David Denmark on “How do you collaborate with other givers?” Part 2 of 3

Situation: How to collaborate

“How do you collaborate with other funders/foundations?” – Cynthia, South Africa

In part 1, David Denmark, executive director of the Maclellan Foundation, pointed out that God hand-picks certain of His children and gives them the ability to produce wealth. His purpose in doing this is to confirm His covenant.

David says that we are to enjoy the wealth God has given us, and that one of the best ways to enjoy it is to engage with others who have the same gift.


Scripture: Building the Wall in Front of Your Own House (Nehemiah)

Christians, to whom God has entrusted with resources, could gather together in their own nations to pray, fellowship and strategize together to see the Lord’s Kingdom expand throughout their country.

It’s not a new idea, in 400 BC, God gave Nehemiah a strategy to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem, as described in chapters 3 and 4 of his book.


“The priests made repairs, each in front of his own house.” (Nehemiah 3:28)


Instead of being overwhelmed by the complexity of the Kingdom Need, The model was for each family to focus on building the wall in front of its own house.   But that was only half of the strategy.

Building the wall in front of your own home was the start, but the overall Kingdom task would not be completed until these individual sections of wall became part of something greater than themselves.

They had to collaborate with the neighbors on their left, and on their right.  In Nehemiah, each family was uniquely called to a task, and then they connected their individual callings together in collaboration.

They became part of something greater than themselves, and it produced a national transformation in record time.

That’s an Old Testament example of the concept I am calling Kingdom Collaborations.  The coming together to fulfill a Kingdom Purpose, in front of your own house in your own country.


The Early Church and Collaborative Giving (Acts 1-3)

In the New Testament, in Acts 1, Jesus told 125 followers that they’ll be his witnesses in Jerusalem. And by the end of Acts 3, thousands in Jerusalem were coming to faith.

How did it happen? Through collaboration.  They sold things and gave things, and they worked together to meet the needs that they saw around them.  That’s Kingdom collaborations.

We eat together, learn together, earn each other’s trust, and then apply your unique gifts towards the fulfillment of a common vision.

We connect our unique talents and unique resources to those talents and resources of the person on our left and right.

We eat together, learn together, earn each other’s trust, and then apply your unique gifts towards the fulfillment of a common vision.

In that way, our talents and our money become part of something greater than our own individual giving, and we can see transformation happen in record time.


Seven Reasons to Give through National Collaborations


1. God Has Given the Same Vision to Ministry Leaders.

As this vision has been stirring in givers, God is also stirring the hearts of ministry leaders that traditionally depended on foreign charity.

God is moving in both the supply and demand sides of Kingdom investing. He has given ministries a vision for national sustainability and to help givers “build the wall in front of their own house.”

For example:

  • Asian Theological Seminary in Manila is now 90 percent funded by Filipinos;
  • there is a Bible translation organization in Indonesia won’t undertake a new translation unless it’s 50 percent funded by Indonesians.
  • Romanian and Polish chapters of Every Generation Ministries have stopped receiving money from American donors
  • Ministries like Operation Mobilization and TransWorld Radio are now training leaders in every nation in which they work how to be sustained from within their own countries.

As always, God was way in front of us.   He was preparing the soil, and working in both the giving and receiving ends of Kingdom Growth.


2. We are designed to work out our faith in community.

Every discipline in Scripture is better together.  We’re designed to worship together, pray together, serve each other, confess to each other, bear each other’s burdens.

God’s vision is always for together.  Jesus’ final prayer before ascending to the Father was for the Unity of all believers.  Surely that also applies to our generosity.


3. Kingdom growth is always local.

God’s vision is always for together. 

The church is always growing in some specific Place.  And who knows what is best needed for local kingdom growth?   Local People.

The Maclellan Foundation does not know what is best for China.  America does not know what is best for China.  Chinese know what is best for China.  The growth of the Church in China requires a bunch of Chinese strategists funding a bunch of Chinese ideas.


4. Where wealth isolates, giving collaboratively unites.

Wealth isolates. You know this. We get busy. It takes a lot of energy and time to maintain our momentum and our possessions.

We are surrounded by people who rely on us and always say Yes to us. And the more wealth we have, the temptation is to trust less, and more isolated we become.

But in collaborative giving, instead of isolating, our wealth can attract.   It is the catalyst that actually brings us together.  We can connect with like-minded believers who do not rely on our money, and only need a place to share their stories, and their vision for Asia.  And real fellowship can happen.


5. Collaboration protects us from “black hole” projects.

We learned a long time ago at the Maclellan Foundation that we want to be investors in projects, not owners of projects.

If I am part of a collaborative group, and I am the only one who thinks a particular project is a good one, then I have an opportunity to re-think my investment.

If I am giving all alone, I may be tempted to continue to pour money into a bad idea.   In collaborative giving, we can rely on peers for honest feedback, and help us from falling into a hole with our giving.


6. Collaboration pools intelligence and resources.

We can pool resources for finding, evaluating and reporting on projects.  As a group, we can conduct research to make data-driven decisions.

Together, we can bring in experts and speakers, and can learn from each others’ giving.

It’s important to note that “giving together” doesn’t mean “giving someone else authority over your giving.”

Collaborative giving doesn’t mean you need to have a “common purse.”

Collaborative giving simply means that you gather with other Christians who love your country and love the Great Commission. Together, you share ideas to address the Kingdom needs in your country.


7. We become a community with a cause.

As wealthy Christians, we have common challenges:

  • how to steward our wealth without ruining our children,
  • how to manage your marriage when you have different views of giving.
  • how to balance work and wealth and family
  • how to create a legacy without being held hostage by it.

We have common enemies fighting against our faith and our families, we must band together. There is strength in numbers.  Especially in like-minded numbers.

Taken together, these seven reasons should inspire us toward giving together.


In David’s third post on collaborative giving, he will discuss best practices that Maclellan has learned about collaborative giving.

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