By Rev. Ka Hon Tony Wong
As a pastor of small bicultural (English/Chinese) church, I notice that lack of resources is one of the discussions I have with the lay leaders in my church council. When I discuss this phenomenon with my Associate English ministry pastor, we recognize the concern of our church members and leaders: Both of the English and Chinese congregations serve diligently for the gospel in a city that is facing an economic downturn. How can we have more resources to support the ministry of this church and serve the community?
It is under this context that I attended the Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising training offered by Lake Institute on Faith & Giving on the campus of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. This training helped me and my church leaders think about and approach religious fundraising differently.
First, we have learned to view fundraising as more than asking for financial support. Fundraising is an invitation for others to participate in God’s mission in our church. Fundraising is an exciting opportunity to invite others to give their finances, time, and energy to serve the community with the love of our Lord. Everyone can give something to help the church live out God’s mission. We are not asking for money to cover the bills; instead we are inviting people to join the work of our Lord in this church.
Second, this training empowers us to discuss the issue of fundraising in a positive posture. I wrote my project proposal to help my church leaders and English ministry pastor understand the nature of religious fundraising and the possible practices that we can achieve together. I have had an opportunity to discuss with the leaders and pastor about rethinking the nature and practices of religious fundraising. This led to a good discussion that helps us have a better grasp of our church’s mission and vision, understand our church’s current financial situation, and brainstorm possible ways to do religious fundraising for various church’s ministry and renovation projects. Together, we brainstorm and think of ways that we can encourage others to give what they have knowing it is to help fulfill God’s mission in this church. Our church is learning to dream about the future that God has for us.
Now my church leaders feel more comfortable discussing plans for religious fundraising within the church ministry. We are actually putting some fundraising projects into action. I know that we are still in the process of learning how to do fundraising. However, I think we are moving in the right direction.
There is a piece of artwork that is hanging on the wall of my church. It signifies the collaboration between both Chinese and English congregations as we work together for the gospel in this broken world. I believe that artwork also alludes to the nature of inviting others to participate in the mission of this church. This fundraising training teaches us that we can give what we have with the heart of fulfilling God’s mission. We are thankful for this training.
Rev. Ka Hon Tony Wong is an associate pastor of the Chinese Ministry of Calgary Chinese Baptist Church in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Wong is also a Ph.D. student majoring in educational studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois.