January 8, 2008

The Almighty Dollar

As we have entered the world of fund raising (I don't like the term "support raising" for some reason), I've begun to realize just how embedded the idolatry of money is in Christian culture. I made a lot of phone calls yesterday in regards to what we are doing. Some of them were incredibly encouraging. Words of wisdom and experience were poured upon us. But through some other conversations yesterday I began to realize that for many Christian-based individuals and organizations the amount of money one raises seems to be synonymous with whether or not God is actually in the work of a particular group. So, if you can raise the money, God is behind what you are doing. If you can't, God must not believe in what you're doing... I'd hate for these people to see the budgets of some of the most effective ministries I know of... I would assume that these same people would be opposed to a prosperity gospel. They don't seem to notice the subtle similarities between this posture towards fund raising and a prosperity gospel (which seems to be a Jesus-y form of capitalism to me). Ultimately, it exposes how complicit we are to putting economics before all rather than God. Should the amount of money in an account determine the effectiveness of a group of Christ followers and their particular task? I would assume that there are people doing things that God is quite pleased with that have a hard time fund raising.

By the way, thanks to those that sent emails in response to my last post. Don't be shy! You can interact in the comments as well. Your supporters probably don't check my blog.

3 comments :

steve said...

Very interesting connection between fund raising and the prosperity gospel. I hadn't thought of it, but I can't say I've ever received a fund raising letter that said, "We worked tirelessly with the poor for the past 12 months, and nobody got saved. Please continue supporting this valuable ministry." Looks like we're pretty particular about the kind of "fruit" we expect.

everythingbelongs said...

Jason,

I am finding, people enjoy giving one time gifts more than providing a monthly (ongoing) stream of support. I don't know what that means?

I am also interested in and pursuing ideas about events like a golf tournament where I can raise a sum of money on an annual basis that I can kind of count on, so I am not constantly asking a large group of people for donations.

I have watched your blog for a few years. With your interaction in the music scene, that might be a great way for you to foster some support. You could have a series of concerts/events that people donate their "talent" and venue to your cause and you could annually recruit a group of volunteers to help you pull off the event and have a sum of fundraising that you know will come from that event.

Just a thought.

Jason Smith

Jason said...

Thanks for the ideas, Jason. I have actually done quite a few fundraising concerts in the past. Not for myself but for other ministries and organizations. They have typically not been very profitable. Plus it tends to rely on your relationships with artists, getting them to play for virtually free... you can only use that deal a few times. But since you've brought it up I just might talk to some folks about it and see what arises. Thanks for chiming in!

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