From Paralysis to Pleasant Places

I joined staff in 1971, and Brenda joined in 1977.  For twenty-six years, our funding generally held strong. (At least we weren’t operating out of debt.) Yet, when we moved to California in 1997 to join the Collegiate work, our financial situation changed dramatically.
 
For years our income fluctuated and declined.  We reduced our salary and struggled to get by. And on one painful day, Brenda and I looked at our Navigator account balance and saw a $20,000 deficit staring back at us. We needed help.
 
By this point in our ministry, we had transferred to the People Resources Team (PRT). Brad Hillman, Director of PRT, pulled the whole team together to rally around a few of us on the team who faced funding crises to pray and work together on our funding. The goal was to be out of deficit in 12 months.
 
All of us working together brought life into fundraising and eliminated the emotional paralysis I had felt. We prayed with and for each other as a department. I was praying for others to be out of deficit, and they were praying the same for me.  We encouraged each other and spurred each other on. And I worked hard at my funding!
 
In seven months, I took three funding trips and met with 40 people face-to-face. God used those appointments to bring in $1,250 in new monthly support. As an incentive, for every 10 face-to-face appointments we held, Brad would eliminate 10% of our deficit.  This motivated us even more! Yet, on the third trip, the wind was completely knocked out of my sails. 
 
On this trip, a pastor (who was also family) verbally attacked me and tried to invalidate my ministry and fundraising.  After that, I went back into paralysis and found no ability within myself to do what I knew I needed to. Yet, even during that phase, God brought in new income without my effort! When I couldn’t do any more, when my efforts ran out, His efforts on my behalf continued. Eventually, I recovered from that difficult emotional experience, yet I was so humbled that God continued to provide even when I was unable to do “my part.”
 
At the end of the 12-month period that Brad had designated for funding focus, not only were Brenda and I completely out of deficit, we had a healthy reserve in our account. And since then, we’ve slowly begun reinstating our salary toward its fully funded level.
 
In this process, I’ve learned these lessons:


Comraderie makes a huge difference.
Supervisor-imposed boundaries focused and motivated me.  For example, “You will work on your funding full time, and this will be your salary for a time,” were difficult constraints at first, but they helped me make decisions about my time and focus that I hadn’t made for myself.
Psalm 16:6 (“…The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places…”) helped me accept the new boundaries as from the Lord as His method for taking me to a better place.
God honored my efforts and worked beyond my efforts.
God is the Great Provider.  He provides energy to fundraise, and He provides the fruit of the effort.  
Get to know your Provider who sets boundary lines!  Let Him energize your funding efforts!  Then believe Him for the results. 
 
Contact Larry Bauer via email at larrybauer@att.net

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