To be honest, I wasn't all that excited when I realized I was going to need to be a fundraiser for the foreseeable future. I've done bits and pieces in the past and always struggled with asking people for money. At this point, my family is three months into raising funds for the first year of the vision we believe God has given us. We're trying to raise $56,843.00 to cover our seminary and living expenses. Throughout this process, I have read several encouraging books and had numerous encouraging conversations. And the biggest miracle of all isn't that we have raised over 60% of our funds, or that in the process I find myself growing and learning because of this difficult task, but that my aversion to fundraising is nearly gone! It's still hard, and I realize that I'm only beginning. But to see how the Lord is providing and how our community of friends are coming around us and believing in what God is up to in our lives has been a truly amazing thing!
Like I said, we've raised a little over 60% of our goal. All in all, we need $11,218 more to meet our goal and be fully funded for our first year of seminary, with church planting in mind.
Our prayer is that we are fully funded by the end of the August!
We're still looking for a few partners. Is that you?
One cool opportunity we have right now is the Nashotah House Matching Funds Scholarship. You fill out THIS FORM :: Seminarian Support Donation Form and send it directly to Nashotah House with your attached check. When someone gives in this way, Nashotah will match up to $4,500 in seminary tuition and expense. For example, if you give $50 directly to Nashotah House, they will match it and we will receive $100 toward our seminary tuition. (Get more information on this opportunity here).
Andrea and I have also set up a giving / partnership page on our website www.TheWillitsFamily.com. If you've been asking, "What is he talking about?" as you read this blog, you can find all the details there.
I've always struggled asking people for money—really, asking people for help. But in the Kingdom of God we participate together in God's work, always willing to help and partner with each other for the good of the Kingdom and good of the world.
Sometimes asking is really hard. Sometimes giving is really hard. Sometimes receiving is hardest of all. But asking, giving and receiving free, unmerited, unearned, 100% grace is something we must all learn—most importantly in our relationship with Jesus, and also in our relationships with one another.
I'm learning, growing, receiving and, with God's help, living every day more fully in the Kingdom of His Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:13-14).
Here's a bit from one of those books I mentioned. So good!!!
"We may think of fundraising as a necessary but unpleasant activity to support spiritual things. Or we might believe that fundraising reflects a failure to plan well or trust enough that God will provide for all our needs... From the perspective of the gospel, fundraising is not a response to a crisis. Fundraising is, first and foremost, a form of ministry. It is a way of announcing our vision and inviting other people into our mission. Vision and mission are so central to the life of God's people that without vision we perish and without mission we lose our way... Fundraising is proclaiming what we believe in such a way that we offer other people an opportunity to participate with us in our vision and mission."
From A Spirituality of Fundraising by Henri Nouwen