Growing the Budget: Raising Ministry Finances

Daniel Johnson
Hotdogs sitting in aluminum pan with condiments in the background

If you are campus based you most likely have to raise your ministry budget.  This is a part of my job that I originally hated.  I felt awkward asking others to support our ministry and give sacrificially to the work we were doing.  The finances were stressful!  During my first year we had a major partner restructure their finances and decide no longer to help fund our ministry.  This was a major blow and caused me a lot of stress and anxiety.  I questioned what we did wrong or what we could have done differently.  In that season I learned several lessons that I wanted to share with you.

1. I had to understand that not everyone would want to partner with us and that is okay!

The partner who removed their partnership began to focus their funds in a different direction.  I prayed for their endeavors. They were focusing on good things. It does no good to fester over what could have been. Remember the adage, “If the world were filled with if’s and but’s everyday would be Christmas with candies and nuts.” We have found others who greatly wanted to partner with us who seemed to appear out of nowhere. Move with the movers!  Do not spend your time regretting “the one that got away.” Instead, focus on being faithful.  

2. Cast your cares upon God.  He is better than we could imagine. 

If God is sovereign over your ministry, He is sovereign over your budget.  1 Peter 5:7 reads “casting all your anxieties on him, because He cares for you.”  In the midst of one partner stepping aside, I had to learn to trust in God even more. He opened the door for other partnerships to be strengthened and new partnerships to be formed.  God is good!

3. Don’t put God in a box.

Often when we pray we want God to act in a specific way.  But often it seems God answers our prayers in ways we did not expect.  We pray for a mountain to be moved, but the mountain that was moved was our own hearts towards His will. I won’t say something as cliche as “where one door closes, another door always opens”… that is nowhere in the Bible.  But I will encourage you to leave no stone left unturned, to revisit other partners and pray for new partnerships.  Several of our partners saw the good work that was being done and wanted to strengthen our partnership.  All it took was an ask. 

4. Continue in the mission.

There are many seasons in ministry. There are seasons of abundance and seasons of more utter dependence (we should always be dependent upon the Lord).  Either way God is faithful and we are called to push forward with the mission of building His Kingdom.  People want to contribute to something they believe in and somewhere they believe God is working.  Continue in the mission in the good and the bad seasons.  We have had several new partnerships arise as we were faithful in our mission! 

5. People want to invest, not give to a charity case.

When we lost our ministry partner, it was a huge blow.  We lost nearly half our ministry budget in one hit.  I felt like I had to scramble.  I felt like I may need to call in some favors or start showing people how desperate the situation was.  But people only respond to those dire situations every so often.  People will start to question if you can handle your finances or why others pulled out if you always show those cards.  I am not saying there is not a time and a place for that, but you must be wise.  INSTEAD celebrate the wins!.  Show them how their money is being spent.  Celebrate all that God is doing in your ministry.  Learn to tell your story.  God has continued to bless our ministry.  Last semester we shared the Gospel nearly 900 times. We have greatly increased our freshman ministry.  We are looking at taking nearly double on our spring break trip.  These are the stories and figures that get people excited.  What are some of the things you need to let your partners know about?  Consider a newsletter or a fundraiser dinner to celebrate these stories. 

I no longer hate the fundraising side of our ministry.  Instead I am just bragging on God and asking people if they want to invest in something worth investing in.  It has become one of my favorite parts of the job.  It allows me to meet new people and brag on God.  What could be better?

Daniel Johnson serves as the Lexington Regional Campus Minister and the Campus Minister at the University of Kentucky. You can follow the ministry on Instagram @ukbcm.

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