Fundraising. Does God See It?
What a relief it is to know
I’m a slave to Christ
Of all the masters I have known
I’m compelled to live this life
Free for you
I have a new hope that blows away
The small hopes I knew before
The words from Sara Groves' song "Compelled" feel like a great introduction to a heartfelt post by my friend Brad Voigt. Brad has spent 16 years raising support for his ministry with Young Life in North Kansas City. In the past couple of years, Brad has also added a few other vocations to his bag of tricks, both for the sake of income and also because they complement his skill set and make him a more fulfilled, effective youth leader. (read his whole story at a previous post).
Brad's story is a great example of the struggle to let go of our own plans and expectations only to find that God Sees-To-It to provide more than we could have ever imagined ourselves.
By Brad Voigt (@BradVoigt)
There’s a reason why a lot of people don’t do fundraising - it’s hard. It’s scary to depend on the generosity of someone else. Plus it’s humbling to sit with someone and ask them for money knowing they are aware of how badly you need it and yet they can still say no. Oh yeah, rejection is a big part of fundraising as well.
The nonprofit life was never on my radar until God interrupted my plans. I feel “called” to professionally focus on a mission and a part of that mission means fundraising. Fundraising isn't just a means to an end; it's a spiritual endeavor just like my work with kids.
After 15 years of coming up short I’ve developed a theology very similar. I hear people talk about the abundance of God and in my own head I hear things like,
- “God must like them more than me,” or
- “They must be braver than me because they can raise all the money they need and more,” and
- my personal favorite, "God rewards them for having bigger faith.”
Yeah, that’s not the positive self talk. Nor is it a healthy view of God.
Recently, I read this passage in Genesis 22:
"13 Abraham looked up. He saw a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. Abraham took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.
14 Abraham named that place God-Yireh (God-Sees-to-It). That’s where we get the saying, “On the mountain of God, he sees to it.”"
God not only held up his promise but he also provided a different sacrifice than Abraham’s son.
I wrestle with Abraham’s nickname for God. Is it really true in my life?
I guess I should say I wrestle with it when I focus on my own sacrifice. When I lock on to what I am giving up I miss the other ways God provides. And more than anything, I’ve had to give up being seen as a good fundraiser. For me, being seen this way is my Isaac - I don’t want God to just provide for me, I want him to demonstrate to everyone else how favored I am. Maybe even how chosen I am.
Isaac was Abraham’s proof. He wasn’t insane. He was called and Isaac was his miraculous evidence he was being led and not making stuff up. Isaac was Abraham’s justification. But when it came down to it, Abraham was willing to be obedient more than he was willing to have evidence of his own personal value to God.
The ram in my own story is that God provides a way, even when it's not the one I expected. We’re not broke. We’re not without. Yes, there have been lots of sacrifices but more often than not it's of my own expectation instead of anything that is actually caused me harm. Our ram in the thicket is multiple means of making revenue. Instead of a single income from a single mission, we’ve adapted to making multiple streams of revenue. This lifestyle is sometimes hard to explain but doesn’t that always seem part of a calling?