Settling in a foreign land

The last few weeks have been difficult.  Most of us have never experienced anything like this depth of change at this speed, and responding has meant solving complicated problems at short notice, under significant stress.  It’s not been fun exactly, has it?

As Richard Cooke has said though, we’re moving from a sprint to a marathon.  The pace of change has slowed down; this week will probably be a lot like last week (maybe too much so).  When things have calmed down a bit it might be helpful to take a step back, take stock, and see whether everything has landed where you want it to.   

I’m going to suggest some questions to do that with, but first I have a caveat.  One initial response to the lockdown, particularly online, has been an explosion of creative ideas about how we can be productive while locked inside (or for those with kids, how to home-school like a pro).  Setting ambitious goals can be great, but there’s also wisdom in not making dealing with a global crisis harder by also taking up oil painting or parkour.  It’s a good time to go easy on yourself for a while.  Prioritise making sure you and those around you are secure and provided for.  If that’s not the case yet, some of the things on this list can wait.

So, how to take stock?  These are some ideas.  

For everyone:

– Do you have supportive relationships, and have they adapted to social isolation?  Whatever your family or household looks like, this is necessary.  If you need to, I’d encourage you to persist with new technology – while frustrating at first, being able to see people’s faces makes an enormous difference.  

– Are there people around you who need help?  Two obvious groups who need support are people who are vulnerable, and key workers in active caring professions during the crisis. If you’re not sure, take risks and reach out to people.  I was a bit shocked when I gave a neighbour a call recently and discovered she hadn’t spoken to anyone for a week.

For those in leadership positions in churches (PCC members, churchwardens, clergy, etc.), these are some more organisational questions and links to resources where possible:

– Does anything crucial rely too much on any one person?  While this is bad practice it’s often very difficult to avoid, but now is a good time to find ways to spread the load.  Sharing responsibilities could also help in another way by creating regular contact between people.  

– How are your PCC’s finances, and how will they be in six months’ time?  The Parish Resources website has a variety of useful advice and resources, or you can contact the Diocesan Finance team if you need specific support.

– Is your church building secure?  There is a very helpful guide on the Church of England website to caring for a church building at present.

– Are your systems for safeguarding still working?  The Diocesan Safeguarding Team has put advice on safeguarding during the lockdown online here.

Accept it and find ways to live well

I’ll finish this by being a bit more reflective.

I’m reading through Jeremiah at the moment (since before coronavirus really had an impact in fact; feels like a lifetime ago, but it’s a long book).  One of the messages Jeremiah gave was to the exiles in Babylon: “Build houses, plant, marry, work for the good of the city you are in.  You will be there for 70 years.”  That would have been hard to hear.  The Jews in Babylon wanted to go home!  Forcibly taken from their homeland by a conquering army, I can imagine that trying to build new lives in Babylon would have felt like giving in, almost like betrayal.  Yet God’s command to them was to accept their situation and do their best to thrive.

Our situation is less drastic, but there’s still a huge amount to wrap your head around.  An article I found helpful was “That discomfort you’re feeling is grief”, which talks about the different emotions this kind of situation brings out and how to deal with them.  This situation is going to last for longer than we want it to.  Accepting that, and finding ways of living as well as possible within it, will be important.

God’s purposes for the exile would have seemed almost impossible to understand at the time, but even then, he was at work.  I find that encouraging because the example of then helps me believe the same can be true now.  While there will be costs to this there will also be blessings.  He is faithful and we can trust that in the end, all will be well.

Images by Marc Thele from Pixabay.

For Such A Time As This…

In my last blog post, I reflected on The Annunciation and what we could learn from the example of Mary in how we deal with the unexpected changes in our lives at the moment.

As I pondered on this, I was struck by the examples of a number of other Bible characters and how we could take inspiration from each of them as we navigate these uncertain times and find a new “normal” in the way we live, work, relate and worship. This then gave me the idea for a series of blogs over the coming weeks…

Last week, whilst reading the story of Esther, I was again struck by the wisdom in the words of her relative Mordecai, spoken to her as they faced the real possibility of the Jewish people being wiped out by the King and his scheming advisor, Haman. The Jews have been in exile in this foreign land for generations and, on finding herself in the King’s palace, chosen as his favourite and made Queen, Esther has hidden her Jewish heritage for her own protection.

