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Fundraising in the Bible: A look at some fundraising stories in the Bible

Fundraising in the Bible: A look at some fundraising stories in the Bible

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Published by Marc A. Pitman
Many think fundraising isn't appropriate for people of faith. But Biblical greats like Moses, David, Hezekiah, Nehemiah, and Paul were all fundraisers. In this free article, Marc A. Pitman looks over the stories and shares some thoughts.

You'll be amazed at the variety of ways heroes of faith used to raise resources! Hopefully this will give you some ideas for church fundraising.
Many think fundraising isn't appropriate for people of faith. But Biblical greats like Moses, David, Hezekiah, Nehemiah, and Paul were all fundraisers. In this free article, Marc A. Pitman looks over the stories and shares some thoughts.

You'll be amazed at the variety of ways heroes of faith used to raise resources! Hopefully this will give you some ideas for church fundraising.

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Published by: Marc A. Pitman on Sep 13, 2008
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01/20/2012

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Copyright © 2004, 2007 Marc A. Pitman, The Pitman Group,http://fundraisingcoach.com/ Page 1 of 13 
Thoughts on Fundraising in the Bible
I love asking people for money! I’m convinced it can be one of 
the
best ministries in the world.Not everyone agrees. Almost every time I’ve told pastors that I love asking people for moneythey say, “Thank God
 you
like doing that! I hate talking about money. I’m sure glad someoneenjoys it.”Imagine their surprise when I tell them that even biblical heroes like Moses, David, Hezekiah,and Paul were fundraisers! Each of them asked people to financially support God’s work—andtheir asking is recorded in the Bible.I think most Christians think money is “dirty” or “less than spiritual.” Did you know that Jesushad more to say about money than about most other things that we talk about in church? Moneygets right into the real stuff of our lives—our time, energy, and creativity. Even though we spenda large portion of our waking hours making, but comparatively few seem to know how to handleit.Asking for money is a way to advance the kingdom. There’s no greater joy than seeing someoneinvest in something they deeply care about. This article isn’t about financial stewardship; plentyof wonderful books on that topic are already on the market. I’ve listed some of those at the endof this article. My goal in this article is to help free us from some of our preconceived notionsthat hinder us and give an us an informed biblical framework for asking for money. I hope it’sused by both practitioners and for volunteers. I hope it will inspire millions of believers—lay andclergy—to begin the exciting journey of fundraising!
Stories of Fundraising in the Bible 
Let’s start this journey by looking at how money was raised in the Bible. I’m not sure it’s reallyappropriate to try to develop a specific model of biblical fundraising because these stories are sodifferent. But I do think we can pull out some tips or principles that will free us up raise moneyfor God’s work in a way pleasing to Him.This
is
a long article. That’s because I’ve included the large portions of biblical text of the storiesso you can see that I’m not throwing you any curve balls or making any of this up. I’m indebtedto Whitney Kuniholm for drawing my attention to most of these stories.
 
