Part 3 Cont: I Need Help

This is the second part of The Marin Foundation’s Back Story; you can see the first part here.

There are a few haters out there who LOVE to say that I’m only in this bridge building work for the money; that I pay myself everything that is donated to The Marin Foundation because I’m a “greedy snake like other Christian national figures”. The most I have ever paid myself to date is $9,800! Yep, you read that right. Ask the IRS, they’ll tell you what I’m saying is true even though practically no one believes me when I tell them. The Marin Foundation is a public 501(c)(3) organization that is required by law to have all of our tax records be open for public inspection, so if you don’t believe me, call the IRS! Ask away. I’ve got nothing to hide.

I’m sure at this moment a few questions are coming to mind: How come so low? What about all of your speaking and teaching and book sales? Where does that money go?

100% of the money that is received from speaking/teaching honorariums, and 100% of the money received from the book sales all go directly to The Marin Foundation to built sustainability for the long haul. 100% of that money is currently funding 100% of The Marin Foundation so we can stay alive.

Here’s something that really gets to me:

Name me one ‘national figure’ whose income is less than $10,000 a year, and gives 100% of speaking honorariums and 100% of book sales to their organization? Ok, Shane Claiborne is a good friend of mine and he’s one. 🙂 But, name me one who is doing that and not living in an intentional community? There are none that I know of.

I am not saying this to pat myself on the back, I am saying it because it’s as a fact of my current situation. I have given everything to the Lord—I have held nothing back from God or what I feel God has asked me to do. Here’s the issue for me, I now have a responsibility for my wife, potentially kids one day, and it’s not fair, nor is it right, to continue not paying myself. For the first time since I started The Marin Foundation I actually believe that I deserve to get paid a salary.

I have nothing in my life left to give.

I will faithfully continue on, but The Marin Foundation needs financial resources to be able to do so. Let me make this clear, those resources are not just to pay myself. That is one small part of it, and I have focused on the ‘salary’ issue here because I want to let you know what I have done to keep The Marin Foundation running these last few years. In a few days I will be outlining The Marin Foundation’s 2010 budget, and there you will see the full scope of our tangible work, classes, programs, research, trainings and forums, and funding needs for all of those.

I hate when churches/organizations/people try to guilt others into giving money (e.g. why I never listen to K-LOVE radio station during their fundraising seasons because they are heavy on the guilt ploy). But I’m out of options. There needs to be giving or The Marin Foundation will not be able to continue as is.

I never knew how much my first year at The Marin Foundation really traumatized me. That first year I didn’t know how to get churches involved (as there were many individuals involved), so I opened up the Chicago phone book, flipped to churches and literally called all 2,671 in the City of Chicago (I have the spread sheets to prove it). Seven days a week I set up anywhere between two to five meetings a day to share my vision to whoever would listen to me. I was laughed out of the first 641 churches that I talked to (I have the spread sheets to prove it). SIX HUNDRED AND FORTY ONE CHURCHES! They all said to me a variation of the same thing:

“You’re 24 years old and you’re trying to do something that’s never been done. Stop wasting my time.”

I’ve been pushing for so long with no time to think about anything else other than faithfully continuing forward that when I recently stopped and looked at what I went through, for the first time, all of the pain and insecurity hit me like a ton of bricks—more aptly, hit me like 641 times being laughed at and told ‘no’.

That’s one of the major reasons why I never asked for money. I’m scared to death of allowing myself to be laughed at again by another 641 churches. This bridge building work has been so hard for me in the first place, I didn’t know if my fragile spirit could take any more rejection, pain, being made fun of.

So I just hid it away.

But it’s not hidden anymore, and I’m terrified. Thanks for listening….

If you would like to keep updated with the work and needs of The Marin Foundation, please email us at or send us your address if you prefer a hard-copy and we’ll add you to our bi-monthly mailing list.

Much love.

