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Is The Fundraising Plan Your Pastoral Function?
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By Gardner Bermudez
 
A church with a mission faces challenges and projects where the financial factor is the key. All of us without exception need resources. If you offer a free gift of one million dollars, even a multimillionaire wouldn’t reject it. Then, whom are we going to ask if every one potentially lacks resources, and those who have it, won’t share it? 
 
Our theological curriculum doesn’t include a course related to planning or fundraising strategies except through additional seminar.  But aren’t we dealing with planning on a daily basis?  Even if it is not our major skills and specialty, these are some steps to consider:
 
I.  ADOPT NEHEMIAH’S STRATEGIC PLAN
 
1. To humbly recognize our limitations in order to receive and accept training on this matter.
 
2.  To define yourself being loyal to the spiritual vision and mission with earnest prayer. We are mentors and coaches, not spectators. Fundraising is still within our perimeter.
 
3.To solicit our Conference leaders to train us with a professional orientation to work in harmony and alignment. We are the link between the church and administration.
 
Our major role is to train the saints, promoting actively “Go and make disciples.” But we can be like Nehemiah who was not a prophet, priest, and didn’t depend on an ecclesiastical position to launch the reconstruction of Jerusalem.  He was a fundraiser and planner. Preaching and praying are not our only duties.
 
There is a need of Nehemiahs in the church today – not men who can pray and preach only, but men whose prayers and sermons are braced by firm and eager purpose. The course pursued by the Hebrew patriot in the accomplishment of his plans is one that should be adopted by ministers and leading men.” (SW March 29, 1904 Ellen White)
 
II. FACILITATE AND COACH THE TEAM WORK
 
1. To commit elders first because they are the key on decision-making. Before Moses went to Pharaoh, he first spoke  to the elders of Israel. “So Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord who had sent him, and all the signs which He had commanded him. Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel. And Aaron spoke all the words which the Lord had spoken to Moses. Then he did the signs in the sight of the people.” (Ex. 4:29-30) Some people may think that if only Moses understood, it was enough for the whole of Israel. Why did they need to spend time consulting the elders if it was God’s mandate? It was not a waste of time. God likes teamwork because unity is His essence. If the Israelites were not convinced to come out of Egypt, God would have never forced them.  It was a mutual agreement. Likewise, our churches should determine shared goals to raise funds. As leaders, it is our duty to promote the urgency of working together but never pressuring members if elders and churches are not ready to move forward.
 
2. To establish with all our members the vision, mission and church values. This is ownership.
 
3. To resist the temptation of elaborating a plan on our own. It would be like giving a sermon to a layman to preach it exactly like you do it. Promote creativeness.
 
4. To teach, inform and communicate in giving instructions about policy and rules. This is democracy. This is an open-minded attitude.
 
5. To promote participative leadership. The church board nominates a planning committee and subcommittees to involve the church body.
 
6. To train every committee giving authority and power to perform the fundraising plan. This is discipleship.
 
7. Fundraising does not happen by accident. Earnest prayer and faith work together in unity. Nehemiah presented the vision so clearly to Israel, creating confidence. The human mind is opposed to any idea that is misunderstood. How can a plan prosper? Which plan are we using to involve our members? Is it enough democratically clear?  In regards of Nehemiah’s attitude Ellen White says:
 
When they have laid their plans, they should present them to the church in such a manner as to win interest and cooperation. Let the people understand the plans and share in the work, and they will have personal interest in its prosperity. (SW March 29, 1904 Ellen White)
 
Gardner Bermudez is pastor of the Calgary Spanish and Calgary Maranatha Spanish Churches in Alberta, Canada