Raise Your Vision

February 24, 2015

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The One Thing That Motivates the Most Giving By Mike Stickler

There are many different ways to give to ministries, and there are many different motivations for giving. As we plan to raise ministry funds, it’s important to understand what motivates people to give to an organization.

Some people are motivated to support an event. It’s important to them to support an event they believe God will use to touch lives. Others want to give to something tangible, such as a building, vehicle or piece of equipment that will help the ministry be more effective. Some want to give to causes that help people directly—perhaps with food, housing or education. Others want to give because the practice of giving blesses them and helps them grow in spiritual maturity. If there is one thing that motivates givers more than anything else, it’s this: when they’ve been gripped by a compelling vision. They can see that the ministry is striving to accomplish a vision that will build God’s kingdom and change people’s lives. Vision is what drives everything forward in ministry. It is what makes people want to get on board with what a ministry is trying to accomplish. One thing that dampens people’s desire to give is the “constant needs” approach. That’s when a ministry seems has no compelling vision, but instead always asks for money for one need this week and another need next week. Not only do givers grow tired of that kind of appeal, but it also makes the ministry leaders feel like they are manipulating their donors. And in a way, they are.

It’s amazing isn’t it, the many reasons people have for giving. And nothing motivates giving as much as a ministry with a clearly defined vision.

What motivates you to give? How does your ministry seek to encourage giving?

You can hear more about Effective Ministry Leadership from Mike Stickler on this week's featured program. Mike is also one of the presenters for The Generous Life Conference.

 

 

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February 20, 2015

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Freebie Friday: Podcast with Tami Heim

Get your free podcast with Tami Heim, CEO of the Christian Leadership Alliance.
Staying Ahead of the Game in Ministry
(Click on the image to download)

February 19, 2015

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3 Essentials for a Great Ministry By Mike Stickler

Do you want to see your ministry move forward this year? There is a lot that goes into leading a ministry, but I consider these three pieces to be essential for an effective, growing ministry:

 

1.    Find a good, strong coach or mentor—or several.

Every leader needs someone who can help them move their ministry forward. You need somebody from the outside looking in who’s encouraging you, directing you and giving you good, solid advice.

I don’t just say this; I have it myself. I have a philanthropist who speaks into my life. I have other ministry leaders and pastors who speak into my life and help me to stay on track.

2.    Have an effective plan, and work that plan.

You have to “reverse engineer” your goal. First, look at what it is you want to accomplish, and then “take it apart” to see what things need to happen along the way to complete your goal. Then put those things on your calendar and do them when the time comes.

Too often we have planning sessions that aren’t effective because we don’t end up working the plan. We write it all down, file it away and return to doing the same things we did last week. Instead we need to go back to the plan regularly, look it over and over again and ask, “Where are we in our plan? Are we moving toward our goal?"

3.    Be accountable.

This involves recognizing that you already are accountable.

You’re accountable to the plan, because you’ve written it down.

You’re accountable to your team. Once you sell your goals and plans and get consensus on them with both your board and your staff, now you have to stay mutually accountable to one another. The team says, “Leader, are you doing what you said you were going to do?” And the leader asks, “Team, are we doing what we said we were going to do?” Ministry leaders need to take the lead on establishing and maintaining accountability in the organization.

A coach, a plan and accountability--three pieces that are essential for keeping your ministry on track and moving forward this year.

What else would you consider essential for a great ministry?

You can hear more about Effective Ministry Leadership from Mike Stickler on this week's featured program. Mike is also one of the presenters for The Raise Your Vision Online Forum.

Here is a Great way to get a coach

 

All information and images property of The Vision Group, Ltd. © 2015 Use, unless expressly given by the Company in writing, is unlawful by U.S. Copyright Law.

February 11, 2015

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Serving as Generous Ambassadors By Mike Stickler

An ambassador is an authorized representative or a messenger. Twice in the New Testament the Apostle Paul referred to himself as Christ’s ambassador.

