When I first joined CRM I had no idea what I was doing when it came to fundraising. I’d quit my job at the church and had no more income coming in—then realized I had to fundraise for ministry! No one had told me how long it takes to fundraise. Not a great start!
But I had a chance to share a short spiel at our church of why we were leaving church staff, our vision for ministry and the city, and what we were trying to do. And about two weeks later I had an email from someone named Charles, who we’d met in a class at the church, saying, “Hey, I saw you in the pulpit. I’d love to hear more about what you’re doing.”
So later I sat down with Charles at his office, and his wife Laura was there too. I talked for about 45 minutes about what we were going to do, and then just kinda sat there smiling at him. And he looks at me, looks at his wife, looks at me, looks back at his wife, and then goes, “Do you need any money?”
“Oh...yeah! Yes, I do!”
Like I said, I had no idea what I was doing.
Shortly afterwards, I had my first training in fundraising. It was all about the mechanics and it sounded difficult. There wasn’t anything wrong with the training, but my Keith Peeler experience of it was, “This is depressing, and I don’t even think I want to do it.”
Two days later I get a text message from Charles and Laura. “We want to give you X amount of money for six months,” it said. And X was a sizable number. And I just started weeping in the airport, because it was a confirmation that the Lord was going to provide.
Later I learned that they had felt a burden to help me and Megan for two years, wanting to partner with us and help us do what we were about. Before we even knew we were going to be called out, God had prepared their hearts to partner with us.
That support was huge for us as we launched into ministry.
More Blessed to Give
Three or four years ago Laura and I were talking and she said something really profound. She said, “Keith, I don’t think we’ve ever been discipled at any church, by any pastor, the way CRM has discipled us. We get way more out of this deal than we give.”
As I would share with them about what we were up to in ministry, they would feel stretched and ask questions. Especially with Laura, what we were doing for ministry challenged her beyond her comfort level on a regular basis. Laura once admitted to me, “The truth is, Keith, I wasn’t sure why we were supporting you, because I didn’t agree with the majority of things that you were doing!” For example, once I told them that I bought a pack of cigarettes so that when someone walking by my house would ask for a smoke, I would have an opportunity to engage them in conversation. Based on her own church background, Laura wasn’t naturally comfortable with anything we did. At the same time, she was seeing Jesus in it, and she was willing to get over what she was uncomfortable with in order to see God move. (Read Laura’s own reflections on this.)
As an organization, CRM values relationship and individual development. We’ve experienced this in our own lives, but we’ve also seen it bear fruit in the lives of partners like Charles and Laura. As a result of the reciprocal investment that CRM has made in his life, Charles has leaped into ministry alongside us, co-leading a prayer and spiritual authority training group here in Dallas. We’ve been doing this for six months now, and it’s been incredible. I’ve been so overwhelmed with the men—with what they’re learning and how they’re growing.
In Ministry Together
Today, Charles and Laura are like family to us, and they do this with us.
We meet with Laura and another woman every Monday morning, and they pray for the ministry and pray for our family. Laura has also been experimenting with DBS (one of our evangelism tools).
They’ve hosted fundraising events, connected other people—so many different kinds of relational fruit that have come out of this relationship.
Today, my view on ministry support is entirely different. I really think God uses the process to teach the person whatever it is they need to learn. Some people will get a $50,000 check day one and go, “Yep, the Lord provides!” And it builds faith. Other people will go for six months and not get a dime from anybody, and it builds determination, and obedience in the midst of “not having success.” So as a missionary, fundraising has been the absolute worst and absolute best thing I’ve ever had to do.
I’ve also changed the way I think about the partnerships that arise out of this kind of collaboration. Our ministry partners don’t just support us financially. They pray for us, grow with us, and sometimes even minister alongside us.
Giving and receiving support is not just a simple transaction. Through our experience over the past several years, I have come to deeply understand it as transformation, part of God’s plan for fueling the work of the Kingdom. It’s powerful and effective, and everyone is changed and discipled in the process.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Keith Peeler and his wife, Megan, live in Dallas, TX with their three kids. They have been with CRM since 2010 and serve to create movements of committed followers of Jesus with the Accelerate team.