Fundraising in a New Light
Without a doubt, fundraising is the hardest part of youth ministry. This is a class I clearly missed in my duration of Bible school! However, any youth pastor can tell you that fundraising plays a vital role in making things happen in your youth department, church, or practically any other organization. Sheaves for Christ is probably one of the most important causes for which we raise money, and youth pastors know that finding the perfect fundraiser to meet all needs is something we search for desperately and dream of often.
In early April, we were planning our annual Sheaves for Christ kick-off rally that we host in our section every year. My wife and I were discussing what goal we should set for our students to raise this year. As we discussed numbers and the reason for our amounts, I felt in my heart that this was the decision for the students to make, not for us. We would make the goal known to our students, but it would be their efforts that would make it happen. As we stood in the altar of our sectional rally with our students, I asked them to pray over our amount we wanted to give as a group this year for SFC. Quickly, we reached a consensus and our goal was inked on the SFC commitment card I held in my hand. This was the first time in our ministry I have ever left a dollar amount decision to our students! Over the next services, we discussed our goal again, and I told our group that this would be an amount we could reach. But it would take all of us—not just a handful of faithful students—but ALL of us to reach the goal that was set before us.
I received a random email that the distributors of Yellow Book, Inc. were looking for local church groups to deliver phone books to the Little Rock Metro area. I made the necessary phone calls, and within a few days, we were committed to delivering over 7,000 Yellow Book telephone books to residents of Cabot, Arkansas. We were fortunate that our current church building was undergoing renovations, and we were able to operate out of a “warehouse” to get the phone books bagged and stacked for processing. Our students spent hours in the sweltering summer heat of central Arkansas unloading pallets of books, stacking, bagging and restacking, loading, and unloading book after book.
One of the most amazing things to develop out of this fundraiser was the spirit of unity that arose from within the group. This was their goal, their commitment that they were determined to complete. We spent hours together locating businesses, walking streets, and visiting house after house talking about why we are doing this throughout the entire process. Some students who hadn’t truly found their niche found a place where they could be plugged in, and they knew they were helping a cause that would reach globally. We have seen these same students make efforts in other avenues of their spiritual walk as well as their social connection to their youth group.
As we completed our massive job, someone blurted out “I can’t wait until we do this next year!” At first, I thought he was being sarcastic, but I quickly learned he wasn’t. As Proverbs 14:23 reads, “In all labor there is profit, but idle chatter leads only to poverty”(NJKV). It could have been easy for our students to spend their summer talking about a goal they never intended on reaching, or giving up on a task that seemed impossible, but I feel am fortunate enough to lead a group of students who dug deeper than the surface work to get behind a goal and do their best to see it through to fruition.
I am blessed to be a part of students who are willing to pray and open their hearts before God, and seek out his plan for their part in aiding ministry as we know it. Today’s generation has accepted the challenge to do more than just talk about their commitment to ministry, but are willing and most importantly able to see it through.
If you would like to be a part of this fundraiser, contact Yellow Book to see if they have openings in your area.
Shane and Wendy Clark serve as the student pastors of Nexus Student Ministries at New Life Church in Cabot, Arkansas under Pastor Tim Gaddy. Shane also serves as their sectional youth president for their local section. In addition to full-time secular jobs and a fulfilling ministry, they are the proud parents of Allison, age six—who is a whirlwind of energy that they couldn’t imagine their lives without.