• Fred's Blog

    Should We Plan?

    After every conference we get questions that did not get answered at the conference and this year is no exception.  I’m going to take a few and give my thoughts and invite yours.  Each of us has different styles of giving and my perspective is going to be different from yours so I want you to feel free to throw in your own thoughts. We have mostly given based on prayer.  We just pray and listen to God and he has told us whom to give to and how much.  And I think that is still a great way to give.  But we learned that we can also ask questions…

  • Fred's Blog

    The Family Farm

    I had dinner with Don Palmer and Doug Wilson in Indianapolis this week and we were talking about the many conversations we have had with friends about the danger of leaving wealth to children only to ruin them.  It started me thinking about the way we define wealth today compared to 100 years ago. Today wealth is almost synonymous with money and other financial assets.  One hundred years ago it would have typically been the family farm.  Leaving that wealth to the children was the plan and there was little thought about “ruining” them in leaving wealth to them.  What was different?  Parents started the children out early in their…

  • Fred's Blog

    Some Conference Highlights

    Most of the people reading this blog will never come to the annual conference of The Gathering – for a number of reasons.  It’s like any other conference for a particular affinity group – doctors lawyers educators – in that the content is designed for individuals families and foundations giving financial support to ministries.  However that does not mean some of the content is not interesting or useful for others.  Because of our arrangement with the media vendor (Dove Conference Services) I cannot give you a link just yet to a download direct from our site.  However you can go to their site and download everything that looks interesting to…

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  • Fred's Blog

    I'm a hypocrite

    I finished an article on rational funding earlier today had a great conversation with a new non-profit about the importance of funders not responding to needs or filling gaps but looking for opportunities and met with a group of donors to talk about how valuable it is to think about philanthropy in terms of investments that have clear goals reporting and measurements along the way. I read a number of articles on venture philanthropy and how to design metrics for results-oriented philanthropy.  It was a great start for the day.  The phone rang and on the other end was a friend on the board of a day care that has…

  • Talks

    Introduction for Sara Groves – The Gathering 2011

    Two years ago I heard a teacher of the psalms remark that our modern worship songs and the choruses we sing are full of praise, hope, thanksgiving and God’s love for us. In fact, he went on to say, maybe there is so much emphasis on God’s love and care for us in every detail of our lives that we have excluded hymns that reflect our own laments, complaints and petitions. In doing so, have we unintentionally taught that all of our burdens, problems and questions should be resolved by focusing only on those songs that encourage and inspire us? Something like the power of positive psalms. I don’t think…

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  • Talks

    Introduction for Phil Vischer – The Gathering 2011

    On Thursday night, I quoted from 2 Timothy 1 and Paul’s admonition to keep our special gift stirred up: God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible. Sometimes boldness becomes distorted and the flame of the gift consumes not only the person but those around them. I think that is part of Phil’s message to all of us in his book, Me, Myself & Bob. Some of our failures are private and well hidden and some, like the failure of Veggie Tales, are painfully public. To take a small company and experience revenue growth of 3300% or from $1.3 million to $44…

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  • Talks

    Introduction for Dr. Eugene Peterson – The Gathering 2011

    I don’t believe I have ever introduced a speaker using his own words until now. I might quote from a book they have written or something said about them but never have I used something from personal correspondence. You’ll see why shortly. When I asked Eugene Peterson to be the Bible teacher this year I did not know what to expect. When he said “yes” I was delighted because in the small amount of personal contact I have had with him over the years I have been impressed with his directness, practical application with poetic language, and his dedication to his own ordination as a pastor. When the trend seems…

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  • Talks

    Introduction for Jim Daly – The Gathering 2011

    I met Jim for the first time several years ago when he was brand new to the role of President at Focus on the Family. It was in the Board room and, I confess, I was expecting an appropriate wait with a bit of a grand entrance with maybe some mid-level advance staff preceding him making sure everything was just so. I could not have been more wrong. Instead, a smiling and genuinely friendly Jim Daly walked in and all of us relaxed. This was not an audience with a ministry leader. This was a conversation with a new friend. I’m not going to tell Jim’s story for him. I…

  • Talks

    Opening Talk – The Gathering 2011

    When you turn 65 your friends say things like, “Do you still have the fire in the belly?” and, of course, the response is “Yes, but it’s probably Mexican food.”  Others send you books on fanning the flames of marriage because the fastest growing divorce rate is for couples in their 60’s. AARP has turned up the heat on supplemental insurance and the financial advisors are preparing me for cutting back and dialing down.  Fires go out for one reason or another. It doesn’t matter what age you are.  Either through neglect or exhaustion or a host of other reasons the fire fades. Oftentimes we simply run out of reasons…

  • Fred's Blog

    Making A Difference – Long Obedience in the Same Direction?

    Several years ago I was sitting in a marketing meeting listening to a discussion about how to engage boomers.  The unanimous conclusion was boomer donors want to be “hands-on” and “engaged” with the work.  There was then a strategy session about how to give them that experience without the expense of the infrastructure it takes to actually make people “hands-on”. While that was not the birth moment of the short term missions movement (which began in the 1950’s with Operation Mobilization and YWAM) it was about the same time progressive churches began to create week-long mission projects vacations with a purpose and other temporary assignments for amateurs.  Skip forward a…

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