Call Me a Skeptic!

For the last couple years anytime a charity calls and asks me for a donation I ask one question. "Could you tell me the percentage of money you raise that actually goes to the charity?" Usually there is a pregnant pause and the caller will say, "I will have to get you a manager to answer that question." "Okay, I’ll wait," I respond. The manager will come on the line in his best attempt to sound positive and say, "Yes sir, I want you to know a full 20% of the money goes directly to the charity!" In my informal experiment 9 out of 10 have the same percentage! Here is what I’m learning about all this.
 
The further removed from me taking personal responsibility for helping those in need in my sphere of influence, the less of my contribution ever gets to the need.
 
The easiest thing to do is give some money to some organization, I get to feel good like I’m really helping and I don’t have to invest much time or effort or get my hands dirty or really be directly involved. Plus, if I don’t see the need first hand, I probably won’t feel the need to give sacrificially. I will never get the sense, "If I don’t do something, people may die!" So, we live our unfulfilled, passionless lives but don’t really sense much purpose. There is nothing in our lives worth sacrificing for let alone a cause we would be willing to give our lives for.
 
Now, here is where it hits me close to home. I’ve been a Christian for 34 years now and have always given a healthy percentage of my income to the church. Last year was a unique year but we gave over 20% of our income to churches. I wonder if I ask my question to the churches what the answer would be?
 
The further removed from me taking personal responsibility for helping those in need in my sphere of influence, the less of my contribution ever gets to the need.
 
What about a total paradigmn shift in how we do ministry? I’ve been imagining a ministry for some time where every dime given, yes, 100% of the contributions went to directly impact some need. How in the world could that happen? Well, there would be way less organization, no owned or rented facilities, no utility bills, no salaries, no Sunday "Shows" to keep the donors coming. It may have to look alittle bit more like how Jesus did ministry. "Hey think your mom would let us meet in her big upper room tonight?" "Any chance we could all gather after work tonight and study the Bible together, anyone have a place we can meet?" "Do any of you know of people personally who we could step in and be Christ to them in their hour of need." "Let’s pool our resources and help them out." "If its nice out tonight, lets meet in that big field over by your house."
 
I know, everything people employed by churches do is ministry so technically 100% goes to ministry. Really? I pulled a paycheck from churches for nearly 20 years now and I’d say maybe 20% goes to ministry and 80% is overhead, buildings, salaries, benefits, computers, cell phones, equipment, technical stuff, etc. Some actually leads to impacting people personally, but much really doesn’t. Don’t tell me you can’t put a price on one person who trusts Christ as their Savior! How about looking at different approaches to reaching that one and say how much does it cost in the various models to reach one. In one model you may spend $80,000 to reach one, the other model you may spend some time to reach one, which one is being the better steward of the resources?
 
I must admit it is fun to sit where I sit right now, because I can ask these questions and not wonder "how will I make a living if we would do something this radical?" I can just ponder and say, "What if?"
 
The further removed from me taking personal responsibility for helping those in need in my sphere of influence, the less of my contribution ever gets to the need.
 
This is not a call to stop giving to your church, it is a call for each of us to look at how often we have expected some organization to do what God expects us to do as individuals. It is all about me stewarding my responsibilites before God.
 
The further removed from me taking personal responsibility for helping those in need in my sphere of influence, the less of my contribution ever gets to the need.
 
 
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About Scott Ranck

Enjoying life with my wife Gayle and our Yorkie, Zoe boy. I've come to believe life begins when through brokenness I can embrace it fully and openly. I've learned the human drama is an adventure and all of us are made of the same stuff. The Lord is the only being who knows me fully and he has an individual educational plan of life long learning for me and I'm enrolled. This blog is all about what I'm learning.
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