An ambassador possesses several things:

  • The authority of her home country
  • A commitment to the message and mission of the one who sent her
  • The resources of her nation

As ambassadors of Jesus Christ, we carry with us His resources. That means we can—and should—be generous ambassadors. I don’t know if there’s a school where you can learn how to be an ambassador for your country. But when you and I become disciples of Christ—His students and followers—we’re learning to be His ambassadors.

Giving is a part of being a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Sometimes, talking about money and giving seems like a necessary evil, something to get out of the way so the real ministry can begin. Many leaders have said (or at least thought), “I want to get the fundraising out of the way so I can get on to the real work of the ministry.”

Yet generous giving is part of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Just like other aspects of discipleship—prayer, obedience, forgiveness, love, worship—it IS the work of a true disciple. My mentor Art Ritter has said, “Giving itself is a ministry. And unlocking a spirit of giving, unlocking a generosity approach to life in someone else is as valuable as most of the other ministry that we do for other people.”

Have you heard the saying You can give without loving, but you can’t love without giving? Since we’re called as disciples to love God and our neighbors, giving is part of how that love is meant to be expressed.

Making disciples requires teaching them to give.

Someone has said, “Stewardship is God’s way of raising people, not man’s way of raising money.” Why? Chris McDaniel, ministry development director, has the answer: “We are called to make disciples, not find money.”

Chris goes on to say,

“As disciple makers we need to incorporate stewardship into the discipleship process.

I think of a great example from Scripture. The rich young ruler approached Jesus, who at that time was actively doing ministry, traveling around with his disciples. And the rich young ruler asked, “How can I obtain eternal life?” He was rich and affluent. And you might think Jesus would have begun to talk about the wonderful impact that He and His disciples had been having and then asked for a major gift.

But He didn’t do that. He said, “I want you to go sell everything and come follow me.”

And I think that’s what we need to use as our model; we don’t want the money, we want them. If a disciple is someone who follows Christ and is fully committed to living that life, which includes giving, then stewardship needs to be a part of that equation.

So my challenge to the development practitioner is, let’s create ambassadors versus creating ‘donors.’ And if we approach it that way, then how we go about ministry will look a lot different.”

If you are responsible for the fundraising for your organization, you might question whether this applies to the work you do. A board member once said to me, “Do you realize how ridiculous it sounds, going and ministering to our donors? Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds? Why do we think that that would be our role?” And my answer was, “Well, because those were Jesus’ parting words. The last thing he said was, ‘Go and make disciples.’” That’s at the heart of everything we do: make more and better Christians.

Here are some practical ways leaders can produce generous ambassadors for Christ:

  • Teach regularly on stewardship from the Scriptures. It can be a difficult subject to tackle sometimes. It doesn’t always go smoothly. (The rich young ruler turned away from Jesus rather than give up his wealth.) But no faithful teacher of God’s Word will avoid it. Chris McDaniel said, “As we push people into God’s Word and move them into this area [of stewardship], it does affect the outcome of their growth, which is spiritual growth, lasting growth. It’s not manipulative growth.”
  • Model generosity yourself, and make it a standard for your board members and other leaders. One church requires a track record of faithful giving (along with the other biblical qualities) before someone will be considered as an elder.
  • Openly proclaim and celebrate what donors’ giving has accomplished. Few things encourage enthusiastic giving like seeing and hearing how one’s gifts have helped change someone’s life.
  • Address what I call the 800-pound golden gorilla in our churches—the idolatry of consumerism. God’s people are in possession of tremendous wealth, especially in the West. But much of it is being spent on things that don’t matter for eternity.

Over the years, the church has taken a lot of lumps over its emphasis on money, and a lot of them have been self-inflicted. Sadly there is no lack of money scandals in the church’s history.

So, wouldn’t it be great if Christians—especially Christian leaders—had an undeniable and irrefutable reputation for being generous?

Wouldn’t it bless the Lord if His people followed His example of giving and giving and giving and giving?

Wouldn’t it transform us if we gave enthusiastically?