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  • Count us in as a church supporter and not one of the 641. We are a new church start but want to show our support. We’ll be sending a check by mid-January or sooner! We appreciate what you are doing!!

  • Leneita Fix

    So let me start at the beginning. You deserve to get paid. People always want to give to get what I like to call “their warm fuzzies on.” What I mean is that they want to give to the “noble” things that they feel are worthy. Years ago we had a church who every winter donated hand knit hats and mittens to the kids in our programs. John went to speak at the church one Sunday and challenged them to give more. Their answer was they were happy with the hats and mittens and that is all they wanted to give. Now that was great. Kids who have nothing need hats and mittens when it is cold and hand knit ones are special. But, in all of that people can forget that in order for those kids to GET the mittens we have to pay the ones who are doing it. There is over head and gas and electricity. “Salaries” are the hardest things to get anyone to give to. But, they are noble.

    You deserve to have food on your table and to be able to get from point a to point b so that you can teach your classes, clothes on your back, shoes on your feet. You are allowed.

    We are not laughing. We stand with you. Pioneers are always laughed at. The stagnant rarely make a difference. God hates the luke warm. Hot or cold. All the way in or not. You have jumped in with all of you for him. He sees it. He honors it. It matters. It does matter. He has never been laughing. People are scared of change. They are petrified of agents of change. We like to hide in our bubbles. Anyone who pops the bubble makes us all very uncomfortable.

    We are praying for you and putting our money where our mouth is… Life is too short and God has too much to do to be comfortable…

    Alright so I said to much… I usually do…..

  • I agree… You deserve a salary. Your work must continue. I’ll help with what I can! Looking forward to seeing what God does here…

  • Mrs T

    .It amazes me that you went to 641 churches before any ‘results.’ Wow! I would have probably quit before 10! I feel rejection so easily, even tho I have had lots of acceptance the past 20+ years.
    You know I’m pulling for you & may drop off a small contribution soon.
    I think you need to talk to my church about becoming a missionary. Hey, you should talk to lots of churches about that. You are a home missionary.
    After several years in ministry, there may be more churches willing to give.
    Give it a try. Better yet, we who read this should talk to our churches……

  • John Dao

    It is rather biblical that you deserve a paycheck.

    1 Corinthians 9:14 “In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.” And that is what you do, preach the gospel. All of 1 Corinthians 9 would be helpful for you to reflect on 🙂

    Also, Phillipians 4:10-20, particularly the part about “not one church shared with me in giving and receiving…” reminded me of what you posted here.

    I hope this makes for some prayerful reflection and comfort for you 🙂

  • Steve – Wow. Thank you so much. Please call my office as I would love to connect 773-572-5983. Much love.

    And THANKS everyone for the Scripture and validation in thought process. It means so much. Seriously. Leneita, you can talk too long anytime. 🙂

  • Libby Miner

    I immediately thought of “Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young.”
    You/we are the next generation to be middle-age and then the elders of society. I believe in the 20-something generation to do great things, especially those who are living for God’s glory.

    OK, here it is fully quoted…I’m going KJV on you because it was near by…

    “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” I Timothy 4:12

    In conversation! WOW! Good one.

    God bless you as you seek His plan for your finances!!!

  • Libby Miner

    Or should I say…I believe that Godwill use the the youthful generations in great ways in the years to come!!!

  • Person

    Anybody who says you are too young to fulfill God’s plan for your life is a liar and a fool. Think about David, or Esther, or Mary. They were even younger than you are now. You are a mighty man of the Lord, Andrew, and ultimately that is what counts.

    As for the pain and insecurity, those are feelings that you should surrender to God. I know, it’s probably not my place to be saying something like that to you, but I say it only because I care about you. Jesus didn’t die so that you could be insecure. Think about it and ask him to help you work through the trauma of rejection. I will continue praying for you and I hope that everybody who is affected by your ministry will hold you up in prayer even if they are unable to give.