Friday, December 18, 2015

Reviewing Thomas H. Jeavons and Rebekah Burch Basinger's Growing Givers' Hearts: Treating Fundraising as Ministry

Growing Givers' Hearts is not the type of book I normally pick up. I read the 200-pager for an Institutional Advancement class I took at CIU during the summer of 2013. It is divided into the following three parts and eleven chapters:

I.    What is Christian Fundraising?
       1. Creating Resources for God's Work
       2. What the Bible Says About Giving and Asking
       3. A Brief History of Christian Fundraising
II.   Six Essential Characteristics of Fundraising as a Ministry
       4. Confidence in God's Abundance
       5. A Holistic Perspective on "Kingdom Work"
       6. Clarity About Core Theological Beliefs
       7. Giving Donors Opportunities for Participation
       8. Integrated Organizational Planning
       9. Spiritually Mature Leadership
III. The Fundraiser's Ministry
      10. Fundraising as a Calling
      11. Fundraising as an Invitation to Cooperate with God's Grace

For three years, Jeavons and Basinger studied seven Christian organizations that successfully raise resources. The goal of the authors is to show how fundraising is a ministry and an opportunity for deep spiritual growth. Fundraising can include numerous staff members with a wide set of skills, develop leaders, and be something done creatively with confidence and generosity. Although I don't possess much expertise in the area of fundraising, perhaps it will be a big part of my future one day.

I like how Jeavons and Basinger have Scripture references (NIV 1984) and look at fundraising from a spiritual aspect, but keep in mind that they go about it from an ecumenical approach. They quote passionate reformers, popular Catholic priests, and Quaker theologians. Unfortunately Chapter 1 starts with a misquote from Saint Francis of Assisi: "Preach the Gospel always; and when necessary, use words." Not only was this quote never said by the friar, it goes against Romans 10:17. Despite the theological differences I have with Jeavons and Basinger, I'm sure Growing Givers' Hearts has benefited many and will continue to help believers to be good stewards of our God-given resources.