If you've ever done any kind of fundraising, you may have found yourself looking for tips or advice on how to be successful. (If not, maybe you can humor me and imagine yourself in this situation.) In case you ever wondered, there are just a few resources out there about fundraising. From books to webinars to online articles to YouTube videos - advice in this area is not terribly hard to come by. (Of course whether the advice actually helps you in your particular area of fundraising, well that is a different story.)
There is one little book I have found both helpful and inspiring (not to mention mercifully short) when it comes to fundraising. It's called "The Giver and The Gift" (by Peter Greer and David Weekley), and it's worth mentioning the subtitle as well - "Principles of Kingdom Fundraising". Kingdom fundraising? What on earth is that?
I suppose to really answer that question, you may be better off actually reading the book. It's written by two highly respected individuals - one who is a very successful, generous philanthropist (writing from the perspective of "the giver", and the other who is the CEO of a large non-profit organization (writing from the perspective of the one receiving "the gift"). But I promise, I am not here just to talk about the ins and outs of fundraising because let's be honest, no one really wants to hear about that.
What I do want to consider is this quote from that book:
The real question is not, Should I give anonymously? The question is, How will I gain the most glory for God?
The author is considering whether or not it's better to give anonymously or to allow one's name to be shared in giving. The point he makes is that like so many aspects of Christian living, the answer to this question often comes down to motives. Why is it that I am choosing to share my name or keep it a secret?
This whole question of anonymity got me thinking about the tag line both my husband and I like to use in many of our musical endeavors - Soli Deo Gloria (which means to God alone be the glory). One of the people who famously used this phrase a lot was the composer J. S. Bach. My understanding is that he wrote it on all of his music. And yet, he also wrote his name. He also shared his music.
Did you ever have something you wanted to share, but you weren't sure if you should share it or not? Maybe it's a piece of music or art, maybe it's something else you created, or maybe it's just something you have that you would like to give away. But for one reason or another, you haven't done it. Maybe you're waiting for the right time. Maybe you're questioning your own motives. Or maybe you're just not sure what good sharing would actually do.
Recently in two different podcasts, I heard people talking about the value of sharing something they had created. One was a conversation among writers (on The Stories Between Us), saying that once they shared something they had written it felt more complete. It was almost like the sharing itself was the final step in the creative process.
In the other podcast (called "Doing the Best We Can"), the host was answering questions sent in by listeners, and one of the listeners basically asked him, "why are you doing this? What is the point of a 'normal person' sharing about his/her normal life on a podcast?" As he answered this question, he admitted honestly that part of the reason is that making the podcast is helpful for him. It gives him a space to share and to process things and he can only hope that doing so is helpful, since we can all learn from each other in some way.
I wonder if sometimes we think a little too hard about what will glorify God the most when it comes to sharing. How do we actually measure if what we've shared has given God glory? Is it really up to us to determine if God has been glorified through what we've given or shared? Certainly not everything needs to be shared all the time, but my hunch is that in most cases we would be better off sharing what we have to share and letting God take care of the results.
Like the words of Glenn Burleigh's song, Faithful Over a Few Things...
If you have a song to sing, faithfully sing that song
If you have some love to show, show it the whole day long
If you have a kind word to say, try to say it, each and every day
If you have a prayer to pray, pray on in Jesus' name
Pray with me...
... Father, may ACSD be a community in which each person feels emboldened to share with others
And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 13:16
... God, give divine wisdom for all of us to know what, when and how to share
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5
... Lord, may You be glorified as all of Your people share what they have been given to share
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and pray for Alliance Christian School District! Lord willing, I plan to publish a new blog post weekly on Wednesdays throughout the school year. Feel free to subscribe (at the bottom of this page) if you'd like to be notified each time a new blog post has been published. We also have a prayer team that is always open for new pray-ers to join. If you'd like to learn more, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
~ Carrie Warner, ACSD Prayer Team Coordinator
Soli Deo Gloria
To God alone be the glory