Open Road Press

The $100,000 Challenge

Several nights ago, a sleep predator was stalking me. It came in the form of this question: What should be the fundraising goal of our upcoming bicycle tour on behalf of TheHopeLine?

In the late 90s, a group of nineteen bicycling friends in Houlton, Maine, organized a one-day event called the “Bike-A-Thon.” We simply asked family, friends, and work colleagues for donations tied to the event. The final tally was $11,000…quite a feat for a K-12 private school with enrollment just over 100 students, operating in a town of only 6,000 residents. The Bike-A-Thon soon became an annual fundraising event, the school’s largest with pledges typically well over $20,000.

A $25,000 goal seemed realistic for our tour, and Debbie and I were comfortable with this number. However, if Greater Houlton Christian Academy could raise that much money in a sparsely populated area, what could a national program that leverages the power of the Internet hope to raise? We wanted a goal for TheHopeline Tour that we could not meet with our own resources and connections, and one that would motivate a group of donors and give them a sense of satisfaction for participating. A goal of $50,000 seemed to fit our formula.

Then, my restless night ensued with thoughts swirling out of control. I kept hearing: It’s not high enough! On and on throughout the night: It’s not high enough.

It was as if God were speaking to me. My mind would come back to what was realistic; yet, I couldn’t get the recurrent thought out of my head. Interspersed throughout this dialogue was a deluge of ideas about how to pitch our newly adopted mission, relying primarily on a web-based network of interested, like-minded onlookers. The possibilities are truly exciting.

For the past few days, as we’ve been busy packing, Debbie and I have periodically discussed what the goal should be. We don’t want to post a number that gives people the impression that we’re expecting them to give beyond their means. Clearly, no gift is too small. Nor do we want to post a lower number than God may be requiring of our trust in Him.

I wonder how many times we shortchange ourselves because we expect too little. I believe that you get what you expect. Whether it is standards set for yourself, your children, or your employees, if you set the bar low, then you’ll end up with low performance in return. Contrariwise, if your goals are high, you may not reach them, but you’ll achieve more than you thought was possible.

Another thought has been running through my head: You have not because you ask not. I believe God expects us to ask Him for what we need, if not what we want. Does our timidity limit His work in our lives? In order to expand TheHopeLine’s reach to serve more young people, funding needs to increase. Someone needs to ask for the funds on behalf of those still beyond TheHopeLine’s reach.

We’ve struggled with posting a high goal. Maybe it has been fear of failure or maybe it has been fear of being perceived as presumptuous. We prayed and looked for confirmation of the right number in a variety of ways. In the end, we tossed a coin! Yes, that’s right. Heads, it’s $100,000; tails, it’s $50,000. Honest Abe’s profile came up. We hope that’s not a bad commentary on our meager faith.

So, Debbie and I are asking God to give TheHopeLine $100,000 so that it can reach more youth in need. We hope that you’ll help, and that you’ll ask your friends and contacts to help.

Whether this fundraiser will earn less than $10,000 or more than $100,000, one thing is for sure: the final result is well beyond our control. We like that. Although it seems about as far away as the Atlantic is from the Pacific, we’re going to entrust the process and the results to God. We’re quite certain we’ll learn something in the process.

Is there an area in your life where you need to be stretched? Are you willing to trust that God can bring you to higher ground? As we embark on our challenge, we invite you to join in with a challenge of your own. Expect more. And be willing to trust God with the outcome. He is fully capable of more than we can ask or imagine.

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