There is a saying my cycling coach used to say to me often when I would race foolishly. The saying goes, “You cannot win the race in the first mile, but you can certainly lose the race in the first mile.” As it relates to leaders and raising resources, you cannot achieve God’s dreams for the things you lead simply with resources, but without them you will surely fail. Yes, I admit, while not the sexiest of tasks for any leader, but unmistakably one of the most important, is that of raising resources. Whether you are recruiting a key volunteer or staff position or asking a prospective donor to sacrificially give, I would go as far as to say that any leader who is not actively raising resources is not leading at all. These impostors are, at best, managing and at worst hiding.
As church leaders we are in the LEADERSHIP business. We lead projects. We lead meetings. We lead worship. We lead leaders. I cannot over-emphasize how critical raising resources is in the “leadership business”. Leaders are not afforded, nor would they desire, the luxury of simply managing the resources in front of them. This is true for a whole host of reasons, not the least of which being that rarely is a resource ever around for very long.
Key people move away.
Small Groups fill up.
Ideas run dry.
Money spends and equipment breaks.
…and so on…
It has been said that good leaders have a laser-focus on the vision. Progressing, the great leaders keep that vision in front of the people and articulate it clearly and often. While both are unmistakably true, let me be so bold as to say, that the art of raising resources is one of the distinctives among the best of the best. The best leaders, leaders who are really taking people or projects to new depths of transformation, are leaders who not only know what they need to accomplish God’s dreams, but they go out and get it.
They recruit new people to serve.
They launch new small groups.
They find great ideas.
They raise funds & find equipment.
Take a minute to be honest with yourself about what you sense is God’s dream for the ministry you lead. Be sure you can quantify that dream somehow, knowing we only ever have a small glimpse of what God is up to. Then take a few minutes with a pen and paper to start listing all the resources you will need to make that dream happen. Now please do not misunderstand me, The Holy Spirit will still need to touch it and make it happen well apart from your own efforts, but remember you have a part to play. I would argue that one of the most important tasks in front of you is gathering the resources needed to set the wheels in motion.