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

Situation: How do you collaborative with other givers?

“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.

In part 2, he highlighted examples from Nehemiah and Acts, pointing out seven reasons that Christians should give together.

In this final post, David explains what he, and the Maclellan Foundation, have learned about how Christians can give together well.

 

Scripture: Love “one another”

Many wealthy givers are used to getting what they want, when they want it. Our wealth allows us to move as individuals rather than as part of a tribe, or a community.

Giving together is an opportunity for God to challenge us toward humility and submitting ourselves to others. As givers set out on this journey together, take a moment to reflect on some of the “one another” passages of Scripture.

  • Give preference to one another in honor. (Romans 12:10)
  • Regard one another as more important than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)
  • Be at peace with one another. (Mark 9:50)
  • Be of the same mind with one another. (Romans 12:6)
  • Bear with and forgive one another. (Colossians 3:13)

Giving together is an opportunity for God to challenge us toward humility and submitting ourselves to others.

Steps:

As we bring givers together, we have learned a few lessons.  They are simple, will help get your Kingdom collaboration off to a healthy start.

 

1. Agree to Be Broadly Evangelical, but Denominationally Neutral.

Don’t make your theological fences too narrow. But don’t make the fences too far out either. Everyone should be able to commit to the Lausanne Covenant or the Nicene Creed, but not be required to belong to any one specific expression of Church.  Everyone should have a shared passion for the completion of the Great Commission in China.

 

2. Gather in Person at Least Annually.

In the age of technology, it is tempting to limit your interactions to Skype, or conference calls.   That’s fine for follow-up meetings, but don’t have your initial meetings online.

A key objective of these collaborations is to just be together, to sharpen each other as iron sharpens iron.  And if you think about that proverb, the two pieces of iron have to come into physical contact with each other in order to do any good.

 

3. Share Your Passion and Perspective.

Be intentional about sharing the types of ministry that interest you, and also some of the specific groups that you fund.  For example, share that you love “sports ministry and media evangelism”.   Then share which specific groups you have funded in those areas.

Be intentional about sharing the types of ministry that interest you, and also some of the specific groups that you fund. 

It won’t take long to see common passions start to emerge.

Then, also share your perspective on the challenges facing the growth of the church in your nation.  It won’t take long to see a common focus start to emerge.

 

4. Create Space for Shared Learning about God and Giving.

First, you want to set the culture for the Collaboration, and not someone from the outside.  But, after that’s happened, bring in good speakers or teachers.

We have seen that the best first step together is to experience a Journey of Generosity as a group.

 

5. Celebrate Each Other’s Successes; Learn from Each Other’s Mistakes.

You’ll give to some things and God will show up and awesome things will happen.   And at the same time, some investments you make will not work out.  Talk about both with equal intentionality.

Be willing to take some risks together, and don’t view a lack of success as a failure.

One of my heroes is Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb.  He said that during the process of inventing the light bulb, he never once failed.   He just learned 9,000 ways not to make a light bulb.

Be willing to take some risks together, and don’t view a lack of success as a failure.

You won’t fail together, but you may learn some ways not to invest in the Kingdom.

 

Those are five lessons we have learned from this journey thus far. I’m sure there are others.

Finally, let’s reflect on two proverbs that come from the Chinese culture.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – Lau Tzu

 

Take that first step today.  Ask God to show you who would be a safe place with which to start to share your passions and your perspectives about advancing the Kingdom of Christ in your country.

Tell me, I forget.   Show me, I remember.  Involve me, I understand. — Chinese proverb

 

In these posts, I’ve told you and I’ve shown you. I am excited to be involved with you, as you get involved with other Kingdom givers. Let us know how we can help you.

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