I have been praying that God would help me approach "partner development" (or raising support or fund-raising) with a healthy mentality about its purpose and God's provision. But reading Nouwen's essay identified some new lessons about fund-raising that hadn't considered - gaps in my perspective.
Nouwen challenged me to consider that...
- to ask others to partner financially in our ministry, I first need to confront my own relationship with money
- I should allow fund-raising to teach me how to depend on others...which is against my independent, prideful, sinful nature
- I must love people and minister to them first...and trust God to provide the money second
- My security is in Christ and should never be tied up in the response of others towards our ministry
- Prayer and gratitude allow my attitude towards fund raising to be transformed
- Fund-raising allows me to develop closer relationships with those who partner with us, which leads to ministry opportunities and deeper Christian community
"Gratitude allows us to approach a fund-raising 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."
"Fund-raising is proclaiming what we believe in such a way that we offer other people an opportunity to participate with us in our vision and mission."
"The question is not how we get money. Rather, the question is about our relationship with money."
"We fear being dependent on others because of the idea that dependence is a threat to our security."
"We do not need to worry about the money. Rather, we need to worry about whether, through the invitation we offer them and the relationship we develop with them, they will come closer to God."
"Asking people for money is giving them the opportunity to put their resources at the disposal of the Kingdom. To raise funds is to offer people the chance to invest what they have in the work of God."