September 24, 2014

5 Reasons Not to Give to 20schemes (5)

This is the fifth and final post in our series on the topic of giving and 20 schemes.

Apparently, we at 20schemes do fundraising all wrong—at least, that is, according to the “experts.”

Part of my role at 20schemes is to facilitate partnerships in North America, including funding from church and individual partners. We recently sent a round of letters to churches in the U.S., introducing the ministry and asking them to consider including us in their 2015 missions budgets. Having never written a fundraising letter before, I did what any skilled professional would do—I Googled it. One site offered the following statement:

Direct marketing professionals say that the top motivating factors that get people to take action are guilt, fear, exclusivity, greed, and anger.

Imagine my horror! To motivate you to support gospel-work in Scotland, I must encourage you to deny the gospel in your heart through the worship of idols!

Guilt, fear, exclusivity, greed, and anger are five reasons not to support 20schemes. So far we have considered guilt,fear, exclusivity, and greed

This week we will look at:

Anger

According to the‘experts’ I’m supposed to ask you to respond to our need out of anger. No examples illustrated what this might look like. Therefore, I imagine it means getting you angry at situations and opponents. This probably means listing (again) the statistics of child abuse, spousal abuse, crime, drug use, and a welfare system that is failing suffering people. I should paint a picture that infuriates you, so that you give in a fit of rage.

This one is a bit tricky, since there are situations in which“righteous anger” is appropriate. We ought to be angry at sin, death, and the devil, which enslave and destroy people made in the image of God. But, it would be very possible for our anger to take a sinful and proud turn.

We could forget that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood” and begin to focus our hatred toward humans—dishonest government leaders, drug-dealers, abusive spouses, negligent parents, hardened criminals, and perhaps even churches that overlook and neglect the poor.

I can’t bring myself to motivate you through such anger. Yes, all these types of people are evil and complicit in the problem. Nevertheless, we know that “the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”Anger may motivate us to do things that will provide temporary solutions to the problem. Anger cannot produce a change of heart that produces obedience, love, and works of service flowing from faith.

So instead, I ask that you partner out of love for your enemies, believing that God loved you when you were like them. Let us not forget that we too were once like ‘them’—thieves, pushers, abusers, negligent, criminal. As Paul told Titus, “We ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4–6)

Christ died for us while we were yet sinners. God saved us, not because we deserved it, but because he had mercy through Christ.

We are not called to hate such people. Rather, as Paul writes, we are “to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarrelling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” (Titus 3:1–2). This is what the gospel trains believers to do (Titus 2:11–14)—to love our enemies the way God loved us when we were his enemies.

Partner with 20schemes in the Gospel

Guilt, fear, exclusivity, greed, and anger may be the top motivating factors that get people to take action—but not Christian people. And they aren’t to be used by the church and Christian ministries.

I really want you to partner with 20schemes. I hope you do. But I want your financial partnership to flow from an even greater partnership—a shared faith. Faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ sets us free from guilt, fear, exclusivity, greed, and anger. The grace of the gospel frees us to give out of faith, knowing that God loved us when we were unlovely through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. We are free now to give everything away, knowing that, because God has loved us, he will love us to the end of age and beyond.

Peace.

by Eric Schumacher, former Director of Operations at 20schemes

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