My wife and I took our first Navigator campus assignment just a week after we were married, and for years we struggled with our funding. Neither of us had come from strong Christian backgrounds, so we didn’t have a wide base of contacts. Due to multiple moves, we didn’t have deep roots in any church. And, sadly, I didn’t have a solid understanding of biblical of fundraising. This created a trifecta of funding frustration.
Through instruction and experience, however, our funding improved over the years. When I began supervising staff, I then had lots of good advice to offer them on funding their ministry. And I believed that offering advice was largely the extent of my responsibility to them concerning their funding.
Yet, as members of my staff team struggled financially, I began to wonder whether doling out good funding advice when asked really was adequate. I felt a budding conviction that it wasn’t enough for me to care only how effective my staff were in discipling others, leading Bible studies, or reaching out to pre-believers without helping them succeed in being fully funded as well. I asked the Lord for his thoughts on this. God used Alan Andrews, former U.S. president of The Navigators, to help change my thinking on this issue and to better understand what the Bible taught about my responsibility. Soon I read 2 Corinthians 8:13-15 as well.
For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack—that there may be equality. As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”
This passage addressed my question. As a leader, God wants me to be a channel of His love and blessing to my team, and He always blesses us when we let Him use us to bless others. He gave me the conviction, heart, and resources to take more of an active role in supporting, encouraging, and truly leading my staff in funding their ministries.
I’ve moved from advising staff to telling them “If you’re working on your fundraising, I’m working on your fundraising.” As I can, I now “roll up my sleeves” and enter into the process more with my staff, and our team has learned how to support each other as well. Here are a few ways we do this:
If a staff is in deficit and a team member has a surplus, he/she transfers money to help the staff through the crisis while we work on the funding plan.
If a staff needs contacts, we brainstorm together and/or make introductions.
If a staff struggles on face-to-face visits, a team member or I will go along to offer moral support and constructive tips afterward.
Our team meets monthly to talk about our funding, encourage each other, and spur each other on toward full funding.
My goal is to help all of my staff raise 125% of budget and be able to help other staff. I’m grateful for where God has brought me on this journey of leading my staff, and He continues to help me learn ways to support, encourage, and help staff in this important area of ministry—funding.
Contact Rob Mahon via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.