Last week we completed the successful launch of the center’s new website! The revamped page hosts all the resources of the older site, but in a more easy-to-navigate format. Users will find several categories on the right side of the site, and clicking on these reveals other posts under that category. Also, several years of newsletter articles are archived on the site. At the bottom of each article, you will find “tags,” sub-categories that you may also click for similar content. There’s even a search box for those times you’re looking for a specific resource. I hope you find the site both visually pleasing and a support for your stewardship leadership.
In this week’s newsletter, Tim McPherson reflects on his transition from serving as pastor to leading the advancement work at Nazarene Theological Seminary. It’s a tough, holy, and important calling.
Adam J. Copeland, Director, Center for Stewardship Leaders
Donors -- Friends of Faith
Rev. Tim McPherson
Soon after I took my first position as a seminary advancement officer, I was advised by a colleague with 30 years’ experience to cultivate relationships with our institution’s donors. "Call five donors a day," he said. During my first year of advancement work, this has proven more difficult than I had imagined. I’ve found that advancement for a theological institution presents a unique learning curve. With the relentless academic calendar, insatiable financial goals, fundraising events, trustee meetings, alumni connections and more, it might be easy to forget the donors.
“Donors.” Perhaps that label doesn’t aptly describe these special individuals -- those who, by faith, choose to partner with our seminary in its important mission. One seminary advancement professional recommended that we not refer to givers as "donors," because words like donor or patron don’t properly reflect the Bible’s teaching on stewardship -- that all things come from God and belong to God. Whatever motivates a Christian to give, ideally it’s not from a personal sense of ownership. Therefore, it might be better to speak of givers, supporters or financial partners. Maybe you've found a word for donor that works for you. Maybe it’s a term from the Scriptures. I’m still searching for a term to best describe some of my new donor friends of faith.
So far, in my new ministry I’ve met…
- Cheerful givers whom God has blessed through a life of hard work and honorable choices
- Sacrificial givers who give beyond what they are able
- Widows who are glad to give a mite
- People who take joy in having their faith stretched
- Others who surrender to God at the crossroad of obedience
- Those who seize every opportunity to combat the ways of this world
- Some with an incredible view to the future—where making an eternal difference informs their present values
- Others who sow in patience, content to let faith be the harvest they receive in their lifetime
- Givers who care so deeply that they pray for the seminary daily
- Some who give because, as alumni, they know the benefit of a seminary education
- Others who support because their lives have been transformed through the ministry of an alumnus
- Some who believe in the work of the seminary, though they may have never had a seminary-educated pastor
- Those who want to see God’s kingdom come and will be done on earth
- Those who have found joy in being stewards of God’s gifts
Connecting with these donors -- by whatever name -- has been a privilege and a rewarding experience. Though I've pastored for nearly 30 years, sometimes I’m profoundly moved by the responses I receive when I prayerfully look someone in the eye to "ask, seek, and knock." These are my new friends of faith. Sometimes they remind me how to be Christian. Hmmm, now there’s a label.
Rev. Tim McPherson has been a pastor for nearly 30 years and is currently the Dean for Institutional Advancement at Nazarene Theological Seminary.
Stewardship Speaker Series: Join us on campus this summer (June 16, July 21, Aug 18) for breakfast as we hear from groundbreaking stewardship leaders practicing distinctive, top-notch stewardship. Come to one event -- or all three! All events are free and open to the public. For more information, and to register, visit: www.luthersem.edu/stewlead.