NewSpir 07-06-58

The Spirituality of Fund-Raising



Henri J. M. Nouwen

Henri Nouwen Society, 2004, 40 pp., ISBN 0-8358-9823-7


Internationally renowned author, professor and pastor, Henri Nouwen wrote more than 40 books on the spiritual side of life before he died in 1996.  This beautiful, free booklet is adapted from his passionate lectures on the subject of fund-raising.  It provides a thought-provoking and encouraging perspective of the relationship between fund raising and spirituality.


Henri was a generous man.  He was often asked for funds and he gave generously.   He also frequently asked others to support his various ministries. (Preface)  


"Fund-raising is, first and foremost, a form of ministry.  It is a way of announcing our vision and inviting other people into our mission."  "Fund-raising 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.  Fund-raising is precisely the opposite of begging."  (2)


"…we are inviting people into a new way of relating to their resources.  …we want them to experience that they will in fact benefit by making their resources available to us." (5)


"Those who need money and those who can give money meet on the common ground of God's love." (6)


"The question is not how to get money.  Rather, the question is about our relationship with money.  We will never be able to ask for money if we do not know how we ourselves relate to money." (11) 


Money is related to our heart need for security.  However, the Bible doesn't suggest we should find our security in money but in God. (14-15)


"But sometimes our concern for the poor may carry with it a prejudice against the rich."  "…my experience is that rich people are also poor, but in other ways." (18)  We must minister to the rich from our own place of spiritual wealth in our relationship with Christ.  (21)


"If our security is totally in God, then we are free to ask for money.  Only when we are free from money can we ask freely for others to give it." (23)


"Asking people for money is giving them the opportunity to put their resources at the disposal of the Kingdom." (25) 


"Asking for money is a way to call people into this communion with us.  It is saying, 'We want you to get to know us.'"  "When fund-raising as ministry calls people together in communion with God and with one another, it must hold out the real possibility of friendship and community."  (28)


"Fund-raising must always aim to create new, lasting relationships." (30) 


"Every time we approach people for money, we must be sure that we are inviting them into this vision of fruitfulness and into a vision that is fruitful." (31) 


"Prayer is the radical starting point of fund-raising because in prayer we slowly experience a reorientation of all our thoughts and feelings about ourselves and others." "Prayer allows us to see ourselves and others as God sees us." (34)


"As our prayer deepens into a constant awareness of God's goodness, the spirit of gratitude grows within us."  "Gratitude releases us from the bonds of obligation and prepares us to offer ourselves freely and fully for the work of the Kingdom." (35)


"Fund-raising is a very rich and beautiful activity.  It is a confident, joyful, and hope-filled expression of ministry.  In ministering to each other, each from the riches that he or she possesses, we work together for the full coming of God's Kingdom." (37)




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