Mordecai asks Esther to use her position of influence to appeal to the King and save the Jews, revealing herself as one in the process. When she hesitates – not unreasonably under the circumstances – Mordecai makes a bold statement: “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).

The people of God are being called to stand up and be beacons of hope... for such a time as this

We are in a unique position, both now and when the restrictions on socialising are eased. Advancements in technology are allowing us new ways of interacting with people, sharing ideas and resources, encouraging one another and setting up support groups to care for those who need us.

Churches are embracing opportunities to hold meetings by Zoom, to stream prayers and thoughts for the day from the Vicar’s living room, to offer Bible reading plans and daily devotionals. Entire church services are being offered live online and some churches are finding that their virtual congregations are significantly bigger than those on a typical Sunday morning when we meet in the flesh. The people of God are being called to stand up and be beacons of hope… for such a time as this

This is clearly a desperate situation for our world. Loneliness and isolation were recognised as a problem within our communities long before the terms “social distancing” and “self-isolation” came into common usage. Foodbanks were already in high demand and support agencies like CAP were already at capacity for the number of people in financial difficulty that they could reasonably help. And yet here we are, with all of these things becoming ever more important as people are unable to work, families are having to find extra meals for children that would usually be cared for at school, the sick and elderly are being told to become even more isolated, looking at the prospect of 12 weeks without significant contact…

We have a unique opportunity to bring light into darkness, hope into despair, love into isolation.

And this is where we come in. The Church. The Body of Christ. We have a unique opportunity to bring light into darkness, hope into despair, love into isolation. Telephone those people who are lonely and isolated. Help someone who is afraid of technology to get online and video-call a loved one. Donate money to foodbanks if you can’t physically contribute food items at this moment. Put a candle, rainbow or other sign of hope in your window. Wave at your neighbours each day, offering a smile and a word of kindness from the window/doorway/garden. As social media platforms are so keen to tell us nowadays… #BeKind.

The world will be a different place when we come out of this time of fear and disorientation, and people are going to need each other. How the Church, both as a worldwide institution and as individual followers of Jesus, reacts to this challenge will be vital. We are being called into action to love our neighbours as we love ourselves.

And who knows, but that we have come to our royal positions for such a time as this?

Disoriented

It is a cold Monday morning and as I look out of the window of my study, something is different than a normal weekday morning, there are cars on the drive. Neighbours who are usually out at work are home. Hiding behind the safety of their four walls in an effort to avoid “the invisible enemy.” The only other times I see this many cars on the drive are at Christmas or on the joyous occasion that is a “snow day”. However this time the sense of joy and excitement are distinctly absent. There is an anxious uncertainty in the air that keeps people from their day-to-day routine

In my fairly limited life I have never experienced a time like the one we are currently seeing unfold. As I reflect on how life (and my diary) has changed in the last seven days, the word that best sums up how I feel is “disoriented”. The definition of disoriented means:

“To cause someone to lose their sense of direction: to feel displaced from a normal position or relationship.”

I have no real sense of normal, the concerns and questions that I had a few weeks ago have changed, until this week I have never questioned whether I have enough toilet paper or hand sanitiser, yet these have become real issues in my life.

But more seriously my wife and I have been asking questions like, “When will this ever get better?” “Will the business survive?” “How will be ever pay the bills?” “When will I be able to see our friends and family again?” These questions hang over our head like a cloud that threatens to block out any hopefulness.

As I read posts on social media, as I watch the news channels and chat to my neighbours it is clear to see that I am not the only person experiencing feelings of disorientation and anxiety. The familiarity of routine is comforting, like a pair of well-worn shoes, and in the last two weeks it feel like they have been rudely snatched from my feet, only to be replaced by cheap, rigid boots that are uncomfortable and bring painful blisters.

As followers of Jesus we know that it shouldn’t be the certainty of routine, of comfort, or even our friends and family that bring us a sense of peace, but I have to confess that sometimes these things do become the foundation for my peace. When this becomes the case it is a sign that things in my life have gotten out of order and that it is time to realign my priorities. The parable of the man who built his house on the sand in Matt 7:24-27 testifies to that. It is only when we set our foundations (our hope, affections and trust) wholly on Jesus that we will be able to steadfastly endure the storms that life throws our way.

Sometimes it can take a crisis like a global pandemic to highlight that we have misplaced complete trust in God.

