It seems that no matter where I turn there is something negative about the economy - in the news, on an airplane, in a church message. It seems we have lost all hope. And that is what concerns me.
Where do we find our hope?
I know things are tough for many people. Our world had been turned upside down by our economic trends. People are hurting. But as development officers, what is our responsibility in the ministry of development?
- They made more personal contact with their constituencies.
- They communicated to their donors as to how they were continuing on with their mission while being wise stewards with what they had
Both of these points are key responsibilities of the development staff: relationships and the mission or calling. It is our job to continually make sure our donors know what God is doing with their stewardship investments.
Some boards are panicking and trying desperately to "raise more funds ". But the answer is to keep connected with those who are already giving. These are the ones who are stakeholders in your ministry. They do not want you to cut programs or staff without first giving them a chance to give.
Gary Hoag wrote a fantastic article for ECFA (First Quarter Newsletter issue) about what the bible has to say during tough economic times. He states three findings:
- Open the storehouses
- Sell some assets
- Give sacrificially
This is a must read and I encourage you to give it to your board and staff. This is where we find hope - in our true Source! We must continue to teach and share that our economy is funded by God, not human ingenuity.
Development people are full of hope. We are driven with a passion to see God perform miracles, heal the sick, feed the hungry, train children, and change the world. We must never lose our hope. We must never believe that "God is running out of cattle on the hillside "!
So keep going my friends. Listen to, care for, and empathize with those who are hurting. And continue to challenge those with much to be generous - for God LOVES a cheerful giver. God BLESSES those who are generous. God gives PEACE to those who do not love money, but use it for his kingdom purposes.
Yours is a higher calling. Do not take it for granted. Your executive director and your boards are feeling the weight of these current realities. While you must understand and not be ignorant of the situation, you can also be the one that gives them the hope.
God is still in control. God still has ordained your ministry to impact lives. God is still our provider.