 
Copyright © 2004, 2007 Marc A. Pitman, The Pitman Group,http://fundraisingcoach.com/ Page 2 of 13 
Moses—The Text
Exodus 25, 35, & 36 :: New English Translation (NET)
Exodus 25:1-9 25:1 The Lord spoke to Moses: 25:2 “Tell the Israelites to take an offering for me; from every person whose heart makes him willing you are to receive my offering. 25:3 This is the offering you are to receive from them: gold, silver,bronze, 25:4 blue, purple, scarlet, fine linen, goat’s hair, 25:5 ram skins dyed red, fine leather, acacia wood, 25:6 oil for the light, spices for the anointing oil and for fragrant incense, 25:7 onyx stones, and other gems to be set in the ephod and in the breastpiece. 25:8 Let them make for me a sanctuary, that I may live among them. 25:9 According to all that I am showing you—the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings—you must make it exactly so.Exodus 35: 4 – 36:7 35:4 And Moses spoke to all the community of the Israelites, “This is the word that the Lord has commanded: 35:5 ‘Take from you an offering for the Lord. Let everyone who has a willing heart bring an offering to the Lord, gold, silver,bronze, 35:6 blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, fine linen, goat’s hair, 35:7 ram’s skins dyed red, fine leather, acacia wood, 35:8 olive oil for the light, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, 35:9 onyx stones, and other gems for mounting on the ephod and the breastpiece. 35:10 And every skilled person among you is to come and make all that the Lord has commanded: 35:11 the tabernacle with its tent, its covering, its clasps, its frames, its crossbars, its posts, and its bases; 35:12 the ark, with its poles, the propitiatory lid, and the veil that conceals; 35:13 the table with its poles and all its vessels, and the bread of the Presence; 35:14 the lampstand for the light and its accessories, its lamps, and oil for the light; 35:15 and the altar of incense with its poles, and the anointing oil, and the fragrant incense, and the hanging for the door at the entrance of the tabernacle; 35:16 the altar for the burnt offering with its bronze grating that is on it, its poles, and all its utensils; the laver and its pedestal; 35:17 the hangings of the courtyard, its posts and its bases, and the curtain for the gateway to the courtyard; 35:18 tent pegs for the tabernacle and tent pegs for the courtyard and their ropes; 35:19 the woven garments for serving in the holy place, the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments for his sons to minister as priests.” 35:20 So all the community of the Israelites went out from the presence of Moses. 35:21 And they came forward— every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whose spirit was willing; they brought the offering for the Lord for the work of the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the holy garments. 35:22 And they came forward,men and women alike, all who had willing hearts; they brought brooches, earrings, rings and ornaments, all kinds of gold jewelry, and every one who waved a wave offering of gold to the Lord.35:23 And every one who had blue or purple or scarlet yarn, or fine linen, or goats’ hair, or rams’ skin dyed red, or fine leather, brought them. 35:24 Everyone making an offering of silver or bronze brought it as an offering to the Lord,and everyone who had acacia wood for any work of the service brought it. 35:25 And every woman who was skilled spun with her hands, and brought what she had spun, blue, or purple, or scarlet yarn, or fine linen. 35:26 And all the women whose heart stirred them up and who were skilled, spun goats’ hair.35:27 And the leaders brought onyx stones, and other gems for mounting for the ephod and the breastpiece; 35:28 and spices, and olive oil for the light and for the anointing oil, and for the fragrant incense.35:29 The Israelites brought a freewill offering to the Lord, every man and woman whose heart was willing to bring for all the work which the Lord had commanded them to do through Moses.35:30 Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 35:31 He has filled him with the Spirit of God—with skill, with understanding, with knowledge, and with all kinds of work, 35:32 to design artistic designs, to work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, 35:33 and in cutting stones for their setting, and in cutting wood, to do work in every artistic craft. 35:34 And he has put it in his heart to teach, he and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. 35:35 He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, designers, embroiderers in blue and purple and scarlet yarn and in fine linen, and weavers. They are craftsmen in all the work and artistic designers.36:1 “So Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person in whom the Lord has put skill and ability to know how to do all the work of the service of the sanctuary, are to do the work according to all that the Lord has commanded.” 36:2 Then Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person in whom the Lord had put skill—everyone whose heart stirred him up to volunteer for the work, to do it. 36:3 And they received from Moses all the offering the Israelites had 
 
Copyright © 2004, 2007 Marc A. Pitman, The Pitman Group,http://fundraisingcoach.com/ Page 3 of 13 brought to do the work of the service of the sanctuary, and they still brought him a freewill offering each morning. 36:4 So all the skilled people who were doing all the work of the sanctuary came from their work they were doing, 36:5 and told Moses, “The people are bringing much more than is needed for the service of the work which the Lord commanded us to do.” 36:6 Moses instructed them to take his message throughout the camp, saying, “Let no man or woman do any more work for the offering for the sanctuary.” So the people were restrained from bringing any more. 36:7 Now the materials were more than enough for them to do all the work.
Moses—Observations
What an amazingly successful capital campaign! Have you ever had to restrain people fromgiving?! May we all have this problem! One of the most amazing things to me about this text isthe emphasis on the lack of manipulation in Moses’ appeal. God clearly told Moses to “take anoffering for me; from every person whose heart makes him willing” (Ex 25:1). And Moses’solicitation (Ex 35:4-9) is exactly what God told him to ask for, word-for-word (Ex 25:3-7). Hefaithfully detailed the needed gifts and the ways that those gifts were to be used. The requirementthat only those “whose heart makes him willing” were to give is significant. This fundraisingdrive came
after 
the golden calf debacle. The people knew they’d been wrong and could’ve beeneasily manipulated to give out of guilt. But God wasn’t interested in that kind of giving.I’m impressed by the variety of gifts Moses asked for. What I like about it is that really anyonecould participate. Of course they were in the desert so there wouldn’t have been that much needof money! I’m also impressed by the multiplicity of skills were resident in the people that hadbeen slaves in Egypt. I’m sure that’s true of the people in our congregations and the supporters of our organizations too.The rabbis comment on the difference in those “whose heart stirred him up” and those “whosespirit was willing” (Ex 35:21). Those who were willing, they say, brought what was required.This is good. But those whose heart stirred them were more generous, giving more than theirobligation. This was the better way. The sages also criticize the leaders. The leaders arementioned later in this section so they apparently held back. They probably had good intentionsin waiting—wanting to make up what ever would be lacking from the people’s giving—but theyfell short of their position since leaders should give first. Fortunately, they make up for this inNumbers 7.The people responded incredibly well to Moses’ obedient solicitation. If you go on and read allof chapter 25, you’ll see the very specific detail God gave Moses in how the gifts were to beused. And there’s an equally detailed account of how the gifts were used and who led the effortin Ex 35 & 36.It’s interesting that it’s specifically recorded that the offering was made to the Lord,
not 
to thetabernacle. In fact, this story is remarkably God-centered. God is present in every step of theprocess:
 
God details the need;
 
God tells how to use the supplies;
 
God prompts Moses to ask for the supplies;
 
God prompts certain people to respond;

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