Thinking Out Loud

May 29, 2009

Summer Missionary Without a Net (Network)

Camp Iawah Banner

~~ Camp Iawah – http://www.iawah.com – Kingston, Ontario, Canada ~~

So…we’re trying to help our oldest son raise some money for a summer work opportunity at a Christian camp.   They’ve promised him a base rate which is about a third of the minimum wage here, though he will also get room and board.   Given that he’ll be working in the kitchen and now has four kinds of food services experience, I was hoping they’d offer him a bit more than they did.   If he wants more — and he’s starting university in the fall — he has to raise the support himself.  That’s how mission organizations do things.

So armed with an e-mail contact list that contains over 1,000 names, I started to focus on the two or three hundred people that I know personally enough to ask, and made an interesting discovery:  Most of them are also involved — or have someone in their family circle involved — in some kind of mission activity, also.   An added challenge is that despite his exhaustive Bible knowledge, computer skills, and fluency in a second language, some people don’t see the kitchen as frontline ministry position.

Some well-meaning person once told me that if the friends I have can’t help me out, I should get new friends.   Seriously.   But it’s true that many people we know are ‘tapped-out’ financially with a variety of church and civic concerns constantly knocking at the door and asking for help.     Still, I also know that a number of people we know aren’t tithing to their local church right now because they don’t have a local church.   So given that I had nothing to lose, I sent off about 60 e-mails at the start of the week.   At first, replies were few, and we were only at about 20% of the maximum fundraising permitted.   But as the week went by, we were feeling more optimistic.

How about you?   Do you have discretionary funds available for special projects, or is your philanthropy relatively locked in?   I know that in future, when I’m asked to help out people — especially young people — in a similar situation, I’ll be looking at it rather differently.   And what about the many who are in-between churches and have been for many months or years now?   To whatever extent the “tithe” concept extends into the New Covenant era, do they still have a responsibility to give; and if so where should they direct those funds?  For those in that situation, these are actually hard questions.

We’ll keep you posted on how it goes, but I can tell you right now, we’re not well networked and we’re not gifted fundraisers.   But when you’re passionate about a ministry, like we are about this camp, and when it’s your own son on whose behalf you’re appealing, it’s amazing what you can accomplish.

As to the advice I received:  We like the friends we have and we’re not getting new ones just so we can ‘use’ them.   I’d rather hang out in a social circle where everyone has mission opportunities that they are excited about than have friends who are materially rich but lack ministry passion.

If you live in Canada and want to help out and receive a receipt for your donation, contact us at the address in the lowest box on the sidebar at right.   If you’re the one-in-a-million person who is looking for a major project to which to direct your giving, I don’t know anything — outside of some third-world projects — better than this particular interdenominational camp organization.  Write us at the same address and I’ll tell you more!

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2 Comments »

  1. Hey, thanks for the comment on my post yesterday at SCL. It’s great having readers add to the conversation.

    The voice of experience guy is also known as the one-upper. This experience is great and all, but it’s nowhere as intense as it was back in ’89.

    Know that my blog is a safe place to talk about life’s more trivial matters. That’s what we do best over there. Everyone needs a break from the serious, right? Keep the comments coming!

    Comment by Tyler Stanton — May 30, 2009 @ 7:54 am

    • The SCL Tyler is referring to is Stuff Christians Like (see my blogroll) where he was a guest blogger yesterday. I checked out his site yesterday also, and encourage you to do the same. The middle paragraph in his comment here makes sense if you read his article at SCL and then check out all the comments which followed.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — May 30, 2009 @ 8:48 am


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