by Brian Wonnick
In our relationship with a giver, the emphasis is on transformation. Spiritual transformation should be the basis of our relationship, and a time to exercise our professional discipline occurs when the tools of gift planning are used to assist the giver in completing a gift.
This concept, and other important issues of the donor relationship, are considered throughout Revolution in Generosity, a collection of 21 essays edited by Wesley Willmer and written by experienced and dedicated consultants.
- Is it transactional, where we’re just trying to make a “deal?”
- Is it a spiritual walk together to discover, to share, to enhance the personal relationship with their Lord Jesus? Is it transformation that we seek for the giver, the beneficiary, our organization and ourselves?
- Is the pressure from the urgent fundraising task so great that we don’t take time to start with where the givers are in their relationship with their Lord, recognizing that all with which we are entrusted belongs to the Lord? What God seeks from us is our faithfulness, trust and obedience.
- Is the work we do a career, or a calling to ministry of growing giver’s hearts?
- Do you rejoice in seeing a givers grow closer to their Lord Jesus, even though they’ve chosen to support another organization?
Revolution in Generosity points out that our human nature defaults toward two-kingdom (either/or) thinking. Only when we place our complete trust and confidence in the Lord are we fully enabled and released for the ministry of development. We are the sowers, doing so in a careful, disciplined manner to the best of our abilities. For our outcomes, we are to place our total belief, trust and confidence in the Lord, trusting God will provide for the harvest in perfect time and manner. The following quote, under the section “It Starts with the Consultant’s Heart” further illustrates this point:
The only appropriate response to that gift was to give myself back to God in gratitude for Him to use in whatever way He wanted. I could give to God every area of my life because His grace made me a very different person from what I was before. As each Christian consultant looks at his or her life and walk with Christ, as well as personal and professional goals, he or she considers his or her own values with respect to money, giving and stewardship and understands that the transformation process is not a strategy but brought about by conforming his or her heart to the image of Christ. Then and only then can they be role models and teachers of biblical stewardship. (p. 326ff)
The book certainly stresses prayer, and I like to emphasize prayer. When? I suggest praying in your preparations, just before you go in for the visit, and at the close of the call. You may ask donors for prayer concerns, and keep them in your prayers after you leave. Revolution in Generosity adds a critical dimension to prayer by providing the how, when and most importantly, the WHY we are to follow prayer with action — an action done with the full measure of the Lord’s provision.
The term consultant is used throughout. However, I’ve found the terms facilitator and catalyst to reflect more closely the relationship with the giver. It is a relationship of uncovering the potential of what might be. It is a relationship that empowers and reflects the individual’s potential to grow in relationship with the Lord. Help givers uncover and share their story of their faith walk with Christ, their Lord and Savior.
Brian Wonnick is a retired ALDE member from Regina, Saskatchewan. He continues to serve as a Facilitator, helping people live out their faith through applied Christian stewardship.