If we lived every day as generous ambassadors, wouldn’t it change the world?

You can hear more about Effective Ministry Leadership from Chris McDaniel on this week's featured program. Chris is also one of the presenters at The Raise Your Vision Online Forum.

February 10, 2015

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Fundraising Isn’t Just About the Money By Mike Stickler

I’ll admit—it’s a curious statement from someone who helps ministries raise funds, but fundraising isn’t about the money.

Regardless of what work your organization does, ultimately it does it for one reason: to help people. So ultimately you raise funds to enable you to help more people and do it better. The money is just a means to help you to help people.


 

Now, we all know that every ministry needs money to operate. But all too often, fundraising takes on a life of its own. It becomes its own mission.

Chris McDaniel is Chief Business Development Officer for DELTA Ministries International. In a recent conversation he said, “I remember when I first came into a board meeting and tried to share a transformational giving story and was quickly squelched. What the board wanted to hear was how I was doing compared to my goals for the year on fundraising dollars. Now what’s interesting about that is that they would have never admitted that, but that’s what’s practiced. And I think that’s one of the realities that leaders and development professionals struggle with these days; fundraising is purely about the funds.”

In fact, the pressures on development practitioners can be so great that many only last for a year or two in the field. And in today’s difficult economy, the pressures are greater than ever.

But what if fundraising were thought of first as ministry to people, both the donors and the recipients? What if we kept the focus on the mission rather than the means of fulfilling it; on the destination rather than the vehicle? Here’s what it might do:

  • Strengthen relationships between funders and fundraisers by valuing the giver over the gift
  • Lessen the temptation to manipulate people just to meet a bottom line
  • Keep the vision at the center of all conversations between development professionals and donors
  • Elevate giving to the level of real ministry.

How might ministries do a better job at making fundraising about more than just the money?

You can hear more about Effective Ministry Leadership from Chris McDaniel on this week's featured program. Chris is also one of the presenters at The Raise Your Vision Online Forum.

 

 

February 06, 2015

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Free Training: Taking Your Ministry Global

You're excited about your ministry, and so is everyone else involved in or being helped by it. But does your community know you exist or is your organization one of the "best kept secrets in town?"

 

Taking Your Ministry Global, will give you tips to connect with your community to make your fundraising activities excel beyond expectation. Learn a wide variety of strategies, including working with the media, raising awareness, planning small and large events, and making use of direct mail, along with a range of other smaller-scale fundraising techniques. This session will help you think beyond the typical bake sales and raffles to a more engaging level of fundraising that will grow your support base to a regional, and even international, reach.

 

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February 05, 2015

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Want a Generous Culture in Your Church? Here’s What NOT To Do. By Mike Stickler

Chris McDaniel is a development professional, currently serving as the Chief Business Development Officer for DELTA Ministries International. I recently asked him what a leader should not do if he wanted to stir generosity within his ministry.

Here is Chris’s advice for leaders who want to create a generous culture:

  • Don’t value the gift over the giver. As a leader, check your heart. Check your motives. Do deep searching. Stewardship is a topic that is spoken of to a great extent in Scripture. There’s a reason why. Consider the conversations you’re going to have with Jesus someday about your motivations about what you’re pursuing and why. Operate in such a way you would not be ashamed of having that conversation with the Lord. Pursue the giver over the gift.
  • Don’t just keep doing something because it’s what you’ve always done. We fear that if we “mess with” our usual way of raising funds, the ministry will collapse. I would challenge my constituency: let’s break patterns that are not healthy and trust that God will produce more fruit in the long run.
  • Don’t continue to not talk about stewardship. The Scriptures are full of teachings about it.
  • Don’t allow the pressure of needing money to deter you from disciple making.
  • Don’t be afraid to take a journey of sacrifice. Sometimes doing the right thing requires it. Jesus is our ultimate example here.

What advice would you add?

You can hear more about Effective Ministry Leadership from Chris McDaniel on this week's featured program. Chris is also one of the presenters at The Raise Your Vision Online Forum.

 

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