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YOU ARE HERE:   Home >  Donations >  Make a Difference
Group question

How Can I Make a Difference?

By Allan McConnell

One of the questions we are most often asked relates to how Watchman Fellowship is funded. We try to share as much information as possible about our ministry activities in our Updates and monthly letters to our financial supporters, but we rarely take the opportunity to answer questions about money and stewardship.

Being directly involved in development planning and fundraising activities, I would like to share some valuable information with you. If this piques your interest, or if you have further questions please feel free to contact me.

Q: Is Watchman Fellowship completely funded by churches?
A: No. While there are a large number of churches that support us with regular monthly or annual gifts, the vast majority (more than 80%) of our financial support comes from individuals. In fact, if our sole source of income was from church support we would have to close our doors during the second week in March!
Q: Is Watchman Fellowship part of a particular church or denomination?
A: No. Every one of our staff is an active member in good standing of a local church congregation, yet Watchman Fellowship is completely independent of denominational ties. Generally speaking, we fall in line with theologically conservative points of view. In our Alabama office, the majority of our staff is Southern Baptist; three of which are ordained Ministers and members of the Alabama Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists. One of our staff is a member of a Community Church, and another is a member of a Presbyterian (PCA) church.
Q: Since Watchman Fellowship is not part of a church, who are you accountable to?
A: First and foremost, we are accountable to the Lord. Our only goal is to fulfill our calling to bring the lost to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Secondly, we are directly accountable to our partners in ministry—our prayer warriors and financial donors. Watchman Fellowship has a national Board of Trustees that is responsible for the overall legal and fiduciary accountability of the ministry. On the local level we are guided by an Advisory Board comprised of local business and civic leaders. Members of the Advisory Board must be financial donors to the ministry, and maintain active membership in a local church. They meet monthly to review and discuss our financial records.
Q: Does the money I send get used for missions or other expenses?
A: Most of your donation is used directly in our mission efforts. Expenses like power, water, telephone service, equipment and the like are necessary to accomplish that mission. However, we try to keep such expenses at a minimum and take great care in being good stewards of the gifts that you send. Since we generally do not charge for the information packages we provide, even most of our paper and copying expenses are considered direct ministry rather than overhead. Our philosophy is to pay our bills first, and salaries second. This is often difficult during the summer months when funds are tight, but we know that God is honored because we practice good stewardship in allowing businesses in the community, many of which are secular, to hold us accountable.
Q: The need sometimes seems overwhelming; my gift really doesn’t make a difference, does it?
A: Nothing could be further from the truth! Many people are not in a financial position to give large gifts, and as a result feel that they can’t help, especially leading up to and during the summer months when we make strong appeals for prayer and financial help. The fact is that nearly 65% of our financial support comes from people who give gifts of $25 or less. While we are very thankful for folks who are able to support us with large gifts, we know that every gift makes a difference, and we know that God is honored by even the smallest of gifts. Do you remember the story from Luke chapter 21? Jesus commended the widow who put two mites in to the offering, saying that she “put in more than all of them.” Because she gave out of her poverty, her gift counted far more than those who gave from their surplus.

We are constantly blessed by the gifts that we receive. We greatly appreciate the large gifts we receive from churches, businesses and individuals. We are grateful for the large number of widows who are consistent supporters, giving out of love for Watchman Fellowship and obedience to the Lord. We are amazed and blessed by the many prisoners on our mailing list who, having so little, send us postage stamps so they can continue to have factual information to counter the growing number of cults inside the prison walls.

Yes, your gift, no matter how large or small, truly does make a difference.

Allan McConnell, serves as Executive Administrator at Watchman Fellowship’s Birmingham, AL Office. He can be reached via e-mail by clicking here.

This article was excerpted from the Spring 2002 Update.