I have been staring at the computer, learning new information about nonprofits, business plans, fundraising, and the such. My goodness, there are graduate programs out there for Master of Business Administration, Public Administration, Public Policy, Urban Planning, and Social Work to name a few. I feel inadequate. No wonder my head is spinning, and I want to run away.
I calm myself, and walk away when my brain says it is at capacity for today. I don’t think I’m going to earn any of those degrees overnight.
In fact, I question the basic premise of learning how to run a ministry like a worldly business. The “faith” people will tell of how they gave a bundle of money to someone else, and before the day is out, God sends it miraculously back them 10 fold. I don’t want to be a Doubting Thomas, but I would like to see some documentation on that, please.
Today, I went to see a woman I have admired for several years. Her reputation of being an honest and careful administrator for a successful nonprofit is well known. I wanted her input into how our ministry has been doing. When we first set it up, we did so as a theocracy (run by God through prayer and agreement among directors). I asked this woman how important an Executive Director was, and she answered, “Everything. You need a leader, a face to the community, and I believe that is Biblical.”
I’m sure she was speaking about organization, and that is good, but all this material I’m learning on the computer is so very organized it would be hard to find God working there. How can a spiritual nonprofit entity have order and yet rely upon God as provider for all things?
One fact keeps coming up. The majority of all nonprofits are funded by gifts from individuals with an income less than $50,000, not the big corporations or government grants. Interesting…. Perhaps this is where God provides by touching the hearts of people wanting to help one another for good causes. Generosity. The Crouches of TBN always said the little people with small gifts built that network, not the big corporations.
I would like to think there would be a way to provide a product that would support a ministry so it could be self sufficient. Asking for money disturbs me a little, but that may be false pride. It gives opportunity for generosity and sharing. As to the question of “theocracy versus business practices” I believe a ministry dedicated to being an arm of the Lord should prayerfully be under His direction, but should also be knowledgeable of accepted and proven business practices. The key issue is direction and control. Does He chose the paths and the acceptable results or does it come from what we think should be done, where and for whom? He is omnipotent and omniscient; we are neither and can get off track easily.
I do think it is healthy for the ministry to reevaluate its motives, attitudes, and goals at the end of this year. We can discard what doesn’t work so well, and plan for more growth and success. We need to carefully give God the glory and follow His guidance for it is His work, not ours. Our job is to be good stewards of it, and learning new methods won’t hurt any. My brain can handle it.