D. Michael Henderson and What the Mormons can teach us about Major Donor Development

Regular readers of this blog know that my admiration and adoration of the writings of D. Michael Henderson borders on the man-crushy. Dude is flat out brilliant. Read everything he ever wrote. Then read it again.

No, he’s not a ‘fundraising’ writer.

(The best writers on fundraising, in fact, are those who never write about fundraising. They are those who write about things like coaching and discipleship. What makes them great is that they help us to see that we’re holding the wrong end of the scissors, which is why our scissors don’t cut so well. Translation: we focus on fundraising activities, whereas coaching and discipleship focus on the recipient of those activities, i.e., the major donor, or what in Transformational Giving we would call the champion.)

So take a read of Henderson’s ode to Mormon discipleship strategies (noting that Henderson is anything but a Mormon, but he knows a good strategy when he sees one), and ask yourself, “How would my major donor development program look differently if I Mormonized it?”

“The Mormons are growing rapidly because their methods are more biblical than ours. We call ourselves ‘Bible-believing Christians,’ but that’s only half true: we believe the message of the Bible, but we don’t practice the methods Jesus modeled. Here are some things the Mormons do which are more biblical than our evangelical model:

  1. Every Mormon is a witness. They tell people about their experience in the church. This is what Jesus said should happen when the Holy Spirit comes: ‘You shall be my witnesses…’
  2. Every Mormon is expected to be a missionary. Young Mormons commit two years of their lives to missionary training and on-the-job experience. This is not perceived as something they will do and ‘get it over with.’ No, the two years of missionary service is preparation for an entire life of outreach, service, witness, and evangelism.
  3. They meet people in their homes. They don’t call non-Mormons to public meetings. Here’s an interesting statistic: Mormon missionaries going door-to-door report less than one convert for every thousand homes on whose doors they knock. However, when presentations are made in the home of a Mormon friend or relative, the conversion rate is more than 50% Just like Jesus did!
  4. In every local ‘ward,’ there are trained evangelists who can be called upon at any time to make a presentation for Mormonism. They’re good at it. They receive special training. These are not professional revivalists who travel around the country giving speeches in churches; these are local Mormons who are evangelizing local prospects. This is the Ephesians 4 pattern of the early church: apostles, evangelists, prophets, pastors/teachers.
  5. From the very outset, a ‘ladder’ of spiritual development is presented: a seeker is presented a picture of what he or she could become by faithful participation in the Mormon community, and it is a compelling motivator. Jesus did this. ‘Follow me, and I’ll make you fishers of men.’
  6. The invitation to become a Mormon is not based on getting rid of guilt, but on gaining an abundant life. It is not a guilt management system. The focus is not on past sins, but on future fulfillment—not future fulfillment in eternity, but right now. This was Jesus’ message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come; it’s right here, right now’

The quote is from Henderson’s The Ladder of Faithfulness. Make sure to get thyself a copy straightaway–it’s under 10 bucks even.

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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2 Responses to D. Michael Henderson and What the Mormons can teach us about Major Donor Development

  1. Pingback: D. Michael Henderson and the art of the coaching conversation in champion discipleship « Transformational Giving

  2. Pingback: What the Jehovah’s Witnesses can teach us about P/E/O « Transformational Giving

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