Moses, that great…fundraiser? You bet. If you need to raise money for ministry expansion, Moses provides an excellent example in his capital campaign to build the Tabernacle.
Element #1: The Leader Proclaims God’s Commands for the People to Give Willingly.
God could have provided the needed resources for the Tabernacle by sending them down from heaven with the daily manna. (Every pastor’s secret fantasy when facing a building project.)
However, here, as in all other examples of fundraising projects in the Bible, God used Moses, the primary leader, to challenge the people to give.
“And Moses spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, saying, “This is the thing which the Lord has commanded, saying, ‘Take from among you a contribution to the Lord; whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as the Lord’s contribution.” (Exodus 35:4-5a, NASB 1995)
Neither God nor Moses saw any inherent contradiction in commanding people to give willingly.
Element #2: The Leader Assures the People that Their Gifts Will Be Used for a God-Ordained Task.
Moses said that God had commanded the people to give to provide for divine worship in the Tabernacle.
And Moses spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, saying, “This is the thing which the LORD has commanded, saying, ‘Take from among you a contribution to the LORD…for lighting, and spices for the anointing oil, and for the fragrant incense…for the ephod and for the breast piece (35:4-9).
You can’t expect God to bless a fundraising project for a task that isn’t in His will. But God stirs people to give when their leader assures them they will be giving to fulfill God’s purposes. Make sure you can show that the money you raise will enable you to achieve the work of God.
Element #3: The Leader Tells the People the Variety of Ways They Can Give.
Moses told the Israelites what kinds of things were needed for the project, thus providing a variety of concrete ideas of how they could contribute. He listed items such as gold, silver, bronze, ram’s skins, porpoise skins, acacia wood, lighting oil, spices, and precious stones (35:5-9).
This is especially important during a building campaign when you are trying to help people find extra money to contribute. In our capital campaigns, we print a list of many possible ways to give such as selling boats or cars, withdrawing money from savings and retirement accounts, selling jewelry, postponing a vacation, etc. This list helps to stimulate giving.
Element #4: The People Give Generously to Fund the Project.
Moses’ fundraising leadership was tremendously successful; the people of Israel gave so much that he had to command them to stop!
And they said to Moses, “The people are bringing much more than enough for the construction work which the Lord commanded us to perform.” So Moses issued a command, and a proclamation was circulated throughout the camp, saying, “Let neither man nor woman any longer perform work for the contributions of the sanctuary.” Thus the people were restrained from bringing any more. For the material they had was sufficient and more than enough for all the work, to perform it (36:5-7).
I’ve seen people respond generously to capital campaigns many times. However, I’ve never had to order them to stop giving. Wouldn’t that be fun?
Follow Moses’ example and watch God greatly bless your fundraising project.
Rod Rogers is a former senior pastor who, as a church capital campaign consultant with AbundantGiving.com, helps pastors raise funds for building, remodeling, and retiring debt.