Multiplying Faithful and Generous Stewards By Dr. Zenet Maramara
Becoming Faithful Stewards Set Free to Lead
Those of you who are faithfully engaged in professional fundraising know that this job is a never-ending cycle of acquiring, cultivating, asking, engaging, and maintaining relationships with partners and financial givers. Fundraising work never lets up. Year after year, we have targets and financial goals to achieve. And rightly so, because nonprofits need money every day of the year.
The field has become very competitive as the nonprofit world has developed and become more sophisticated in asking for money. You find that you have to stay on top of your game and continuously improve your strategies to keep up.
This explains why the burn-out rate of professional fundraisers is three years on average. But do you want to be in that grind and suffer burnout? If there is a way you can find joy and fulfillment as a fundraiser, wouldn’t you want to take that path?
A Paradigm Shift
Twenty-five years ago, I was that fundraiser I described above until I had a conversion to biblical stewardship. This caused a radical transformation in my life and my attitude toward fundraising. One day, I was confronted with the truth that all the money that I am pursuing to fundraise for my organization belongs to God. The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to Him (Psalm 24:1).
The realization that it all belongs to God and that we are merely stewards of all that is entrusted to us had tremendous implications. If God is the owner of all, then He is also the provider. Such a paradigm shift made all the difference in the way I treated fundraising. All the burden I put on my shoulders of having to raise the annual fund for my seminary disappeared.
Paul exhorts that it is required that those who have been given trust be found faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2). The responsibility of the fundraiser is to do his/her faithful work with excellence. The outcomes and the fruitfulness come from God.
It took a journey of faith and trusting and relying fully on God to supply all the needs of the ministry. That is very liberating and gives freedom to find joy in fundraising work. With these new lenses, I could enjoy meeting people and potential givers and talking about how they can take part in the kingdom work through the ministry that we do.
I have learned that every person of God is on a journey to becoming a better steward of all that was entrusted to him/her, including his/her money and material resources. People should not be treated as means to achieve goals but as individuals who are on a journey of transformation of becoming more faithful and generous stewards.
Freedom from Control
The transformation to becoming a faithful and generous steward involves releasing control to God. That includes our resources, work, time, money, and everything else. People hoard for fear that there will not be enough for tomorrow. Our security comes from God and not from material wealth. Control is debilitating and deprives us of experiencing the joy of the Lord and His people.
As fundraisers, we sow seeds of God’s truth in the hearts of people as we journey with them in becoming more faithful and generous stewards. It means we have to first be transformed in our hearts first and foremost before we can minister to them.
My journey as a steward-fundraiser set me free from control. When I released everything into God’s hands and focused on my faithful work, the Lord flourished my ministry.
Set Free for Kingdom Work
Since then, I have been on a mission of teaching others to be stewards set free to lead.
The work of a ministry fundraiser, first and foremost, is to multiply stewards who are rich towards God. The money will follow. Growing generous givers means sowing seeds of biblical truths in the hearts of people. As ministry fundraisers, we are entrusted with the double duty of mobilizing God’s resources for kingdom work as well as multiplying faithful and generous stewards. It means loving people instead of seeing them as means to an end. Such a paradigm shift from transactional to transformational fundraising was a game.
Dr. Zenet Maramara is the founder/president of Christian Stewardship Association and the chairman of Christians in Conservation, an A Rocha associated project. She was a professor of biblical stewardship at Asian Theological Seminary and former director of the ATS Strategic Leader Development. She organized and directed the MBA in Biblical Stewardship and Christian Management program of ATS.
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