Back when I got my call to go into student ministry in Malmö, there was only one thing I was not too happy about: fund raising. I knew that in order to get to Malmö, I had to raise my funding. I saw this as having to put myself out there and say a few words about myself, and why people should start supporting my ministry in Malmö. I hated the thought but my calling and vision to enter into ministry, made me willing to “suffer” putting myself out there. My mindset was really that fund raising was a necessary “evil” to reach the goal of being able to minister to the students in Malmö.
I eventually got to Malmö, and started realizing that we need some practical structures in the Nordic countries, in order to make it easier to become workers in the field of student ministry. One of the first things I started considering was how to finance this kind of ministry. I played around with the ideas of how missions usually are financed in the Nordic countries, through mission organizations. But then a significant shift happened: I realized that this would probably be even more difficult, because so few actually know the whys of student ministry. There is a huge lack of knowledge and vision for what student ministry ought to be: a active work of reaching out to not-yet-believing as well as believing students on the campuses of this part of the world.
This shift made me realize that we need people to work on rising the vision for student ministry, and that fund raising is only the first level of this work. Our vision to reach the campuses of Europe is important enough that we should not stop our vision casting at the point of having covered our ministry budget. To reach all the campuses of Europe, we will need finances, yes. But we will also need so much more! We need people being interested into going into ministry, including supporting ministries. We also need churches to work with, and host our ministries. We really need to create a higher awareness of the whys of student ministry.
All this calls for the one kind of “currency” that are far more valuable that any money: Namely the currency of “vision”! Without vision, churches will not join us in our cause, nor workers, nor the church at large, nor the finances we need for our ministry. Indeed the words of Proverbs 29:18a rings true: “Where there is no vision, the people perish:” We do indeed have a vision for student ministry. Perhaps are we so eager to get into the “doing student ministry part”, that we stop telling the “why” part to people as soon as we got our finances covered?
The shift from fund raising to “vision rising”, has also resulted in a different view on the task of fund raising. Now I want to get started to do fund raising, so I can have a good excuse to tell people why student ministry is needed. I want to cast the vision to the greater church. The funds would be a bonus, enabling me to actually work in the field of the ministry I love, but the message is more important that the finances. Indeed the fund rising may end when the budget is covered, but the vision rising never should end. It should never be down prioritized during the workload of the ministry, but should be an integral part of the ministry itself.
Next time I will be fund raising for my ministry, my focus will not be on getting the funding. Rather I will focus on communicating the need to reach this people group; that our students at our campuses today are. Indeed I am tempted to do like Hudson Taylor, who never accepted an offering or gift when he had just presented the great need in China. He had found that people would give more, sometimes even themselves, if they could not at once be relieving themselves of the burden his vision had cast upon them. They would go home, pray over what they had heard, and God would speak…
I may not currently have a ministry to raise funds for, but I do have a vision that needs to be raised in the minds of the people here in the Nordic countries… Expect more from me about this!