I get asked by many people where the finances to support Lapid Leaders Africa (LLA) come from. Infact a few months ago, a friend asked me if we had managed to raise funds from donors. I remember thinking, how I wish we had. Lapid Leaders has been built on sacrifices (I have written more on this in this blog here). We are in the process of developing the 2016-7 strategy of LLA and so I am thinking about financial sustainability a lot more. Where does any vision bearer get the finances to run the vision God gives them? After all without finances, the vision stays on paper. Turns out we are not the frst vision-bearers, and we can learn a lot from vision-bearers who have gone before us.
This morning I was reading the book of Chronicles. This book has a special place in my heart. It holds the word on which LLA is build on. The background to the verses I am reading is that David wants to build a temple for the Lord. However, the Lord tells him not to because he has a lot of blood in his hands. The person to build this temple is his son, Solomon.
However, what jazzes me is the extent to which David goes to prepare the temple, he might as well have built the temple really. He recognizes that his son is young and inexperienced and the work ahead was enormous and so he goes out of his way to make all the preparations for him.
The book of 1 Chronicles 29 is built on this background. In the previous chapter (chapter 28), David lays down all the plans for the construction of the temple. They are as detailed as plans come.
It is only after laying down the foundation paper-work, that he starts to spend time on the financial aspect of the plan. And in here is the first lesson on raising finances for any vision, you must start with the general structure of the vision. Build the plans, systems and structures for the vision and then you can begin the financial journey.
Unfortunately, many of us approach fundraising from the reverse; we think of the finances first and in the process we get too paralysed to ever do anything. As a friend tells me, God is a God of order, He will not give finances to a vacuum.
Like David, we must first spend time figuring out the plans of how we will build the temple, writing down the strategies of the vision, drawing up the plans and then we can start thinking about the finances. In corporate terms they call it prototyping.
Next. Fully sold out…
The next thing I learn from David is that you will have to sacrifice towards that vision. In 1 Chronicles 29: 2, David says, “Using every resource at my command, I have gathered as much as I could for the building the Temple of my God. Now there is enough gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood……and all kinds of dine stone and marble”
This first statement really challenges me. Using every resources at my command! David is not just talking about his own personal resources, but all the resources at his command as well.
This morning I asked myself if I have utilized every resource at my command for the work that is at hand. I have come to realise that every place God places you, He can use. You see, some are called to be the builders of the temple, some are called to be the resource mobilisers and some the resource givers. That’s the full circle of every resource at your command. And my prayer is ‘Lord, may I recognize each and every resource at my command. The work of rebuilding a temple is great, the resources needed are humongous. Please enable me to utilize every resource at my command.’
David then continues. ‘And now, because of my devotion to the Temple of my God, I am giving ALL of my own private treasures of gold and silver to help in the construction. This is in addition to the building materials I have already collected for his holy Temple. I am donating more than 112 tons of gold…..” This statement is the heart of a man fully sold out to a mission. David was so committed to this course that he digs into every resource at his command. He dug deep! Finances have a way of revealing our intentions and the overall state of our heart. Someone needs to coin a statement of where your heart is, that’s where you will find your finances.
David was so sold out to this mission that he had personally sacrificed not just his time, but all his resources, finances included. When I think of the assignment that is LLA, this words ring very true to me. I have given ALL my private treasures of gold and silver to help in this construction. ALL. A lot of sacrifice has gone to the construction of this vision (you can read more here). Why? Because I am fully sold out to this mission.
Are you fully sold out to what God has called you to? Really? Are you sure? The proof is in the pudding. You see we love the idea of a calling, we love the idea of doing what we love, we love the idea of being God’s servant, but not too many of us love the sacrifice behind it. Unfortunately, the world is prescribed to be built on personal sacrifices.
Then raise an army of supporters
Finally, after the clarity of purpose, after his personal sacrifice, David moves to the next step. In 1 Chronicles 29:5b, David says, “Now then, who will follow my example and give offerings to the Lord today?” Then the family leaders, the leaders of the tribes of Israel …..all gave willingly…The people rejoiced over the offerings, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord and the King David was filled with joy.”
What I hear from these verses is that some people are not called to be King David with the mission to construct the temple, some are called to support the work. Without the sacrificial giving of the leaders David worked with, I do not think that they would have raised enough resources for the construction of the temple.
I think more of us are called to be the leaders that supported David than those who are called to be David’s. The construction of the temple only happens when both David and the leaders contribute their gold and silver. But what I love about these verses, is that these leaders gave willingly but more importantly, it was to the Lord! I think this is the tricky part of ministry.
I think it is possible to whip up people’s emotions to give towards a cause, and I think that there is space for building supporters as David had to with the leaders, but I also think if the supporters do not recognize that they are giving to the Lord as opposed to the leader, then there is a disconnect. I do not think I have this part figured out. I think this is the current lesson God is taking me through. I will share as I learn it.
What I know is this, God’s kingdom is rich in resources but we are not as willing as these leaders were to support the construction work. I think too often a scarcity mentality, a fear of being misused (you can read more here) and a heightened need for critical analysis of the world we live in holds us back from constructing the temples. How I pray God raises for us leaders who will willingly help us build this temple.
Work on our hearts Lord
I think the body of Christ has to learn to give towards construction causes. I think if we do not, we fail the work of God. I think we all start small, I think David was only able to give so sacrificially to this temple not because of his wealth but because God had worked on his heart.
In 1 Chronicles 29:11b-12, David makes a statement that reveals the state of his heart, the why he was able to give so sacrificially to this vision. He says, “Everything in heaven and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your Kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. ..”
So there is my fundraising 101 class. Paper-work first. Fully sold-out to the mission. Raise an army of supporters. Work on your heart. Clearly, the work of constructing a temple or working on any vision is not for the faint-hearted, heck it’s not even for the very strong-hearted. I think it’s only for those God enables and equips. My personal commitment is that as long as God enables and equips me, I will run this bus. God at the center, God at the beginning, God at every corner, I would not have it any other way. I have no clue how anyone does such things without God being the heartbeat!