TMF Blog

“Not Unto Ourselves Alone Are We Born”

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November 01, 2016

by Justin Gould, TMF Chief Development Officer

“Not Unto Ourselves Alone Are We Born”

“Not unto ourselves alone are we born.”

I embraced this motto while a student at Willamette University in Salem, Ore., a community of learners committed to collaboration. Graduate students with different pursuits – law, business, and public administration – studied together, sharing conversation, ideas and insights on how their futures would make a difference in our world. This diversity of experience united by a shared commitment made our campus and community a special place for conversation, learning and action.

After three years working at TMF, I find that the motto applies similarly to our TMF community of clergy, lay leaders and congregants from churches across Texas, New Mexico and beyond. We are united by our sense of potential and purpose, whether that is a calling, mission or ministry, or a deep sense of responsibility to our families and communities. Individuals give to TMF for any one of these reasons, and often, for a unique combination of all of them.

It is an honor to take part in discussing, planning and creating the opportunities for philanthropists to participate in TMF-funded ministries. How does this begin? One doorway to this conversation may open during the estate planning process. It is a great opportunity to examine values and participate in a process that encourages practical, thoughtful, and even prayerful engagement. These conversations on giving may uncover ways to support both a local church and an international mission, as achieved in the Kendall family’s inspiring story. Helping this family and other donors align their convictions with their giving translates their values into results that transform communities.

Convening conversation is a means to deep change, and good conversation begins with great questions. We are honored to have conversations that help donors discern how to express and live out their own sense of philanthropy. For some donors, it may be supporting programs that invest in today’s church leadership. TMF is a champion of visionary, creative, entrepreneurial leadership; it is the most critical element for forming cultures of purpose and generosity in our congregations.

This enthusiasm for leadership development inspired two donors who felt called to support our Entrepreneurial Pastors Group, a three-year learning community that brought together young pastors from large congregations to share ideas and learn from each other. It is one of many Leadership Ministry programs that together reached more than 300 clergy and lay leaders in 2015. Gifts to TMF memorial endowments, such as Dr. Charles E. Laing Endowment and Bill & Kay Hutchinson Leadership Scholarship Endowment are investments in leaders of the church who are committed to achieving positive, lasting outcomes and who are positioned to lead in times of change.

TMF’s Grants Ministry is an opportunity to get involved in and support ministries in our rapidly changing society. Methodism and social justice are inextricably linked, and there is innovative new work being done in large cities and small communities throughout Texas and New Mexico to serve youth and families, in particular. Houston: reVision, Saranam in Albuquerque, N.M., and The Zip Code Connection in north Texas are only a few examples of how leadership and innovation are creating courageous, impactful ministries. TMF’s Grants Ministry would not be possible without generations of thoughtful, philanthropic families whose generosity lives on today through the work of TMF.

It is my great privilege to work with individuals and families as they give generously to the people and organizations that are most meaningful to them. Their spirit of generosity becomes contagious in their communities, proving again that not unto ourselves alone are we born.

Editor’s note: Our TMF blog shares stories and essays inspired by our purpose: to help individuals, families, congregations and like-minded organizations achieve their God-inspired potential. TMF’s Justin Gould explains how he enjoys helping individuals and families find purpose in their philanthropy, to the benefit of ministries down the street, across two states and even around the world.


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