We have debated if we should share this experience. Some will think we are doing this to get money (To relieve that concern, we will not accept any funds from those who are on this specific mailing list). Some will think we are grumbling. Some will get offended. Hopefully most will understand that we share this story to emphasize a point–there is a mindset in America in regards to financial giving. This mindset prevents the gospel from being shared in a greater way.
I am the founder of two ministries.
In His Steps Ministries is an Internet Ministry. We have a website that provides a variety of information to both Christians and Spiritual Seekers. We also provide on-line and phone counseling, offer an on-line prayer service with over 130 Prayer Partners, and Free Bibles and Books. Each week we send out e-mails with Inspirational Stories, Poetry, Clean Jokes, and Spiritual Nuggets.
The Hill For Jesus is a street ministry on Capitol Hill in Seattle. We minister to the homeless, addicted, and rejected of society. Our ministry also provides food, clothing, and literature to the homeless.
We have a very large subscriber base that receive weekly e-mails.
We suggested a donation of $12 per year ($1 per month) from each
subscriber to help cover us to share the gospel and feed the homeless. Out of
this large subscriber base only .5% gave anything at all. Not 5%, but less than
If people said they did not give because they support other ministries, we would be happy to hear that. If people did not give because they do not believe in this ministry we could understand that. If people did not give because they are barely making it financially, it would make sense. However the number one reason people gave why they could not donate is because they did not have any spare money to give. 99.5% did not give because they “could not afford $1.00 a month”. What is interesting is that almost all of those that gave were elderly who live on small incomes and two people from very poor foreign countries.
We minister on the streets to homeless, addicted people. They have “no money”. Actually the truth is, they even have some money-it is a matter how they choose to spend it. I minister to men who are barely making it. They told me how they had no money to launder their clothes and how smelly the clothes were getting. Then in the next sentence they told me how they just bought a small antenna for their TV. Did they not have money to launder their clothes? No, because they choose to use the money instead for an antenna.
It is a matter of priorities. What is important to us? Is good TV reception more important than clean clothes? Then don’t say you do not have money to do laundry. Is it more important to buy drugs than to eat? Then don’t say you do not have money for food. Is two candy bars more important than supporting a ministry? Then don’t say you cannot afford $1.00 a month.
There is a mindset in the American people and in the American Church-what I want is more important than helping others. My well being is more important than someone else’s well being. Our definition in America of ‘well being’ is much different than most of the world.
There is a tremendous difference between saying “I already give to many causes” or “I only tithe and give offerings to my local church” than to say “I can’t afford $1.00 a month”.
We realize this nugget has been somewhat negative. And some will think we are too hard on the American church. However, to be quite honest, we believe if Jesus was living in America today he would be speaking to many American Christians the same way that he spoke to the Pharisees of His time. We believe He would confront the materialism of many Christians and the lack of financial support to help spread the gospel. I think He would confront the Christian businessman with the $500 suit, driving his BMW, drinking his $5.00 latte and then saying “Right now I can’t afford to tithe to my local. Besides I am a New Testament Christian so I don’t believe in tithing.”
In the next nugget we will be summarizing this series of nuggets on Financial Giving.
Copyright © 2003 Richard D. Dover. All rights reserved.
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Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations used are from the New American Standard Version (NASB).