August 18, 2014

Reasons Not to Give to 20schemes: Guilt

This is the first in a series of posts that we will be publishing over the next five Mondays on the topic of giving and 20 schemes.

Apparently, we at 20schemes do fund-raising 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.

  1. Guilt.

I’m supposed to motivate you with guilt. They say I should “write in a way that makes the reader feel singled out.” I should encourage you to have an emotional connection with our cause so that you feel personal guilt if you do not respond.

I’m to do this by painting a hopeless picture of the schemes, telling you that:

  • the U.N. recently reported that Scotland leads the world in Cocaine use.
  • Glasgow leads the world in Heroin addiction.
  • the life-expectancy of the average male in some schemes is in the low 40’s.
  • 45% of women experience personal violence
  • 52% of women are lone parents.
  • 33% of all children in Glasgow (over 36,000) were estimated to be living in poverty in 2012.
  • crime, drug abuse, mental and physical health problems are widespread.
  • the schemes are less than 2.5% evangelical.
  • in the top 50 deprived schemes, over half have no access to the gospel.
  • millions of Scotland’s poorest are living in severe deprivation, suffering from abuse and addiction, headed for hell with no access to the gospel.

All that is true. But then, I’m to make you feel guilty, to think it is all your fault. I’m to make you feel personally responsible for these lives, especially if you don’t respond with a donation. (Once you donate, of course, your guilt will go away.)

I simply can’t bring myself to do that, for at least two reasons. First, the Bible nowhere requires you personally to support 20schemes in particular. There are many good and legitimate options for supporting gospel work.

Second, a generous donation to a worthy cause cannot relieve any of your guilt. The only way that our guilt is dealt with is through faith in Jesus Christ, who bore our guilt on the cross.

So instead, I ask that you partner with 20schemes because you have been forgiven. In Luke 7, a sinful woman overflowed with love for God and acts of compassion toward her neighbor because “her sins, which were many, were forgiven.” I pray that, as you meditate on the great mercy you have received in Christ through faith, you would delight to show generous mercy to those suffering in Scotland’s schemes.

by Eric Schumacher, former Director of Operations at 20schemes

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