Now and then I pull out my journal from exactly a year ago and read the entries surrounding and including that date. Dec 5th, 2016 was a very heavy entry (pic). I was processing the final days of my employment at Christ Community Church while at the same time begging God for help in my job search. In the interval between being served my severance from CCC (June 13th, 2016) till the day of my provisional appointment with InterVarsity (Feb 18th, 2017) I applied for a total of 39 jobs. 39 applications. Dozens of interviews. One offer. The two rejection notices I journaled about on Dec 5th were somewhere around options #27 and #28. The others I mention waiting on trickled back into my journal a couple of weeks later. No. And No. It’s cringy reading to revisit what I wrote.
I was actually offered my current job in late October, 2016. My hiring supervisor was a model of prayer, patience and confidence in God. Thank you Don Paul Gross! I was wrestling with God and myself over being called back to InterVarstiy. Back to the university. Back to students and faculty. And, yes, back to finding my own resources for employment. “Could I really go back to support raising?”
As my posts have spelled out over the past months… Yes, I could return. Not only to my former ministry, but to that precarious thing we call fundraising. Turns out I needn’t have been so intimidated. Finding $97.3K isn’t as impossible as I thought.
InterVarsity has always placed a high value on training and resources. One piece I encountered in my MPD coaching is a little booklet I finally took the time to read last week. Here are a couple of excellent quotes I want to harp about if you don’t mind. This is from Henri Nouwen professor and spiritual formation champion – a transcription of a talk he gave on The Spirituality of Fundraising. I love his perspective.
It’s so true that money conversations can be awkward. My recent experience has been a mixture of mostly positive and affirming interaction, sprinkled with a very small handful of awkward misfires. As of today my tracking report from InterVarsity lists just over 40 names. Those 40 names have come through months of conversations I’ve had with nearly twice that number. As I’ve spoken with people I’ve been relieved to rediscover how freeing conversations actually are when people get excited about the vision and mission they’re being invited into. Nouwen insists that asking for resources is a matter of asking people to invest in the Kingdom of God.
“God’s Kingdom is the place of abundance where every generous act overflows its original bounds and becomes part of the unbounded grace of God at work in the world.”
The more a funding conversation revolves only around monetary need, the more it does feel like you’re trying to talk with people about sex! But the more I’ve been able to rant and rave about what God is calling GFM to do in the university, the less awkward it is to talk dollars with people.
I have loved the time I’ve spent in conversations casting vision for Graduate Faculty Ministries. It really is a unique target audience most haven’t considered. What would it look like to reach every corner of every campus including the most exclusive places occupied by graduate programs, researchers and professors?
To all my stake holders and ministry partners who’ve spoken with me and decided to be generous with your resources – thank you. Thank you for making the time talking about this a delight, not a burden. Please continue to support me, resource me, encourage me and propel me on my way. My prayer is that you are experiencing the joy of watching God’s kingdom advance. May his kingdom overflow and his abundant grace bring life and light to some very unlit places in our world.
PS – If you’d like your own copy of Nouwen’s booklet, click here and email me your street address. I’ll have one shipped to you!