A sign of this is happening can be when we feel an absence of peace and joy. Let me clarify choosing to not trust completely in God isn’t something that we necessarily decided to do one day, in an act of rebellion. It can be something much more subtle that takes place focus. Day-to-day matters in the here and now become the main thing and the eternal matters somehow get lost. When I turn to the couple of chapters of the bible in Revelation I remind myself that the ending is good, Jesus will come back, and there will be a new heaven and a new earth. There will be no more pain and suffering and every tear will be wiped away.

As I reflect on this I realise how easily I can forget the big picture. My focus narrows on the present situation and all the troubles that come with it. When I do this I lose perspective and consequently lose my peace.

The question I am asking myself is “how am I feeling about all that is currently going on in the world?” am I experiencing the joy and peace of the Holy Spirit or am I feeling other emotions that aren’t from God?  Am I feeling fearful? Am I restless and anxious? Is there an absence of joy and peace?

If so, don’t feel condemned it is understandable. When we see things from a natural perspective things aren’t looking too good. However, as we acknowledge these feelings let them be a gentle reminder we need to turn our gaze back onto the prince of peace.

I encourage you through these turbulent times to make sure that we interpret all things (News broadcasts, social media content our conversations with others) in the knowledge that God is sovereign and in control. Let’s set our eyes upon Jesus in the midst of all the uncertainly. Let me leave you with a song to help and encourage us at this time.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful Face.

And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace. 

(Helen H. Lemmel)

I am the Lord’s servant

Today in our liturgical calendar, on the 25th March, we find ourselves celebrating the Feast of the Annunciation – a day where Mary, the future mother of Jesus, had her world turned upside down and her future radically re-shaped.  Still a young girl, living in a conservative and religious society, there’s no doubt that news of an unplanned pregnancy, before her marriage to Joseph is solemnised is going to create some upheaval.

Mary listens as the Angel Gabriel tells her that she has been chosen to be the mother of God’s Son – God incarnate on earth – “and he shall be called Emmanuel”.  God with us.

What courage it takes for her to bow her head and accept such an enormous life change with the simple words “I am the Lord’s servant.  Let it be as God has said”.

Could we have found the courage to say the same?

I wonder how we are adapting to the current and very sudden change in our own lifestyles.  Whilst not facing scandal or the wagging tongues of our communities, we are each called upon now to metaphorically bow our heads and accept an instruction that leads to isolation, social distancing and suspicion… perhaps not so different to Mary after all.

 

Could we have found the courage to say the same?

On hearing this news, we are told Mary then retreats – she goes to stay with her relative Elizabeth and to share in her confinement after her own unexpected arrival – the birth of John the Baptist.  Mary is aware that life is shifting and changing before her and that things will be forever different, so she goes and takes stock.  She praises God in the midst of her turmoil and then waits for God’s plans to unfold.

 

We are each in an enforced time of retreat – a time where we need to take stock of the society we live in, the priorities we held (versus the things we find we are now worried about) and what God is asking us to do as a result of this upheaval.  The lessons we learn in this time will shape our churches, our communities and our world as a whole.  It is an uncomfortable and unsettling experience but we are asked to rise to the challenge.  To seek God through the pain and trust that he can bring good from the most desperate of situations.

  • What does God ask of you in this time?
  • What do you need to ask of God?

Like Mary, this isn’t quite what we imagined life to look like, but God is good and if we trust in him, he will work out his purposes through his people.

New year, new path?

New Year is traditionally a time of resolutions and new beginnings. For some of us this will be a new hobby, an ambitious exercise plan, or an intention to refocus our priorities on something important to us. Others of us might go for something more light-hearted such as my decision a few years ago to learn to brush my teeth with my left hand (partial success!). Or perhaps this New Year signals time for a change in direction for you, a sense that God is calling you into something new?

We may approach this time with mixed emotions; new beginnings can often also mean we have experienced an ending of something else, that we are at a crossroads in life, or we may have some barriers to overcome before entering this new season. It might feel scary, exciting, exhausting, hopeful, lonely, or maybe a mixture of all of those at different times. These feelings are understandable and okay.

It’s helpful to remember we are not alone. The Lord promises to be with us wherever we go (Joshua 1:9, Matthew 28:20), and our pathway forwards can be guided by God’s calling on our lives. What are you called to? Are you feeling a nudge to explore a new path?

“Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9

Vocation is for all God’s people and is about working out who we are supposed to be and what we are supposed to be doing. This takes discernment and time. One of the ways in which you can begin to explore this is through the ‘Called: Mission, Ministry & Me’ events. The events combine teaching, discussion, reflection and prayer to seek together God’s call for us as part of the Body of Christ. There is the opportunity to hear vocation stories from those in different roles in the Diocese, both lay and ordained, and to imagine how God might be inviting us, each with our own unique shape, to join in with God’s mission.

Perhaps this might be your New Year activity?

Here are some comments from those who have attended previous courses:

“It was an extremely well- thought out course. The pace was good and met the needs of a diverse group of people, all of whom were made to feel welcomed and valued. There was a clear structure, but scope for fluidity; the Holy Spirit was definitely at work.”

“Offered people the opportunity to hear from and talk to people who have been through this and are actively following their individual vocations”

“I realise now, that call has been with me for years, in one form or another, but perhaps remained dormant, or frustrated, for want of a sympathetic and understanding heart.”

“I realised that vocation is a lifetime journey not a specific end point to be striving for”

The next event is a five week evening course running on Tuesday evenings 7:30-9:30pm, from 14 January – 11 February 2020 at All Saints Church in Warwick. There are also further dates available later in the year, so click here to find out more and book your place. 

If you have questions, contact Serving Christ Learning Mentor, Jen Stewart, on jen.stewart@covcofe.org or DDO & Vocations Adviser, The Rev’d Ellie Clack, on ellie.clack@covcofe.org  

We look forward to journeying alongside you as your discover your next steps.

Life is a gift!

Life is a gift.

The greatest gift you have ever been given is your life. Life is good, God made it to be good. Every breath we take and every day we live, is a gift from the creator of the universe. Who desires nothing more than to know us, to love us bless us and use us.

Life is a gift, but many of us are absorbed in our day to day existence and somewhere along the way forget that we have been blessed for a reason. Life is not only ours for the taking, but for the giving.

remi-walle-UOwvwZ9Dy6w-unsplashOur talents, our ideas, our resources, our time and our very hands and feet – God will use them all for His glory if we just give them to Him. We all have something to offer. Rich, poor, young, old, every one of us has something we can offer.

So why do Christians give away so little? What if our perspective changed a little? If we realise, or even remember, that we have been given the greatest gift ever. Life. And the bible tells us we’ve been given an ABUNDANT life.

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly”. John 10v10

Take a look around. What have you got that God hasn’t given you? Every heartbeat, every breath, every good and perfect gift comes from God. He is the ultimate giver. He literally gives us gifts we can’t comprehend. Think about this, there are more electrical impulses generated in one day by a single human brain cell than by all the telephones in the world.

dan-gold-4_jhDO54BYg-unsplash

God gave us our senses, and good tasting food! Food didn’t have to taste good, it could have all tasted like Kale, but God wanted us to have good tasting food we will enjoy as a gift from Him.

Once we remember this then we begin to see everything around us as if it actually belongs to God. And we are free to give back to God, and why wouldn’t we when he has given us the very breath in our lungs?

God has always given to me knowing He would get little in return. He is a father who enjoys giving good gifts to his children. I’ve heard it say that it’s possible to give without loving, but you can never love without giving. And that is God’s example. For God so loved the world that he gave.

Like most people I’m often driven by what I don’t have, when I should be driven to seek the heart of God, because God’s heart is revealed in his generosity. Maybe our hearts are too.

tim-marshall-cAtzHUz7Z8g-unsplash.jpgWhat does your level of generosity say about your heart?

It’s time to change the world through lots of small acts of generosity.

By giving radically to others. By giving sacrificially to others, and even giving cheerfully to others. We can change the world.

Imagine if everyone chose to hold nothing back, to give freely of their time, their money and their talents. If we place everything in God’s hands, then He in turn will bless others, who will bless others, who will bless others. We could change the world by starting a ripple of generosity. We could flood the nations with God’s blessings that just keeps on going and spreading.

 

A Journey of Generosity

Life is a journey that is not meant to be travelled alone. A Journey of Generosity retreat reflects this shared journey. We find a comfortable setting and explore God’s Word, watch stories of other inspirational givers, enjoy meals together, and ask God’s Spirit to show us how to use the money that He’s entrusted to us.

A CONVERSATION WITH NEW FRIENDS
We don’t lecture, we discuss. We don’t fill out spreadsheets or financial plans; we work to discern God’s will. We strive to understand and offer wise support at the right times. We listen a lot as we learn together to think faithfully and biblically.

