Blog readers please note: Starting in 2016, I will be routinely posting content from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix Book Summaries for church leaders.  SUMS takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; and each solution is taken from a different book. As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS provides 26 editions per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

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So what is Andy Stanley's Killer Secret to Church Fundraising? It is using a powerful biblical principle and metaphor to reframe the believer's opportunity to live a generous life. Here is the way we unpacked it last year in SUMS Remix:

PROBLEM STATEMENT  of Edition 1.7:  We have leaders who are reluctant to do another campaign. 

You have probably done capital campaigns before and many church goers are tired of the same old-school campaigns year after year. (By the way, that's why we started Auxano campaigns as a vision-based resourcing service.)

Rallying people to a better future is not new.  Building leaders and directing energy is baseline to the human enterprise. But the church is still the HARDEST PLACE ON PLANET EARTH to focus. Whether it’s a breakout of congregational opinions, the rampant “sin of niceness” or a plague of risk aversion, getting the vision done is more fantasy than testimony.

Solution 1: Focus on the dynamics of fear vs. faith by using the biblical image of sowing seeds.

FieldsofGoldTHE QUICK SUMMARY

Fields of Gold is a practical and inspirational book based on the principle of sowing and reaping. If we sow fear, what will be our harvest? And conversely, if we sow faith, what will we grow?

In the book Andy Stanley unpacks our irrational fears about money, helping us to discover that generous giving is actually an invitation for our heavenly Father to get involved in our finances and resupply us with enough seed to sow generously throughout our lifetime.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

Many people would like to be generous givers. But the realities of steadily rising prices of everyday goods, shrinking retirement funds, and an uncertain world economy give us pause. The questions come like a rushing whirlwind, burying good intentions:

  • How much can I afford to give?
  • What if I give away too much?
  • What if there s not enough left for me?

As Christians, we know that we should give but sometimes it's so hard to take that step of faith and let go when it comes to our finances. Under the growing pressures to make ends meet each month, it’s easy to become irrational in our thinking about God, his faithfulness, and our role as stewards of his resources.

That line of irrational thinking quickly leads to a fear that obscures both our thinking and the facts of how we know God wants us to handle our finances.

If we truly believe that God is who he says he is we have no reason to fear. Doesn’t it make sense to trust the God of the Universe with your finances? Isn’t it time to put aside the worry and start living in confidence?

When you begin to view your wealth from God's perspective, you'll see that the thing to fear isn't giving away too much, but sowing too little.

It's important to realize that fear and faith often go hand in hand. By nature, when you pursue a growing faith you increase your exposure to potential fears.

It's no accident that the Bible addresses this condition head-on. There's no drought when it comes to verses designed to help us let go of our fears and embrace our God-given calling to be generous stewards rather than fearful owners. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus assures us that when we seek His kingdom first with our seed, we need not fear being wiped out: ... “he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.” (NLT)

When you begin to view your wealth from God's perspective, you'll see that the thing to fear isn't giving away too much, but sowing too little.

You see, when we respond in fear to an invitation from God, we forfeit the reward of being faithful stewards. Sowing in faith results in an eternal crop. Cowering in fear yields empty fields.

Stepping outside your comfort zone is not careless irresponsibility, but a necessary act of obedience.

- Andy Stanley, Fields of Gold

A NEXT STEP

Fear and faith are parallel concepts that must live constantly in tension. Doubt and indecision are actually ingredients for both our fears and our faith. If everything was a certainty, where does faith come in? Our faith is engaged when we stand on the edge of the unknown. By relying less on the visible and more on the invisible, we begin to exercise our faith. And in that moment of faith, we often are vulnerable to fear. When it comes to giving, many Christians know they should give, but our fear of “what could be” overtakes our faith.

The answer to this challenge comes in the biblical metaphor of sowing. God provides for us (seeds). But seeds weren’t made for holding; they were made for sowing. Unless we sow our seeds, we will never know the harvest they will bring.

Overcoming the tension of our fear and faith requires a simple, but profound change in our concept of ownership. Answer these two questions:

  • Who really owns your possessions?
  • Who's calling the shots for you financially?

If we truly understand and believe that God owns it all, we have no basis for fear. And, if God also is the source of all our wealth, and is in charge its increase and decrease, then we have no reason not to give.

The path to a secure financial future is to get God involved as soon as possible. The sooner you become a sower of seeds and not a hoarder, the sooner you will reap the harvest.

Once we realize that it really is better to give than to receive, there’s no limit to what God will do with our gifts.

Taken from SUMS Remix 7, published February 2015.

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About Will

Would you like more meaningful progress in your church? 

I want you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, I’ve worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing mega-churches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. I have the privilege of being the founder of Auxano, a church consulting group and Younique, a personal vision and life planning training company for the church. Most people know me from two of several books that I have authored: Church Unique: How Missional Leaders Cast Vision and Create Movement and God Dreams: 12 Templates for Finding and Focusing Your Church's Future.

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Will Mancini