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Finances in the Church: Fundraising

Church Fundraising Efforts
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When someone visiting the Church Budgeting & Finances category in the Practicum asked if I would share some fundraising ideas, I couldn’t stop at just listing ideas. I felt the need to provide a filter through which to examine those ideas. We need to make sure we are lining up with God and His Word and trusting Him.

Fundraising efforts in the church have taken on many forms:

  • capital campaigns in which pledges are taken
  • sending out letters of appeal for funds
  • finding a generous donor willing to gift a certain amount that will only be given as matched by others
  • having auctions or rummage sales in which people donate goods that will be sold and the money given to the church
  • having a banquet or dinner for people to come and make donations
  • selling products or services of some sort (i.e., car washes, bake sales)
  • holding walk-a-thons, run-a-thons, rock-a-thons, etc. in which people get pledges from friends and family to be given for every mile/hour accomplished
  • joining organizations like iGive and encouraging people to make their personal online purchases through it for the church to get a commission

Of course, you can also get into wills, trusts, endowments … legacy types of gifts that have more of a long term objective rather than raising immediate cash.

While all of the above ideas have been done at churches, we need to stop, think, and pray about what we should implement and how often. The intent of this post isn’t to pass judgment on any of these specific ideas but rather to challenge us to work through issues related to fundraising in the church.

Questions to ask when it comes to fundraising in the church:

1) How does God feel about your fundraising efforts?

  • Are you examining the whole of Scripture, reconciling what you want to do with passages like Jesus’ anger over money changers in the temple (Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-17)? Or, are you merely doing what others have done or what you think will work?
  • Are you promoting the kind of giving God looks for which is giving from a cheerful and willing heart (2 Cor. 8-9)? Or, are you promoting giving that is coerced or done merely out of obligation?
  • Would He say that you are being a good steward of not just your money but also your time and people resources (Matt. 25:21-22)? Or, are there other ways He would want you to invest the time and effort spent on fundraising?

2) What impression do your fundraising efforts give people about the Church?

  • Do they get the idea that all the church does is ask for money? Or, do they feel as though the church isn’t merely looking for what they can get but rather what they can give to God and people (1 Cor. 10:23-24; Jn. 15:13)?
  • Do they view the church as no different than any other organization looking for money? Or, do they see a living organism whose trust is in the Lord to both lead and provide for His people to do His will (Prov. 3:5-6; Col. 1:18)?

Bottom Line: The Bible doesn’t say “Thou shalt not have fundraisers” but it does give us plenty to think about regarding motivation, means, and effect.

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