A SAFE ENVIRONMENT
Most people who want to talk about money are after something: your money. Where can people gather without fear to discuss how money shapes our hearts? Our gatherings happen in a place of trust. We are privately funded by a group of Christian givers. We will never ask you for money. We simply want to share the joy that we find in generosity in the hope that you will taste it too.

The retreat on 13th September has been postponed. Please check back here for details of future ‘Journey of Generosity’ events!

If you are interesting in attending a retreat as an individual, or hosting one for friends or your church, please do get in touch with Katie: katie.wilson@covcofe.org

Whole Life Worship

‘So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering.’ – Romans 12:1 (The Message)

It’s Sunday morning.  Maybe we’ve struggled to drag ourselves out of bed after a late shift, arrived at church in a hurry and the minister is saying the words of welcome as we wonder whether we remembered to shut the bathroom window.  Maybe we’ve been up since 5am, entertaining a child that has developed an aversion to sleeping and we’ve just been waiting for the moment we can hand them to a friendly face at church and have Just.  One.  Moment.  Of.  Peace.  Or maybe we’re simply sat there, half distracted by the busyness of the rest of our lives, already thinking about the meeting we have tomorrow, the fact that we still need to get the dog booked into kennels next weekend and we can’t work out how to respond to that colleague who sent a snippy email last Wednesday and whom we’ve successfully avoided since then.

How do we worship from these places?  How do we bring our busy, messy, awkward lives as an offering to God that is authentic, heart-felt and invites him to meet us as we are?

The nature and purpose of worship is to bring “worth” to God.  To respond to his goodness and mercy from a place of gratitude, adoration and honesty.  It is a sacrificial offering of our time, talents, priorities and focus, in honour of the God who loves us.  Why do we worship?  Because the Bible tells us to.  Because we were created to.  Because if we don’t, then the rocks and mountains will cry out on our behalf.  Because God deserves it.

But God also knows us.  He knows when we’re coming to church slightly late and frustrated with the parking.  He knows when we’re praying with our eyes open to stop us nodding off in intercession (I speak from personal experience here…), he knows when we’re sat there in the church building but when our mind is in the office, the school, the Doctor’s surgery, the supermarket or the football stadium…  And God is available for worship in all of those places too.

The concept of “whole-life worship” is that we need to stop compartmentalising our lives into “holy” and “un-holy”, “sacred” and “profane”, “church” and “normal” life.  We need to learn to recognise all aspects of our lives as being part of God’s interaction with us and learn to worship him in the “gathered” fellowship of Sunday services and the “scattered” elements of our Monday – Saturday life.  He cares about those too.

By bringing in recognition of the dual nature of our lives as Christians to our Sunday services, we empower, equip, commission and disciple one another to be 24/7 followers of God.

How do we do it?

  • Maybe our words of welcome could reflect the events of the previous week in the church, community or country as a whole, drawing people from work and leisure in the outside world and into God’s presence.
  • Maybe our closing prayer or words of dismissal could more clearly commission people to live out lives of service and worship in the other 6 days of the week – making specific reference to the lives and experiences of our congregations.
  • Maybe the songs we sing could have a specific relevance to a current situation we are facing as a church, the images on the projected slides could be of our local community or the hymn introduced by a member of the congregation for whom it has a wider “whole life” significance.
  • Maybe we could invite a different person each week to share what they will be doing “This Time Tomorrow” and commit to praying for them (and others in similar situations) supporting them and celebrating the fact that God will be with them in that meeting/exam/hospital appointment/playgroup/interview/conversation.
  • Maybe we could have people offering thanksgiving for something specific that God has done that week (I have used Psalm 136: 1-4 as the starting point for this and had some wonderful spontaneous examples of God’s love at work in ordinary life, with the whole congregation responding “his love endures forever” after each one).
  • Maybe we could adapt our language so, instead of saying “we will now have a time of worship…”, as if what we were doing before was irrelevant, we recognise the “gathered” nature, with words like “as we meet together in God’s presence to bring our worship into his church today…” or “let’s continue our living worship of God by…(singing, reading, listening, receiving etc.…”)
  • Maybe we could acknowledge the fact that everyone is coming from different places, recognising the light and shade in our congregation’s livesFather God, as we gather today from our scattered lives, we bring joys and frustrations, hopes and disappointments, celebration and sadness and lay them all before you…”

We don’t need to make radical changes or upset the stalwarts on whom the church has been faithfully built.  We simply need to recognise that our Sunday worship should be a rekindling of our spirits and a re-commissioning to do what we should be doing in every aspect of our lives – living, loving, working and serving in Jesus’ name.

