Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Teach "First Fruits"

I had the privilege of attending a leadership conference this month.  Good stuff.  There were a lot of seminars on fund raising.  I was encouraged to actually hear the word “transformation’ used frequently.  There were many seminars with good principles on TG.  It was great to get affirmation that TG is the right track. Several presenters were helping others to see the TG is not about the agency or the project but about the giver.  So I was encouraged as I learned more.

Unfortunately there were also some discouraging seminars as well.  For example one had a lot of TG talk, but no TG action.  The data they encouraged you to gather from the giver was being done in the name of relationship building, but the purpose was to just get more money.  But there are lessons to be learned even in the ‘transactional’ seminar.

I learned that the purpose is the key!! I learned that we must walk-the-talk and not just talk-the-talk.  The talk of TG cannot be artificial.  The goal must remain focused on ministry to the giver, and trust in God to give the increase.  This focus helps us not be phony.  This purpose must be revisited daily to keep it genuine.

I also learned the need to keep the focus on the ministry not the money.  Focusing on ministry means I help the giver stay focused on the depth of God’s work, not the depth of their pockets. One presenter mentioned our biggest competition is the rising cost of gas and milk.  I humbly and whole heartedly disagree.  If the focus is on God’s ministry and the champion’s role in ministry, we need not panic when gas prices go up. The Bible teaches that giving comes from our first fruits.  I was discouraged with the talk on disposal income and how the rising cost of living eats away at disposal income which means less money for ministry.  If the ministry of God is based on what is left over, we are all in trouble.  But I believe that the ministry of God is done with the first fruits.  And God honors the champions who give their best.  Since when is God’s work restricted by the price of oil and milk?

Since TG is based on the theology of God’s abundance and not a God of scarcity, the champion’s disposable income is not the issue.  Focusing on disposable income reduces giving to a choice between the movies or giving. The champion does not have to decide between giving or going to the movies.  The reason:  when giving is done out of obedience it is an issue of stewardship, giving from our first fruits.  So when all bills are paid and the champion has $10 left in her pocket she is not torn between the movies and the ministry, because the ministry was already  ‘paid’ with the first fruits, not the left overs. Transformational living frees giving from being disposable.

No comments:

Post a Comment