Sustainability: Is It Possible?
For the past couple of weeks, we have been using the book, The Choice, to help us understand how to pursue outcomes that go beyond looking at how many people we serve. Instead, a focus on kingdom outcomes helps us to focus on the eternal work we are doing as we build kingdom outcomes.
We began with a discussion of The Kingdom Path and spent a bit of time comparing it to the Common Path. Then, last week, our focus was the common path of control. Today’s common path is the focus of money.
We know that everything we have, including our money (and that of the organization) belongs to God. We are simply stewards of the money…which means we take care of it to ensure we use it in the best possible way.
But….somewhere along the line, ministries and nonprofits have come to believe that money is the main thing we need to make our work successful. We make statements like, “if I only had wealthy board members,” or “when our budget is…” While we might think these statements are harmless, what they are doing is focusing on money and the power we believe it brings instead of focusing on the power of God to provide.
The authors of The Choice say that we need to doublecheck our language for the language we use attempts to give us control rather than relying on God for what we need. “When we use phrases like “our ministry,” or “my organization,” we begin the slide down a slippery slope of loving money and using people instead of using money and loving people.
A.W. Tozer says this attitude is a cliff from whose edge we can easily fall. He says, “God’s gifts have now taken the place of God.”
Essentially, we become enslaved or in bondage to the material –time, money, possessions, etc. Our freedom comes only when we live our lives in obedience to God and walk the Kingdom Path.
This discussion naturally leads to questions about sustainability. While sustainability discussions can be positive when they focus on having the funds needed to weather cyclical ups and downs, the danger is when we use the term sustainability as a synonym for a dependence on money to sustain the ministry or nonprofit. When this happens, we often turn our focus and our efforts to secular fundraising plans and the hoarding of resources.
Jesus tells us over and over in the Scriptures to trust in him and he will provide our needs. He knows what each organization needs and if we are being obedient to his calling, he will meet each need.
Biblically based fundraising invites others to join with us in the work of Christ as we trust that God will open the hearts of people to give. At the same time, we need to trust and be content with where the organization is at the present time. God will provide the money needed to move forward when we are ready for it.
When God says wait, he is either preparing us for the future, or preparing the future for us.
Sustainability is all about placing our faith in God and not money. Where has your faith been placed?
Take a few minutes to analyze the ministry or nonprofit you are involved with. Do you spend a lot of time focusing on generating additional funding? Is your board recruitment goal finding board members who are wealthy?
Remember, having money in the bank is not the problem. The problem is when we begin to think we are in control because we can generate money, we can spend it and save it. When this begins to happen, we will find ourselves drifting onto the Common Path.
Feel free to contact us if we can help. We will be praying for you!