Mission fundraising – Creating a culture of Catholic missions.
Fundraising can play an important role in creating a culture of Catholic missions. Before I start talking about the role fundraising has to play, however, I should explain what I mean by a ‘Culture of Catholic Missions.’
The Church is a people on ‘Mission.’
Christianity is not a social club. Before Jesus ascended into Heaven, He gave His church a mission, to proclaim the Gospel to all creatures and make disciples of all the nations. God calls all Christians to get involved in this divine mission.
But what does that look like? What does that mean in my life, and how do I live it out?
To help create a culture of Catholic missions, I need to know my role in the missionary activity of the Church. I’ve also got to live out that role as fully as I can.
I have to live the mission of the Church as a husband and father by keeping Jesus at the center of my family life. I have to live the mission of the Church in my professional life by using my gifts in a way that is pleasing to God. The mission of the Church needs to permeate the way I spend my money and my leisure time. I might even need to join the missionary work of the Church as a missionary.
The idea of lay, or non-clerical, missionaries seems to be a fairly new one in the Catholic Church. Protestants are way ahead of Catholics on this. They’ve been sending out lay missionaries for generations, so they already have a more fully developed culture of missions. We Catholics have a lot to learn from them.
Developing a ‘Culture of Catholic missions’ means that all of the members of the Church are fully engaged in her missionary activities.
Fundraising – the first mission field.
The fundraising missionary has an important role to play in creating this culture. I heard a missionary do a fundraising appeal at my parish a few years back. She said, “Some people give by going, others go by giving.” I think she was quoting some holy person, but it is a pretty common part of most missionary fundraising appeals.
That’s because it is true. Donors to the missions get to share in the rewards of missionary activity in a very special and concrete way. “Whoever receives a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward…” (Matthew 10:41) Missionaries and their financial support team are very much united in the missionary activity of the Church.
By fundraising, the missionary invites their community to join in the missionary activity of Church. I think it’s not a stretch to say that this makes fundraising the very first mission field that the missionary has to tackle. When fundraising, the missionary has the opportunity to ask a lot of people to live out the call to mission in a very concrete manner. The donor’s ‘yes’ is a very practical moment of conversion.
A donor to the food bank feeds the hungry by their giving. In the same way, donors to missionaries become evangelists. It’s quite beautiful, really.
The power of a culture.
In talking to several Catholic missionaries, I’ve heard numerous times that they find it easier to raise mission support from Protestants than from Catholics. This is because the missionary culture is more deeply rooted in Protestant churches. They expect missionaries to come to them for support, and they plan on giving before they are even asked. They understand that giving to the missions is something that they are called to do.
Catholics who don’t understand this are apparently more difficult to ask. I have heard that they are frequently resistant the request for financial support because the idea of privately supporting a missionary is foreign to them. They put their check in the basket (if they even do that, Catholic giving statistics are terrible) and expect that to take care of their obligation.
The sad thing is that they are missing out on a tremendous blessing. Being involved in the missions, even as a financial supporter, is a powerful work of charity. Not only is it good, but it’s good for you.
Building the kingdom – one ‘yes’ at a time.
If you’re a missionary, or thinking about becoming a missionary, I hope this is a great encouragement. Raising money to support your mission is not just a distasteful hurdle that you have to jump to go do something good. Fundraising IS something good. By asking people to support evangelism and ministry to the poor, you are giving the opportunity to live the Gospel more fully. It will change their lives, even as it changes the lives of those you meet in the mission field.
Looking for more articles on personal ministry fundraising? Try this one:
Check out The Fundraiser’s Playbook for a full list of fundraising articles.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.Would you like to learn more about raising money for Church and Ministry? Check out Letters From The Almoner, now available on Amazon.com.
Check out these other titles on raising money for missions:
by Steve Shadrach. Author Steve Shadrach has spent years training missionaries how to successfully build their financial support team. His approach is based on truths found in the Bible and it really works.
by William P. Dillon. If you are raising money for a personal ministry or misson, this book should be your starting point. It provides a practical and actionable system for finding the people who will support and sustain your ministry in the future.
by Betty J. Barnett. This book has practical tips on fundraising, but focuses more on the inspirational and spiritual perspectives that will sustain you when you are fundraising.
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