By Ian Jones
Whether you are just starting out or are looking to develop or expand your ministry we need to establish our reliance on God as our guide and our provider in all that we seek to do.
How we approach our funding needs and fundraising activities can be an important example and witness to those within the team and outside the team as much as our puppetry!
Prayer is essential in all that we do. In particular with our dealings with money! Remember that God does hear our prayers and he does respond but in His time and in His way. Whilst we trust in the Lord this doesn’t mean that we can sit back and wait to be showered with blessings! No, in 2 Kings Ch 4 the widow learnt an important lesson.
She cried out for help and made her problem known to the right person,
She had to offer what she had, however little it may seem (5 loaves and 2 fishes ring a bell?),
She had to be obedient and follow the instructions given to her.
Through a miracle, God provided for her need.
2. Raising Funds
Giving: Personal support from within the team is often the most common form of funding as teams start, however, not necessarily the most tax efficient.
Asking: Approaching the church for a one-off amount or an annual budget benefits from potentially tax efficient giving through Gift Aid as well as raising the profile of the ministry and it’s aims.
This can be through the children’s work or the outreach/evangelism budgets or from individuals giving through the main church system.
a. With Puppets – The puppets are the best promotional tool enabling people to see their potential and be inspired by their ministry. Supporting the puppet ministry may well provide the specific opportunity that some are looking for where their donation can make a real difference.
Using the puppets enables the full team to be involved in the fundraising activity.
b. Without Puppets – From coffee mornings to plant sales there are many different ways where people who are not necessarily puppeteers can contribute and get involved with the team.
c. Adopt a Puppet – A highly effective way of linking donations to specific characters through people “adopting” a puppet. This programme enables a more personal involvement and really creates excitement. A team recently used this for nearly 40 puppets who were adopted and then fostered in Africa. Each adopting parent received a card and photo of their puppet with their new family!
d. Grants – There are many grants available from the different denominations, local authorities and other funding agencies who recognise puppetry as a creative and expressive activity making a positive contribution to the community. Check it out and don’t miss out!
3. On-going funding of your ministry
It is very much your own personal decision as to how you or your team manages it’s funding. Whether you charge a fee for your performances, ask for expenses to be covered plus a donation or solely on a donation basis is up to you and may change over time. The important thing is to have a clear policy so that everyone has a clear understanding of how things work. E.g. fuel costs are reimbursed or they are gifted by the individual.
4. Sharing our blessings
As we are blessed in our ministry it is a privilege to be able to bless others. Whether by providing opportunities for people to make a love offering or simply a bucket on a chair where you are performing. Tithing as a team can also be a very practical way of reaching out.
5. What the Bible says
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”(NIV)