What Missional Churches Can Learn from Non-Profits

Funding the Missional ChurchFellow Progressive Christian blogger Carl Gregg finally decided to post his notes from the Funding the Missional Church conference, which was good, because it reminded me to post these slides from Brad Cecil — which are perhaps the most valuable take-away from the entire event:

I wish the Funding conference had focused more on more advanced “Missional 201″ stuff, specifically on social entrepreneurship and alternative sources of funding than traditional “here’s how to get people to give you money” stuff (although that stuff is still really helpful). If JoPa decides to do this conference again, those will be my hopes for it.

Take a look at Brad Cecil’s slides and tell me what you think! Leave some thoughts in the comments.

  • http://iamcoleslaw.blogspot.com/ Coleslaw

    I can give you the view from the other side. For close to 40 years, I worked for non-profit agencies, 36 years at one agency, and I am surprised to find out that we are in such high clover. When I started working at that agency, I used to joke that our equipment budget consisted of being sent out on the street with apples and pencils to sell. The agency I worked for is a rehabilitation center for children with developmental disabilities. The children we saw spent with physical disabilities spent an average of ten years in treatment, usually multiple treatments (PT, OT, ST, and/or educational therapy) and needed expensive equipment like augmentative communication devices, wheelchairs and computers. Naturally, our agency needed that equipment to try out on them, and it needs to be upgraded regularly.

    We were a secular agency, but just about any one of us if you asked us would have said we were doing God’s work. If our little clients didn’t count as “the least of these”, I don’t know who did.

    After Katrina struck, we received an influx of displaced clients, right around the time that United Way had to cut our budget 20%. Fortunately for us, [secular] professional organizations around the country helped us get needed equipment through grants.

    In early 2009, the church I attend decided to begin work on renovating and expanding the facilities. My husband and I voted against it, due to the recession. We were told that people would find the money to give. Meantime, United Way and all the non-profits that depended on it was being hit hard. One agency that worked with inner city children was not sure they were going to survive. Every dollar that went to the church building is a dollar that could have gone to a food bank, a program for inner city children, a program for victims of domestic violence, a tutoring program, a halfway house. As part of the fund raising effort our church held a day of prayer to pray for God’s to guide us in deciding how much we could donate to the building program. I wasn’t there. I was in a nearby state park at my agency’s annual canoe trip: a joint project of several businesses and volunteers to adapt canoes and provide experienced personnel to allow children with disabilities and their families to enjoy a day on the water.

    My husband and I never did give to the building fund. Instead, we doubled the amount of money we give to community organizations that feed, clothe, and support people in need.

    The building project did get funded. It should be completely paid for by the end of this year. The Italian tile floor in the entry is lovely, although hard to roll a wheelchair over, as I discovered when I broke my foot. There still isn’t an automatic door opener (which I would be happy to pull the money out of my retirement funds and pay for myself if only someone would actually authorize it) or wheelchair access to the choir loft or the top floor of the education building, and I’m not sure there’s a plan to ever have these things., but we do have a new audio-visual system.

    So that’s why I’d rather give to secular non-profits than my church.

    • http://www.missionalshift.com Steve Knight

      Wow, thank you for sharing your story here.


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