Hi, my name is Justin, and I am a Fundraiser. That is hard for me to say sometimes because so much baggage comes from someone hearing that term “fundraiser” and thinking “solicitor.” I have learned a few hard lessons along the way and have even had some fancy titles. Giving Manager, Development Representative, Major Gift Officer, and Senior Philanthropy Advisor.
My wife and I served in global missions for several years. We got on the support raising bandwagon and did a very poor job. We slogged through countless donor appointments and church presentations. Through all that hard work, prayer, crafting newsletters, and PowerPoint presentations, we were only really able to secure about 85% of our monthly expenses. But the hardest lesson I learned, besides being underfunded and struggling financially on the field and almost getting to the point of complete burnout, was treating the different segments of my life and ministry as sacred and secular.
But how could doing ministry and living as a missionary be considered or even called secular? That, my friend, is a great question!
For too long, I considered Fundraising a necessary evil or a pain in my backside to get back to the Real ministry of discipleship and evangelism. Boy, was I wrong! I treated the ministry to donors as nothing more than an exchange with an ATM. I missed the opportunity to encourage them with the generosity of Christ’s gift on the cross! I missed out on praying with them in their need and offering them the joy and hope of living in community as we trust God for all of his provision.
What a turnaround! Ministry to donors is vital and shouldn’t ever be discounted or considered anything less than Gospel-centered discipleship. As Christians, we believe the Gospel is true with our words and our thoughts, but often our actions speak otherwise. Consider Peter and his letter to the Church in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.
1 Peter 1:13-15 (NLT) “So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy.”
Then further down, 1 Peter 1:18-22 (NLT) “For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.”
What joy! I love being a pastor to donors. There have been countless times where people have hung up on me when I have called or simply told me to get lost to my face. But there have been far more moments of real transformation and community when we all get to experience the joy of God’s provision and generosity.
Justin Jones holds a Masters in Nonprofit Management from Eastern University and a Communications degree from the University of Arkansas. He and his wife Shelli served for four years in global missions in Asia and somehow miraculously adopted their daughter from Bulgaria. Justin and his family reside in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and are members of Ethos Presbyterian Church. He enjoys playing drums on the worship team and is very excited to have found his calling and advocate for Bible translation.