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A Ministry-focused Model By Wesley K. Willmer

What is a Ministry-focused Model for Raising Resources?

In Growing Givers’ Hearts: Treating Fundraising as Ministry  (Jossey-Bass), authors Tom Jeavons and Rebekah Basinger compare and contrast how a faith-based, ministry-focused model of raising resources is very different from a secular approach focused strictly on the bottom line. They concluded that it all boils down to values, because our values determine our activities.

What values do you and your organization embrace? Do your Christian values shape your fundraising, how you measure effectiveness, and what you celebrate?

Here is a list of ten questions to ask yourself and those responsible for fundraising at your organization to see if you are reinforcing God’s values in your efforts.

  1. Does your interaction with people encourage them to generously engage in God’s work, or is the priority raising maximum dollars no matter what the method?
  2. Do those involved in fundraising view their roles as shepherds of the stewards of God’s possessions or salespersons to convince people that you are  worthy of their money?
  3. Does your organization rely on prayer support, believing that God the Father is our Provider and that the Holy Spirit influences peoples’ generosity?
  4. Would a survey of your constituents reveal that “you have helped them grow in their understanding and practice of Christian generosity,” would they say “all you want is their money” or you desire them to become rich toward God?
  5. Do you use language in your communications that supports this ministry view verses a secular fundraising worldview perspective?
  6. Does your organization have a board-approved written statement explaining the values that are foundational for integrating your faith and fundraising?
  7. If a person desires to support another ministry different from yours, is that okay with you? Would your organization support this no competition in the kingdom view?
  8. Are you transparent with your constituents about the realities of leading a ministry, or is the focus of all communications to spin messages to make you look good to get money?
  9. When seeking fundraising staff, do you place high value on spiritual maturity? In other words do you look for leaders who understand biblical stewardship and practice Christian generosity?
  10. Are your activities based on what staff members can control, such as what they communicate and who they visit or are they rooted in what they cannot control, such as how much money is raised?

Generous giving happens when the hearts of believers are aligned with their faith with Christ and they become generous as Christ is generous.  So what is our role in all this? Let us reconsider our activities in light of our values! Thinking and acting like Christians in our secular culture is not easy, and it requires faith.

However, we have a tremendous opportunity to bring glory to God by urging His people to lives as faithful and obedient steward leaders. Hopefully, these questions stir you to ensure your ministry to rely on God-honoring practices for encouraging Christian generosity.


Wesley K. Willmer, Ph.D. CCNL is a principal of the Wes Wilmer Group LLC and serves on the Christian Leadership Alliance Advisory Council,  He is a seasoned and effective, nationally recognized leader for his strategic executive leadership, research, publications, speaking and consulting. He is co-author of the recently released book, The Council (ECFAPress 2018).


Want to go deeper in your understanding of Christian stewardship?

Enroll in the Outcomes Academy Online! In the Winter Term, Christian Leadership Alliance is offering the module CCNL STEWARDSHIP,  This module covers both the financial and HR that are vital to any nonprofit organization.  This is a required course for the Credentialed Christian Nonprofit Leader (CCNL) Program, but it is available to anyone interested in this aspect of leadership.

Registration Deadline: January 14, 2019
Modules Begin: January 21, 2019



What is Christian Leadership Alliance?

Christian Leadership Alliance equips and unites leaders to transform the world for Christ. We are the leaders of Christ-centered organizations who are dedicated to faithful stewardship for greater kingdom impact.

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