Build your champion’s assets, not your organization’s

We’re continuing our discussion of how to use your past experience to create champion maturation strategies, using my own experience as a model.

In today’s episode, I’m 21 years old, serving as associate pastor of Covenant United Methodist Church in Fort Wayne, IN. At the time it was a church of about 400, growing quickly, largely due to the fact that the north side of Fort Wayne was growing quickly.

Each week I’d look out on the congregation and see more and more cheerful new people who appeared competent and capable of doing something more than just sitting there. Are they content just to sit there?, I’d wonder. By and large they certainly didn’t jump at the invitations we extended to attend this special event or volunteer for that activity.

One day I received a flyer to attend a training session on the Every Member In Ministry strategy utilized by Frazier Memorial United Methodist Church in Montgomery, AL. What they taught blew me away:

Every member makes two commitments when joining our church family: a commitment to Jesus Christ and a commitment to support the Frazer family through prayers, presence, gifts, and service. Our In His Steps Commitment cards reflect annual commitments of prayers, presence, gifts, and service by each member— children…students…and adults. Our commitments in these areas determine how and where Frazer will minister in the coming year.

The idea of people making a commitment in the areas of prayer, presence, gifts, and service wasn’t what blew me away. What blew me away was the final sentence above: What people committed in each of those areas would determine how and where the church ministered in the coming year. If members had gifts to run a nursery and the inclination to put those gifts to use, the church would have a nursery; otherwise, they would not.

That experience has profoundly shaped my thinking about nonprofits. In general, nonprofits determine what they’re going to do in a given year and how much that will cost. Then they turn to donors to give the money to cover the cost of that program.

But what would happen if the length, breadth, heighth, and depth of a nonprofit’s ministry–and its how and where–were determined solely by the corporate and personal assets of its champions (and you know from previous posts that I’m talking about far more than just the financial here), and the work of the nonprofit’s staff was to build those assets (rather than to solicit them)?

So how might I apply this insight from my personal journey to a champion maturation strategy for the cause of Transformational Giving through Mission Increase Foundation? (I’m doing this to model how you might apply your own experiences in relation to your cause.)

In yesterday’s post I laid out a P-level step based on my experience as a seven-year old. So today it seems fitting to lay out an E-level step based on this gift-experience the Lord gave me when I was 21:

I’d ask a champion to make appointments with me to visit each of the charities they presently support, touring and meeting with the ED at each charity. In those appointments, I’d ask the champion, “As we walk through this place, what are the corporate and personal assets you have that you think you could potentially deploy to make a difference in this cause? Why have you so far not chosen to do so?” And then in the meeting between the champion and the ED, I’d get both parties to consider the question, “How could and should Mr. Champion grow in relation to the cause this year? How can your nonprofit assist in the building of his personal and corporate assets in this regard?”

We’re moving here towards the idea that once it reaches the E level, the relationship between champion and nonprofit is covenantal–something we’ll be developing in MIF’s June workshop on Reactivating Lapsed Donors.

About Pastor Foley

The Reverend Dr. Eric Foley is CEO and Co-Founder, with his wife Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, supporting the work of persecuted Christians in North Korea and around the world and spreading their discipleship practices worldwide. He is the former International Ambassador for the International Christian Association, the global fellowship of Voice of the Martyrs sister ministries. Pastor Foley is a much sought after speaker, analyst, and project consultant on the North Korean underground church, North Korean defectors, and underground church discipleship. He and Dr. Foley oversee a far-flung staff across Asia that is working to help North Koreans and Christians everywhere grow to fullness in Christ. He earned the Doctor of Management at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio.
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