A Pastor's Secret Weapon for Casting Vision and Fundraising

This blog was written by Brian Dodd, and originally appeared on his website, BrianDoddonLeadership.com. Check it out for more great insights on leadership!

I was recently with a group of pastors when the keynote speaker said, "I have come to learn that all churches are personality driven. Because if not, how do you effectively cast someone else's vision?" While I disagree with him, I conceptually understand what he is saying. But after all, it was Jesus who said in Matthew 16:18, "Upon this rock I will build my church."

There is still the issue of how to most effectively cast vision. Not all pastors lead churches they planted, or were involved in crafting it's mission and values. Most pastors lead churches with are board, committee, or lead by the congregation. So, how do you effectively cast vision you may have inherited or adopted, but did not birth?

Often, the best communicators of your church's vision are those most affected by it; those who are it's beneficiaries.

Adam Grant in his wonderful book, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, studied fundraising for universities. He found that average students, those who were beneficiaries of alumni donations, were three-times more effective at phone solicitations than university officials.

While universities and churches are completely different environments, the following are six lessons about vision casting and fundraising we can learn from this study, and apply to church leadership.

  1. Many pastors and church leaders are nervous about asking givers for additional donations.
  2. Therefore, inspiration can actually be outsourced to beneficiaries.
  3. The message from a beneficiary can feel more authentic, honest, truthful, and less manipulative than coming from certain church staff.
  4. Rather than feeling nervous, beneficiaries are excited to ask for financial resources to help more people just like them.
  5. Pastors should describe the vision, and then invite beneficiaries to bring life to the vision.
  6. The pastor's message should be an overarching vision to start the car, and the beneficiary's story should provide the emotional appeal that accelerates the car.

For the best example I have ever seen on the pastor providing an overarching vision, and beneficiaries giving it life, watch the video below. I will then have a few final applications.

Applications from the video:

  1. Financial Leaders Want to Feel Loved and Valued: Beth Marshall said, "I think they really love us." In a world where it seems all love is conditional, the churches who grow are the ones who practice unconditional love. When Beth experienced this, her response was, "I want to go back here."
  2. Financial Leaders are Attracted to Big Vision, So Give Them One: Beth said, "When you set goals, they are always so monstrous."
  3. Financial Leaders Want to Know the Results: Leaders do not have time to waste. They want to know the results of what they invested in. Beth added, "When we met, and exceeded, that goal, we all say, 'Why didn't we pray bigger?'"
  4. Financial Leaders Want to Leave a Godly Legacy: Brian Morgan stated, "I wish I could have grown up like our two girls are growing up."
  5. Financial Leaders Give Maximum Dollars to the Best Opportunities for Life-Change: Financial leaders have multiple options to give, so they will not waste resources or opportunity. Paul Marshall pointed out, "I bet the amount he (Brian) gave, and I don't know what it was, but he would give that today to see his girls come to Jesus. And I've got that for my kids and grand-kids."
  6. Financial Leaders Never Know Their True Impact Until Fully Unleashed: Perry reminded the couples, "When we gave, we thought we were giving to the Anderson Campus. But, we weren't giving to the Anderson Campus, because God's plans are always bigger...None of us had any idea."
  7. Pastors Should Raise as Much as Possible. Just Do It the Right Way: After hearing story after story, it is clear the generosity of these two couples, and thousands of others, helped pave the way for God to do incredible redemptive acts in the lives of people.
  8. Financial Leaders Desperately Want to Be Attached to a Vision Greater than Themselves: Perry Noble said, "In 2004, we had no idea, and what's more amazing is we still have no idea."
  9. Numbers Matter to Financial Leaders, and Not Just Financial Numbers: Perry concluded by saying, "Every number has a name. Every name has a story. Every story matters to God."

So, if you want to more effectively disciple and engage financial leaders, use your secret weapon - the beneficiaries of their generosity. 

For more insight on how to disciple financial leaders, download our free eBook, How to Disciple Financial Leaders, by clicking the button below.