Few weeks ago or so I launched a fundraising effort to support the ministry I do. Although I have been working as a minister for years, I have never done any proper fundraising. I might have approached a pastor or two in a couple of timid and half-baked attempts, but it didn’t go anywhere.
This is kind of a baring-my-soul post, so I want to be clear. What I’m writing is not a complaint or placing blame. It is what it is — thinking out loud and being vulnerable as a minister. Now back to the topic at hand. In a sense, I realize that it is my fault. No one ever trained me how to fundraise, and I never took enough interest to learn about it in depth. Later, I had some very brief training, but even that didn’t help with my inner resistance to fundraising. In the seminary I learned a lot about the Antiochian school of theology or what “extra-Calvinisticum” means, but we had no class on raising support. We had no class to teach us how to handle ministry finances or even how to negotiate. Not only that, I always had this internal resistance towards fundraising. I had thought about it for some time in the past, and I just wanted to pour my heart out.
First, some of this resistance is perhaps cultural: growing up I had never heard of someone who did fundraising. I had been told to work hard, study hard, get into a good university (which I did), graduate, and find a job (which I did). My parents never had to search for a job. The government of the Soviet Union provided them with jobs after they graduated from university. But by the time I graduated, the Soviet Union was gone, the new nation Azerbaijan was rising, and I had to find my own job.