Lori Guenther Reesor: Gather and give

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As it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.” 2 Corinthians 8:15

“Conventional fundraising wisdom promotes efficiency: how to extract to maximum amount of money from
the minimum amount of donors. Thus, the efficiency model focuses first on donors who have the most money. Efficiency trumpets total dollars raised rather than how many people contributed. Doubtless readers are familiar with the large thermometer sign showing the total donations in red. I dislike fund-raising thermometers. Ten dollars from me and $499,990 from you is not a successful church capital campaign…

Could we instead measure the number of contributors? This presumes that everyone is asked to contribute. By everyone, I mean everyone – kids, youth, students, families with mortgages, seniors. Babysitting money, lemonade stands, offers to help sweep up during the construction project – all of these gifts are joyfully acknowledged and accepted, celebrated even…Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 8:15 that some have gathered much and some have gathered little. Yet in God’s economy, when we share there is enough.”

Lori Guenther Reesor in “Whose Church Is It Anyway?” in Giving: Growing Joyful Stewards in Your Congregation, vol. 19 (Richmond: ESC, 2017) 20-21.

How we do campaigns in church and parachurch settings communicates what we believe and value. Reesor provides great wisdom here that, if applied, will help your church do more than raise up gifts. You will raise up givers who are rich toward God, and your efforts will transform the community you serve. What is her advice?

Abandon conventional paradigms. Instead rally your church family or parachurch constituency to participate in God’s work with what each person can gather and give. Celebrate that everyone can contribute from what they have. Do this and you will do more than fund your project. You will help everyone grow spiritually.