HIGHER THINKING BLOG

The Heart of Development By Griff Freyschlag

Embracing God’s Heart for Development

What is the heart of development? What is our most important role as fundraisers in a ministry? We all have a budget and understand how important it is to raise the necessary amount to support the ministry’s operation so that we can serve those in need effectively, efficiently and responsibly. But what is the heart of development, or said differently, what is God’s heart in development?

Are we measured by how much we raise or don’t raise, or is there something more at stake, something more eternal in nature?

One of the many resources available is a wonderful book, The Sower, (ECFAPress, 2010) written by Dr. R. Scott Rodin and Dr. Gary Hoag on the topic of the ministry of raising kingdom resources.

I had the privilege of taking a biblical stewardship class from Gary while he was the vice president of development at Denver Theological Seminary. The class was focused on understanding the biblical principles of stewardship and fundraising. It was very enlightening, but more importantly impactful on relieving the pressure of “it’s up to ME to raise money.”

In The Sower, Dan Busby, president of ECFA, outlines three assumptions that Scott and Gary communicate to the reader.

  1. Generous giving is not predicated solely on the work of an individual or an organization’s efforts, but rather on God’s work in people.
  2. Generosity flows from transformed hearts as they conform to the image of Christ, who is generous.
  3. Christian resource-raising is not solely about securing transactions or gifts; rather it is about encouraging spiritual transformation-helping people become givers rich toward God.

The message of The Sower is all about transforming the hearts of the donors, which is really another way to describe the ministry of fundraising. This is vital as we ask how we as fundraising professionals sustain our own hearts as we minister.

Here are some thoughts:

  1. Stay engaged in the actual mission of your organization. Volunteer regularly by serving on the front lines. This is also a good way to engage with your donors. Mentor someone in the program. As always, the mentor becomes the mentee.
  2. Pursue best practices from larger organizations both in your field of ministry as well as outside. This will help you realize you don’t have to figure it all out.
  3. Find a mentor. We all need someone to call for advice and to bounce ideas off.
  4. Build a culture of philanthropy among your board and staff.
  5. Trust that God has you in your role for a time such as this and continue to pray for his guidance.

In a Spirituality of Fundraising, by Henri Nouwen, he concludes with wonderful advice on sustaining our hearts as development leaders:

“When we approach fundraising in a spirit of gratitude, our confidence in our mission does not depend on how the person we are with responds to our request! We are free to remain secure in God’s love with our hearts set joyfully on the kingdom.”

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Griff Freyschlag is the vice president of development for Denver Rescue Mission. He is also a member of the national advisory council for Christian Leadership Alliance. This is an excerpt from Griff’s article in the Summer 2019 edition of Outcomes Magazine.

 

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