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Don Hughes
CEO Great Plains Christian Radio

What I learned from George Mueller about Fundraising

 

                                

Is there anything done for God that does not first begin with prayer?  Perhaps one of the best examples of God meeting needs through prayer would be George Mueller.  Mueller began homes for orphans in Great Britain during the 1800s and helped thousands of children during his years of ministry.  Mueller stated on the subject of prayer:

It is not enough to begin to pray, nor to pray aright; nor is it enough to continue for a time to pray,  but we must pray patiently, believingly continue in prayer, until we obtain an answer; and further, we have not only to continue in prayer unto the end, but we have also to believe that God does hear us and will answer our prayers.  Most frequently we fail in not continuing in prayer until the blessing is obtained, and in not expecting the blessing.

George Mueller in establishing homes for children had the principle that he would not ask anyone for funds, but our Heavenly Father.  He walked by faith and looked to the Lord to supply the needs for the orphanages that he built.  The first home for boys and girls opened in 1836 and all the money for the purchase of housing, food, clothes and support of the workers came through prayer.  No funds were ever borrowed and there were no special appeals to expand the homes or meet operating expenses.  Mueller kept a notebook of prayer requests and how they were answered and listed 50,000 specific answers to prayer.  The Mueller homes grew to eventually accommodate two thousand children.

Not only did Mueller have the homes for children, but also travel the world in preaching the Gospel.  He went on seventeen missionary journeys.  It is said that he preached six to eight thousand times outside of his home city of Bristol, England.  His messages were heard by more than three million people in the United States, Europe, Canada, Asia, the Orient, Africa, South America and Australia.  Mueller also founded the Scriptural Knowledge Institution which supported missionaries, schools and scripture distribution.  The organization helped around 120,000 students, distributed 300,000 Bibles and  1,500,000 New Testaments.  There was also the distribution of over 100,000,000 witness tracts.

His story is one that is truly amazing.  I wanted to learn from him because, I have to tell you that I feel that I walk by faith, but I present our financial needs to all who will listen and perhaps many more that donít.  I read books about George Muellerís life and searched the internet to find out more about this man of God.  What could I learn about his approach to funding ministry?

I donít want to take anything away from his commitment to using only prayer for fundraising, but as I look back on what he did I see some very good principles in fundraising.  It could be said that he was a man who exercised some important keys that we use in fundraising principals today, but he was totally unaware of it.

The most important element is that he prayed for the needs of the ministry.  Ultimately all things are in the control of God and we must lay our needs before the Throne of Grace.  When the disciples came to Jesus and asked for instruction on how to pray Jesus instructed us to request our ďdaily bread.Ē  Bread in Hebrew culture was of course a basic staple for life.  The symbolism is to request not only bread, but the necessities of life.  Certainly all good things come from our Heavenly Father.

George Mueller spoke about the many wonderful things the Lord was doing through the childrenís homes.  He gave stirring testimonies of the Lordís provision.  When he spoke in various places sometimes almost entire messages would be made up of testimonies of how the Lord had provided for every detail and material need of the Mueller homes.  He was such a dynamic and powerful speaker people wanted to be a part of the hand of God in supplying for these homes. 

Muellerís messages about the needs of the homes were a description of various needs and how the Lord supplied every detail.   When he spoke people were so moved that they could not wait for the opportunity to become involved in a ministry that so clearly was a dynamic and anointed work of the Lord.  You could not ask for a more dynamic illustration of the needs of the ministry than listening to a George Mueller report on how the hand of God moved in meeting the financial needs. 

Not only would the story of the homes be shared in Great Britain, but since George Mueller traveled the world in proclamation of the Gospel he would also tell the story of the orphanages.  It is said that the Mueller homes received donations from every civilized country on the planet.  Not only was he a speaker, but also an author.  Mueller was one of the more popular Christian authors of the day.  His love was for the Lord and telling the Good News of Jesus Christ.  His desire to go anywhere at anytime to proclaim the good news expanded his range of ministry and of course expanded the donor pool of people excited about his work and wanting to participate.  George Mueller was also very good at expressing thanks and making people feel good and appreciated for their gift.

Now letís review some very important principles we learn from someone who never asked anyone for a donation. 

  1. He prayed for the needs of the ministry.
  2. He gave soul stirring testimonies of the Lordís provision that motivated participation.
  3. Mueller expanded the borders of the ministry beyond orphanages and beyond the region which benefited the most from the homes. 
  4. The donors knew their donation was making a difference and was appreciated.

Even though George Mueller never developed a fundraising strategy the principals he practiced should be copied by all needing to raise funds.   There is enough here to establish your plans and keep you going for years.

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Don is observing forty years in broadcasting in 2009.  Great Plains Christian Radio consists of seven full power stations and thirty-six translators. The flagship station, KJIL, has been named Station of the Year most recently by NRB and in the past they have received that honor from GMA, NAB (Marconi), Focus on The Family and the Kansas Association of Broadcasters.  Don Hughes and his wife Polly have been married for thirty-one years and they have six children. 

Don Hughes can be reached at don@kjil.com

 

 

 

 

 

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