Forging Strong Kingdom Partnerships FeaturedWritten by John Muehleisen
For many of us who raise the financial support needed to fund our ministries, it is very easy to get get caught up in a "money mindset." I need to raise money to do the ministry, and we often see the fund raising as a necessary evil.
I actually heard the CEO of a major Christian ministry say publicly, "The one thing I hate about this job is going around begging for money."
Perhaps, he was simply honestly echoing what is often a quiet subtext in our own hearts. But, in our better moments, we realize that raising support is not primary about money. It is about developing a network of people who play different roles for the advancement of the kingdom.
Bill Dillon calls it "People Raising." Betty Barnett calls it "Friend Raising." Some organizations call it "Ministry Partner Development." Others refer to "Coaching Champions."
No matter what term you prefer, the concept behind these things is solid, true, and helpful.
We have an obligation to minister to our funders, as well as those we feel God has called us more directly to minister to. In order to help these partners genuinely feel that they are part of what God is doing through us, we must help them get the greater and wider vision of how God is at work.
It is part of our ministry responsibility to enable them to be fuller participants in this Great Commission work.
I remember speaking at a church in Alabama a few years ago. We had helped the new pastor organize a missions conference. One of ladies said to me:
"We've been supporting missions in this church for over 25 years through our denomination. Yet, you are the first missionary I have ever met. Hearing you speak and sharing your first hand experiences of how God is at work has set my heart on fire. You have no idea how you have made this "Christian duty" come alive in our church."
Every speaker loves to hear words like that, but as I have reflected on it, the larger issue here is these people are now more personally engaged in kingdom work than ever before.? I played a small part in mobilizing them for greater involvement, but that also brings an obligation.
I have an obligation to my supporters that goes far beyond simply being a "good steward" of their contributions.
I have an obligation to challenge them to go deeper in understanding how we can change this world for good. And, while this will probably be done as part of a "team" effort, I cannot simply cash their checks (or read of their contribution on a donor report) and say, "Well, Lord, bless these good folks."
It is about developing strong kingdom partnerships, and we are often at the pivot point of these.
And, it is more than an obligation, it's actually quite a bit of fun!
John Muehleisen is the regional strategist for World Gospel Mission in Africa.
He loves to help ministry teams clarify their "wildly important goals" and then connect those teams to the training, networks, people, and resources they need to execute their strategy.
In addition, he is the Transformational Training Coordinator for WGM in Africa.
He and his wife Beth currently live in Kampala, Uganda. They have two adult daughters who were raised in Nairobi where they lived for almost 20 years prior to moving to Uganda in 2007.wgm.org