to be used rather than people with whom we have the honor of worshiping and serving alongside.
“Whether people respond to our fundraising appeal with a ‘Yes,’ a ‘No,’ or a ‘Maybe’ is less important than the knowledge that we are all gathered as one on the holy ground of God’s generous disposition toward us.” -Nouwen
When I began, I very much dreaded the notion that we would have to be fundraising for the ministry in Mexico, but I can honestly say that after engaging in the ministry of fundraising for the past few months, I would have it no other way.
“Fundraising is a very rich and beautiful activity. It is a confident, joyful, and hope-filled expression of ministry. In ministering to each other, each from the riches that he or she possesses, we work together for the full coming of God’s kingdom.” -Nouwen
As I said in the beginning, I have become very grateful for the ministry of fundraising. I am grateful for what it has taught me about myself. I am grateful for what it has taught me about others. And I am grateful for what it has taught me about God. The ministry of fundraising has led me to a new depth of gratitude I never knew before.
“Gratitude flows from the recognition that who we are and what we have are gifts to be received and shared. Gratitude releases us from the bonds of obligation and prepares us to offer ourselves freely and fully for the work of the kingdom. When we approach fundraising in a spirit of gratitude, we do so knowing that God has already given us what we need most for life in abundance. Therefore confidence in our mission and vision, and our freedom to love the person to whom we are talking about donating money, do not depend on how that person responds. In this way, gratitude allows us to approach a fundraising meeting without grasping neediness and to leave it without resentment or dejection. Coming and going, we can remain secure in God’s love with our hearts set joyfully on the kingdom.” -Nouwen
May each of us remain secure in God’s love this season and set our hearts joyfully on his kingdom and our calling to be a part of His process of reconciliation.
I have a confession to make…
I have a man crush on Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I’ve read all of his works minus one (Ethics) and am currently reading a biography on him written by Eric Metaxas called Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. Bonhoeffer has taught me more about the nature of the church, being a pastor, and standing in solidarity for others than almost anyone else. There area many intriguing things about the man but for those who don’t know much about him he was a theologian and pastor during the rise of the Nazi’s and WWII. He earned his PHD at the age of 21 and worked as a pastor/theologian till he was declared a “pacifist and enemy of the state” and began to run an underground seminary. He was ultimately hung for his work as a double-agent spy against the Nazi regime and his involvement in a plot to assassinate Hitler.
Here are some quotes of his from the recent biography I’m reading:
“It is much easier for me to imagine a praying murderer, a praying prostitute, than a vain person praying. Nothing is so at odds with prayer as vanity.”
“The religion of Christ is not a tidbit after one’s bread; on the contrary, it is the bread or it is nothing. People should at least understand and concede this if they call themselves Christian.”
I would highly encourage you to read one of his books or for you non-readers watch a great documentary about him on called Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Pacifist, Nazi Resister. (Last time I checked this documentary was free on Netflix.)