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” – Colossians 3:17

If you would like to know more about this area of Whole Life Worship, why not book for the Whole Life Worship Training Day being held in Banbury on 5th October 2019 (I attended earlier this year and found it hugely inspiring!).

Details can be found at https://www.engageworship.org/events/whole-life-worship-saturday-banbury

Alternatively, you can search the resources and ideas at LICC for ideas: https://www.licc.org.uk/ourresources/

Called: Mission, Ministry & Me

We are all called by God.

Vocation, (from the Latin vocare meaning ‘to call’) is for all God’s people and is about working out who we are supposed to be and what we are supposed to be doing. We are called in many different ways and to many different things. Working out what this calling looks and feels like takes discernment and time. One of the ways in which you can explore this is through the Called: Mission, Ministry & Me’ events which create space to explore, wonder and listen to God.

On Saturday 15 June we will gather at The Hope Centre in Coventry for a day of teaching, discussion, reflection and prayer to seek together God’s call for us as part of the Body of Christ. There will be the opportunity to hear vocation stories from those in different roles in the Diocese, both lay and ordained, and to imagine how God might be inviting us, each with our own unique shape, to join in with God’s mission. Bookings are now open for this event; click here to find out more.

In order to make the events more accessible, these Called events will run in three different formats across the year:

  • One day conference format
    Next dates: Saturday 15 June 2019
  • Two day weekend retreat
    Next dates: Winter term (dates tbc)
  • Five week evening course

Next dates: March 2020

The new course ran for the first time in January this year. Here are some comments from those who attended:

“Extremely helpful to explore vocation options”

“It was an extremely well- thought out course. The pace was good and met the needs of a diverse group of people, all of whom were made to feel welcomed and valued. There was a clear structure, but scope for fluidity; the Holy Spirit was definitely at work.”

“Offered people the opportunity to hear from and talk to people who have been through this and are actively following their individual vocations”

“I realised that vocation is a lifetime journey not a specific end point to be striving for”

“It reminded me of the need to find time to just be with and listen to God. If I don’t stop and listen, it’s a lot harder to hear.”

If you are interested in attending or would like a conversation about how you can discover more about your part in God’s mission, go to the Vocation pages on the Diocese website or contact DDO & Vocations Adviser, The Rev’d Ellie Clack, on ellie.clack@covcofe.org or Serving Christ Learning Mentor, Jen Thornton, on jen.thornton@covcofe.org

How to fundraise for your church using Facebook

Facebook is fast becoming one of the most popular ways for charities to fundraise. Make sure your church is able to receive donations and for your supporters to run fundraising drives on your behalf. Unlike many online giving platforms, Facebook donate passes on 100% of the donations to the charity, there is no fee for using the service at all!

If your church doesn’t have a Facebook page already, it’s really quick and easy to set one up. You’ll need a page, not a group, to fundraise using Facebook tools.

Using Facebook to fundraise empowers more people in your church to raise money. Facebook now gives you a reminder when your birthday is near, asking if you want to run a fundraiser for a charity for your birthday, and then notifies your friends you’re raising money for charity. The picture below shows you what it looks like when a supporter runs a fundraiser for you.

Another benefit of using Facebook fundraisers is it brings awareness to what your Church is doing. With the reach that Facebook offers, by people in your church sharing about this fundraising option, you are bringing awareness of what your Church is doing and might cause more people to want to help out and support the Church (in more ways than just financial).

Once your page is set up, you can request the fundraising tools by going to this link:

Charitable Giving Tools

You’ll need 3 things to complete an application to receive donations on Facebook.
  1. A PDF copy of a bank statement from the last 3 months.
  2. The name and date of birth of your organization’s CEO or Executive Director.
  3. Your organisation’s tax ID number (EIN or VAT number), which verifies your charitable tax exemption status.

Once you start the application, you cannot save your progress, so make sure you have all three to hand before starting.

Now you’re set up, you can add a donate button to your page and to any new post, and anyone can start a fundraiser for you and collect donations on your behalf. Payments are processed by Facebook every two weeks and you’ll get a statement from them telling you what you’ve received when each payment run is made.

I’d love to hear how you get on and if this has been a big fundraising success for you! Please do get in touch.