Planting Seeds, Reaping Golden Harvest
December 01, 2008 | Seeds
By Blake Weaver
Over the course of my seven month tenure as the NICS Development Director, I have been asked a central question many times. Although the inquiry is often worded differently, I suppose it can best be summed up as “Blake, what exactly does your job entail?” I often perceive that the real motive of this inquiry is primarily birthed from unfamiliarity associated with my job title rather than a deep interest in my job description. Although the Development Department’s objectives are quite clear to me, I have learned that the whole development concept is rather ambiguous to some people. In the following lines of this article, I would like to address the question posed in relation to what development means to me and for us as an organization. As defined in the Thesaurus, the word development suggests the “act of improving by expanding or enlarging.” I reason that this definition best sums up the technical aspect of what the NICS Development Department is trying to accomplish by building the SEED Fund. In light of NICS/Oasis` constant pursuit of improvement, assisting the Network with its various financial needs in relation to growth and expansion is this department’s primary goal. With 21 current schools in 17 countries, the scope of our network continually challenges our ability to meet the various needs of expansion. We are growing, and many of our locations need to expand. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that the NICS Development Department primarily exists to raise money for network expansion.
My typical response to the question above is that “my job is to raise money for NICS/Oasis.” This is a convenient answer, and it is true. However, development at NICS is not merely about the technical perspective of fund-raising. Thankfully, our Development Department represents something much more. I firmly believe that this department’s agenda must be set with a stewardship perspective in mind. In his book Major Donor Game Plan, Patrick McLaughlin states, “In my mind, fund-raising is about meeting short-term needs, and stewardship is about long-term investment. Fund-raising is about giving from the head (a cognitive decision), but stewardship is about a decision from the heart.” I advocate that Pat’s thinking is dead on point. It is certainly fitting for the ministry that God has entrusted to us as His stewards. As His chosen caretakers of this Kingdom work, we fully understand that “If God doesn’t build the house, the builders only build shacks. If God doesn’t guard the city, the night watchmen might as well nap.” Psalm 127:1-2a (The Message).
Having laid this foundation, it is most certainly true that a donation to NICS/Oasis is a long term investment. Yes, we actively seek funding for Network expansion. It simply takes money to physically enlarge our ministry. While buildings must be built, land must be bought, campuses must be renovated; it is a joyous realization to know that the invested dollar actually works to plant more seeds, reap more harvests, and helps ensure the continuation of this organization’s ongoing pursuit to “reach the world for Christ through international Christian education” as the NICS Purpose Statement declares. J. Hudson Taylor once stated that “God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.” We look forward to seeing God continue to supply our needs.
Patrick McLaughlin, Major Donor Game Plan (Grand Rapids: The Timothy Group, Inc., 2006), p. 27.