Why fundraising is difficult

I have been thinking a lot recently about why the initial season of fundraising is difficult for mostly all new staff… and apart from the obvious its different reasons for everyone I have been noticing some common threads amongst me and some of my other new staff friends. In general I would say fundraising is challenging because it causes us to confront some of the lies that we were previously believing. Here are some of them (though I am sure there are many more… I didn’t even touch the ones related to money):

Lie #1: I am nothing if I am not ministering
I think this lie rears its ugly head when we have found too much of our identities in what were doing on campus. It calls into question our primary identity as a son or daughter of Christ and makes us feel worthless and useless.

Lie #2: I’m not worth supporting
I feel this at especially low moments, or when I have sinned in some way or another. It feels like, “why would God bless me with support when I am such a mess in other ways?” But the truth is every human being deserves the support they need and our God is generous and gracious beyond our wildest imaginings.

Lie #3: Its all about me
Related to lie #2 (because that was also a self-focused lie), this lie tells us that this season is all about us. Its our ministry, our needs that need to be met, our effort that needs to bring in things to meet them. It feels like I keep making appointments to talk about ME and MY ministry, etc, etc. And I think as soon as we step on the ME-train things start going hay-wire. I see myself as the one who needs to get everything done, myself as the one with all of the responsibility, and I consequently get selfish and think about myself all the time. Eww, not pretty. This week I have been re-aligning that this season is NOT about ME. Its Jesus’s ministry that He invites me to be a part of… ultimately He must provide the funds. Its not even really about me when I am meeting with potential donors–its about them and how they might grow/benefit from supporting Jesus’s work on the college campus. Its about them and how they would like to be involved. Maybe it is partly about me (after all its raising a support team for me, haha), but not in a selfish, self-focused way.

To all my fund-raising friends, hang in there. Any lies you want to add to this list?

Watch this video for some encouragement: 

To all my non-fund-raising friends, please pray for me and all of the new staff this year who are battling these lies.

A new direction

Image

The past few months my life has been in a state of chaotic transition.  I got promoted from assistant manager of one restaurant to manager of another restaurant, while simultaneously applying for a job in ministry with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, which I later got offered.  Now I am in the process of raising support so I can accept that position (a 6-9month process) and after I do that it will mean moving.  And while all of that has been going on, I have been searching for a suitable alternative living situation for my mom (like a group home or assisted living or hopefully not a nursing home).  It has been a season of transition that I see continuing for a while.  My life is taking a new direction, and thus so will this blog.  I think I will still post nuggets of wisdom here and there, and I will still share how I see God in all things, but it will also be a place where I update you on my life and ask for your support and prayer.

My encouragement to you, however, is that what I have been learning in my season of transition.  Our God was not a stationary God, he went from place to place, couch to couch, dragging his disciples along with him.  He was constantly in a state of transition between this world and heaven…but in that, he declares that the Kingdom of God has come near.  I think it comes near when we seek him in the midst of transition.  If I could say in one word what has grown my faith the most it would be “pain”.  God never wastes our pain, our seasons of transition or our seasons of waiting.  Let him meet you wherever you are at now (he know’s where you’ve been and where you’re going in ways that no one else can).

Please be praying for me as I am in this season of transition… Pray that I continue to see what God has for me in this in-between time.  I will be praying for you as well–that you see God in whatever season of life you find yourself as well.

Is Christmas About Giving or Receiving?

No one can celebrate

a genuine Christmas

without being truly poor.

The self-sufficient, the proud,

those who, because they have

everything, look down on others,

those who have no need

even of God–for them there

will be no Christmas.

Only the poor, the hungry,

those who need someone

to come on their behalf,

will have that someone.

That someone is God.

Emmanuel. God with us.

Without poverty of spirit

there can be no abundance of God.

Oscar Romero

I would like to speculate that often in our answers we say: giving of course! Its all about giving!  But let us not forget that it is also a season very much about receiving and we are not very good at that part.  We must learn to graciously receive gifts from those around us and be thankful or we will never learn to receive the greatest gift of the season.  The birth of our God 2000+ years ago… the birth of God with US.

Our doing flows out of our being

We live in a culture that tells us what we work for we get and if we don’t get what we worked for we have been cheated out of. What we want we can have, and often with a few different choices of exactly how we want it. It is a culture where things are a click or a tap away, a culture of instant gratification… but how does this affect our spirituality? Allow me to share with you a selection from one of the few books I am reading right now: Invitation to a Journey by M. Robert Mulholland Jr.

“When we operate from the perspective that our doing determines our being, we expect immediate returns on our investment of time and resources–observable results that prove we have performed well and are therefore persons of value and worth. If we fail to receive such instant feedback, we presume we have failed and begin to struggle with a perceived loss of self-image, value, purpose, and even identity. Instant-gratification persons have great difficulty waiting patiently for God’s timing; trusting God to bring the needed transformation in God’s time, not theirs; persevering in obedience even when there is no indication that such obedience is making a difference in their lives. “Being conformed” militates against our need for instant gratification. Spiritual formation is the great reversal: from habitual expectation of closure, to patient, open-ended yieldedness.”

We need to realize that our journeys of faith are all a day by day, I am choosing to yield to Jesus’s leadership kind of process. It is in continually being open to the promptings of the Lord and obeying even when we don’t see results right away, especially in our liminal space, that we are shaped to be more and more like Christ.

Liminal Space

Liminal Space: (from the Latin, līmen, or threshold) a place of being in between, of waiting; “a unique spiritual position where human beings hate to be but where the Biblical God is always leading them.  It is when you have left the tried and true, but have not yet been able to replace it with anything else.  It is when you are finally out of the way.  It is when you are between your old comfort zone and any possible new answer.  If you are not trained in how to hold anxiety, you will run … anything to flee this terrible cloud of unknowing.” (Richard Rohr)

I have been living in the liminal space for quite some time now with out having words to describe it other than exhausting.  Now I am in a place where I am leading people into that place of leaving their comfort zones but without a reality clearly defined for them for their next phase.  It is one of the hardest places in leadership to be.  Lord give me strength.

Media Moguls

Lets take a minute to stop and think about the power of the media on our subconscious minds.  Watch and be disturbed:

Let’s get some more females into the media business, eh?  And in the meantime, I feel affirmed in my decision to unplug from media to some extent (we don’t have cable, and I limit my hours of internet/movies, etc.).  Images have such power to stick in our minds, be careful what you consume.