Christian Fundraising Q&A:
Is a Church Capital Campaign Biblical?
Absolutely! In fact, our church capital campaigns are modeled after the vivid example of the campaign that King David organized to build the temple as outlined in 1 Chronicles 29. Though the Lord told David that it would be Solomon’s job to build the temple, David wanted to help out. He did so by making a generous leadership gift, both from his position as King as well as from his personal wealth. He gave not only to make sure there was enough to start building the temple, but also to set the standard and to inspire others. Once David made his gift, the leaders of Israel responded and likewise gave “freely” their own gifts. The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, and the whole assembly then gave their own offerings and worshiped the Lord in thanksgiving:
16 Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you. 17 I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you.
This is just one example of many similar stories in Scripture. There are similar accounts in Exodus of Moses building the tabernacle, and in Ezra, Nehemiah, and Haggai about the rebuilding of the temple and Jerusalem’s walls.
So then is Christian fundraising nothing more than secular fundraising, just with some Bible verses strewn throughout our appeals?
Absolutely not! For starters, we believe that all church capital campaigns must first be programs that emphasize and teach Biblical generosity. We emphasize the teaching of the following three foundational pillars of stewardship in each campaign:
God is the owner of all
We are stewards, not owners of God’s wealth
We are blessed by God so that we can bless others
Further, three things should mark us as distinctly Christian fundraisers, and have a dramatic impact on the way we carry out our work…
1. Spirit-led, not sales-driven
God’s people give to God’s work as the Spirit of God leads them. When we ask people to pray over their decision, we must be sincere in leaving the decision in God’s hands. We must do our work well by making clear presentations and a definite ask for support. But we do not ‘close the sale.’
2. Transformational, not transactional
Our goal is not just more money, it’s to raise up godly stewards to be rich toward God. Transactional gifts are here and gone. Christian fundraising is a function of God’s work of transforming hearts, minds and purses. The secret that’s lost on so many is this: If you take the time to participate in the transforming work God is doing in the lives of your people, authentic and abundant generosity will follow. The very best givers are those whose lives have been transformed through their involvement in your ministry.
3. Fundraising as stewardship ministry, not a means to an end
Too many see fundraising as a dirty work that must be endured in order that real ministry can happen.But Christian fundraising is not a means to an end, it’s an end in itself. When we understand that fundraising is not a necessary evil but rather a ministry of teaching and applying some of the most fundamental Biblical stewardship principles in a way that leads to spiritual transformation, then we will approach our supporters differently, we will assess our success differently, and you’ll never look at fundraising the same way again.