RAISING FUNDS FOR TRAINING – DAN KENNY’S STORY
Daniel Kenny wanted ministry training. Wyoming Church of Christ was keen to take him on as a ministry apprentice. But when their church couldn’t stretch the budget to employ and train him, they decided this wouldn’t stop them.
“Fundraising was really the only possible option for us,” says Dan. “Our church was in a fairly dire financial position but still saw the need to begin intentionally training future vocational gospel workers. It was more of a necessity than a choice, but what I would say is that God is sovereign; despite our church’s financial hardship, He made my apprenticeship a reality through the generous partnership of individual people.”
Dan worked closely with his potential trainer, the senior pastor, to begin raising funds. “Together we identified some key people to approach; people who were showing signs of growth and who had the potential to give cheerfully,” he says. “My trainer helped me think about how I should view these people – as partners rather than donors – and this was instrumental in defining the way I invited them to give.”
The idea of fundraising was daunting to Dan at first. “I remember finding it tough to sell raffle tickets as a kid,” he says, “so naturally, asking people to part with hundreds of dollars was a real challenge! I was so wary that people might think I was trying to strongarm them into something. Maintaining a biblical picture of gospel partnership was absolutely vital in this regard. I came to realize I was inviting people to be disciple-makers alongside me. They would resource my training and ministry (financially and prayerfully) in the same way that Paul was resourced by a number of churches in his time. Their support would be crucial to effective gospel ministry taking place; hence their role as disciple-makers alongside me. With this view in mind, talking about money and partnership was much easier and much more positive.”
Dan visited a few houses and a growth group on his own to explain his vision for ministry. “Each time I gave a short outline of what MTS was about, why I wanted to explore vocational gospel ministry, and what biblical partnership looked like. I felt it was important that people understood these things thoroughly,” he explains. “Without understanding MTS, they might think they were just funding another youth pastor or whatever; without understanding my passion and vision, they might doubt whether I’d stick it out for the long haul; and without understanding biblical partnership, they might lack a proper motivation for giving financial support.”
God used these conversations to provide 60% of the funds that Dan needed in order to train. He also applied for a grant that funded positions such as an apprenticeship. Dan was able to enter his MTS Apprenticeship with 75% of the funding he needed, allowing him to work three days a week, but would only last for 18 months.
“It was a challenge to step into the position knowing it might not last for the full two years. Granted, I was more excited about starting than I was worried about finishing. As I began the work, however, a very generous family from outside our church agreed to fund my apprenticeship for the remaining six months,” Dan shares. “I’m glad we stepped out in faith because otherwise this wouldn’t have happened!”
Eighteen months on and Dan is still surprised and grateful for all those who have partnered with him on his journey so far. “I’m sure that seems like something stupid to be surprised about, but for me it was quite profound,” he explained. “I knew intellectually that God transformed people’s hearts. I knew intellectually that true followers of Jesus would have joy in seeing the gospel spread and giving generously to that effect. But to see that dynamic in action – and at a level that has affected me so personally – impacted me a lot more than I thought it would! It bolsters my faith in God and gives me still greater reasons to praise him!”