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From the Fall 2015 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

Thoughts on Ministry Fundraising

by Joel Woodruff
President, C.S. Lewis Institute



ow many fundraising requests per week do you get via phone, letter, and other media from churches, ministries, and organizations? And when you get these appeals, what is your response and why? These are questions I’ve been pondering in recent months as I have been seeking to develop a godly approach to fundraising for the C.S. Lewis Institute. My conclusions are outlined below, and I would be grateful for any insights or comments you might have. 

1. Trust God to Guide and Provide

  To be faithful to God, a ministry must first seek the Lord’s guidance and be certain that its vision, mission and methods are solidly grounded in Scripture and aligned with God’s kingdom purposes. As the psalmist writes, “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Ps. 127:1).1 Once this is settled, the ministry must trust the Lord to provide all of the human, material, and financial resources needed to accomplish the mission (Matt. 6:33). That is, there must be an active faith in God to supply what is needed for His work. Missionaries often put it this way, “Where God guides, He also provides.” But this principle is not limited to missionary work — it applies to any work of God. One application of this principle is that a ministry should not rely on worldly fundraising methods, “proven marketing strategies,” staff skills and abilities, or even generous people for its funding; rather, it should rely first and foremost on God and trust in Him.

2. Pray Daily

  The first step in acknowledging our trust in God and dependence on Him for what is needed for ministry is to pray daily for His provision. Jesus teaches us to do this for our personal needs in the Lord’s Prayer, when He says to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11). He also tells us that, as children of God, we are to be persistent in prayer and to continue asking, seeking, and knocking, knowing that our loving Father desires to give good gifts, especially to those who ask Him (Matt. 7:7–11). This same principle also applies to provision of resources for the work of His kingdom. One reason for a lack of provision in some ministries may be that they are relying on their own ideas and efforts and failing to ask (and trust) God to supply the need (James 4:2b–3).

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