How God uses ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things
By Zach Clark
The dining room at the local breakfast eatery rings with the early morning laughter of five men as they greet each other for breakfast on a spring morning in 2002.
Their agenda is unknown to the other patrons of the restaurant as each man orders his standard breakfast fare with lots of hot coffee to go around. They begin their discussion with prayer.
There is a big question before these four volunteers plus one head of school. Is it God’s plan that their growing Christian school take ownership of a section of property in their town?
Countless questions tumble forward, in between bites of bacon and eggs, and sips of black coffee. “What if we can buy this property? How can we pay for it? What would this mean for the Christian community of the region? Will people give to support this?” So many questions. So many prayers. So many conversations.
My how their world has changed since those long ago breakfast meetings. God’s faithfulness and His plans continued to unfold. After a long series of impossible events, the Christian school of these meetings bought the property, and built a new campus of what has become one of the foremost Christian schools in America.
Years of working with hundreds of Christian schools and ministries across the country convinced me that God is about the business of doing impossible things for Christian schools that have a vision for graduating young people prepared and equipped to change this nation and the world for Jesus Christ.
At some point, the vision has to be shared and then God uses ordinary people in extraordinary ways to fund and implement the vision. This primarily happens through people giving generously and making significant steps of faith by their giving.
As soon as our thoughts turn to money, or being asked to give, our blood pressure tends to go up. Despite this, it’s on my heart today to share just a few stories of how God works through giving to Christian education. Some might say these examples are exceptions rather than the rule. However, I’ve personally witnessed the truth that God is near to those that are willing to take steps of faith to invest in the next generation of students who will be shaped by a biblical worldview.
Consider the story of a Christian school project that was about to be put on hold indefinitely. A downward spiral of complexity and increased costs could ultimately kill the project. The school was an impossible $1.2 million away from it’s needed pledge goal with only a few weeks to go. They received a call from a giver, let’s call her “Becky.”
According to Becky, she had heard about the likelihood that the project would be called to a halt, and she didn’t want to hear that sort of talk anymore. She said that after much prayer, she was committing money to the Christian school project from a pending sale of property she owned. The asking price? Exactly $1.2 million. She said she didn’t believe in coincidences and asked us to take a step of faith forward with her, and that when the house sold we’d have the money. It didn’t take long to make a decision on how to respond to this phone call. We moved forward. Then one day the phone call came in from Becky. The house sold, and the check was on its way. The amount? $1.2 million.
But, it’s not all about huge dollar amounts. I remember an 8th grader named “Susan” who came to see me because she wanted to commit to giving $25 a year for five years. The day came when we stood in a new Christian school facility that her $25 gifts had built. Susan was now in high school, and we talked about how she would always remember being a part of God doing something impossible.
So many people choose to ignore hopes and plans for the future and make excuses about the economy, their financial situation, or the cost of tuition. They are unwilling to make even the smallest of prayers and decisions to be a part of a movement of God. Then, there are people like the faithful grandmother with very limited financial resources who sends a $100 check to a Christian school every year. On the memo line she writes, “c/o Jesus.” Each time this school receives the handwritten envelope, it reminds them to stay hopeful.
There is no question that it takes solid leadership to raise money. There is a tremendous amount of skill and discipline needed as God calls us to advance biblical worldview education. But, amazingly, God even works through our weaknesses and mistakes. He’s in those moments where our best isn’t good enough. For example, I’ll never forget what happened to one of the leaders I worked with years ago. He met with a husband and wife who were parents in the school. He shared their vision for the future and did a great job (or so he thought) in asking them to consider giving.
That evening after dinner, he received a phone call from the husband he had met with that very day. Here’s what he said, “Mr. Johnson, thanks for taking the time to meet with us today. My wife and I were just discussing it, and she informed me that what you were actually trying to say was that you needed us to make a financial contribution to the school. I want you to know that I was confused, but I got it now, and you can count on our giving.”
Each of these different stories serve as a reminder that it is God who equips the giver, moves the giver, and blesses the giver to be a part of His work in advancing Christian worldview education. I encourage you to take the steps of faith needed to give your very best to your local Christian school.
Editor’s Note: The stories in this article are all true. The names have been changed to honor the privacy of each person. If you would like to learn more about how your school can build stronger support through better donor relationships, go to developmentandleadership.org/renewanation.
Zach Clark has built on years of experience in seeing God do impossible things for ministry organizations and has a big vision to see Christian schools and ministries raise one hundred billion cumulative dollars—fully funding them to fulfill their God-given visions in this generation. Living out this passion led to the founding of Development & Leadership Coaching, a non-traditional service approach helping leaders grow and build a culture of generosity. Learn more at developmentandleadership.org/renewanation.
This article originally appeared in The RENEWANATION Review, Volume 6 Issue 2. If you would like to become a member and receive a print edition of the magazine, please click here. If you would like to learn about other ways you can get involved, please click here.