by Rick Dunham, CEO
Many think of fundraising as a ‘necessary evil’ in order to fund ministry.
I don’t believe it is.
In fact, I believe fundraising is a spiritual discipline God has established to help move the heart of His people to become wholly His.
Because when it comes to money, giving, and fundraising, it’s always about the heart.
We find a biblical model of this in the book of Exodus. As the nation of Israel is gathered at the base of Mount Sinai, we read this from Exodus 24:17,18:
“To the eyes of the sons of Israel, the appearance of the glory of The Lord was like a consuming fire on the mountaintop. Moses entered the midst of the cloud as he went up to the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain 40 days and 40 nights.”
You could call this a Hollywood moment! The mountain literally looks like it’s on fire with the presence of God. And Moses goes up into the cloud in a dramatic fashion to be with God.
Next, the very first command God gives to Moses is to have a fundraiser.
We read in Exodus 25:1,
“Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from everyone whose heart prompts them to give.” There it is again, the heart.
Now, God could have said to Moses, “I own the cattle on a thousand hills. I own it all! So when you get off the mountain, I’m going to have everything you need prepared and ready for you to build me the tabernacle for my presence. Just gather the nation of Israel together and build it.”
Or I suppose He could have said, “You know what Moses? I’ve whispered into the hearts of my people, the Israelites, to give you everything you need to build the tabernacle when you get off the mountain.”
But He didn’t.
Instead, He said, “Moses, when you get off the mountain, you’re going to have a fundraiser. You will have to command the people to bring me an offering. You will challenge them to give. And everyone whose heart prompts them to give, they will give.”
Meanwhile, in Exodus 32, the people of Israel are getting restless. Moses hasn’t come off the mountain. It’s then that Aaron decides to have his own fundraiser. And so all the people take off their earrings and bring them to Aaron. He then makes an idol in the shape of a calf.
He says in verse 4, “These are your gods Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”
Think about this metaphor for a moment. They have taken their wealth and fashioned it into a golden calf. They are literally worshiping their own stuff.
You know the rest of the story. God was so angry and wanted to destroy the nation of Israel in that moment. But Moses pleaded with him and he relented. And that takes us to chapter 35… the fundraiser!
Moses says in verse 5, “This is what the Lord has commanded. From what you have, take an offering for the Lord. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the Lord an offering of gold, silver, and bronze.”
The passage goes on to say in verse 20,
“Then, the whole Israelite community withdrew from Moses’ presence. And everyone who was willing, and his heart moved them, came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work on the tent of meeting.”
God very clearly, from the very beginning of scripture, sets in motion this idea that money and the heart are woven together. The issue is never about the money. The issue is always about the heart.
“Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp. No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary. And so the people were restrained from bringing more because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.” (Exodus 36:6)
Can your organization say that? Maybe not. But what an incredible model God established: A leader challenging God’s people to provide the funding needed to accomplish His ministry work.
And when that happens, God ultimately gets what He’s longing for: The hearts of his people.
More Insights from Dunham+Company: “If God Will Provide, Why Do We Have to Ask for Money?“