Have you ever seen a time when supporters give more than you need?
To really learn how God wants us to do our ministry fund-raising, it is good to look at His instructions for building the Tabernacle in the wilderness. This took place near the beginning of the Israelites’ big move from being slaves in Egypt to possessing their promised land.
Remember, they were in transition for 40 years. God wanted them to have a place to worship Him, and it needed to be attractive enough to keep them from making and worshipping golden idols like that calf again. So God gave Moses very detailed instructions for the creation of the tabernacle and the visual aides for their worship. (See Exodus chapters 25-31 and 35-40 for those precise details).
Who was to pay for all of that though? How was Moses to raise the funds for this big ministry project?
Simple. Once Moses had explained the plan to all the people in the camp, he was to invite the people to contribute the raw materials and the wealth needed to complete this big place of worship. The materials needed were specified but the giving was optional, and the amounts the people wanted to give were optional.
What happened? Did Moses have to plead every Sabbath for the people to give, even a tenth?
No. When Moses told the people plainly the details of God’s instructions, the people responded gladly and – listen to this: they gave more than what was needed! Moses had to tell them to stop. (I don’t know of any other place in the Bible where this has happened).
We see in Exodus 35:29, “All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the LORD freewill offerings for all the work the LORD through Moses had commanded them to do.” Then in the next chapter, 36, we see that the skilled workmen appointed to do put the tabernacle together, told Moses that the people had brought more than enough. “Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: ‘No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.‘ And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do the work.“
Say! Wouldn’t you love to send out such a message to all your supporters? – Whoa! Whoa! Stop! We’ve reached a time when supporters give more than we need!”
Let’s go back to the Bible to see what might be the requirements to trigger such a situation.
Please note that God had given Moses all the detailed instructions and patterns for building every part of the tabernacle and it’s furnishings. All he was required to do was share those plans with the people, and ask them to bring the material resources. Some of the women spun yarn and made linen fabric, and even sewed animal skins together, so they were able to be involved practically too.
The most obvious suggestion then would be to share your plans with your supporters and show them that this is direction from the Lord God Himself. (This implies that you have heard from, and worked out with the Lord beforehand what His plan is for your ministry).
Secondly, if your supporters are motivated by the plan and see that it is from God, you will not need to tell them how much to give. They will want to be part of the Work of God, and will gladly give as much as they can. You may, in fact, reach a point where you have to ask the givers to stop giving – because you have more than you can use! Wouldn’t that be wonderful?