Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Time Spent

You know how the Beatitudes seem to turn everything upside down: blessed are the poor, the meek and so on? Well, the biblical roots of Transformation Giving do the same.

One part of TG that seems to be the reverse from the norm is how we spend our time. We often think our time should be spent with the crowds and a lot of big meetings. In fact for missionary who travel to churches, often get discouraged when the crowd is small.

And what about those fund-raising dinners? We always want the numbers for these to be high. That’s ok. We want our church services and banquets all well attending: nothing wrong with that sort of thinking. But if that is where our thinking ends, then we probably are not doing very well fund-raising and we certainly are not being transformational.

I know missionaries who Sunday after Sunday have a full schedule of meetings with good crowds and yet they are under-funded. So the solution is...better find more meetings? WRONG.

Look at how Jesus spent His time. Did he spend time with the crowds? Of course he did. Did the crowds produce followers? Yes. But look at the time spent with the crowds versus the time spent with the disciples. And look at the time spent with the 12 and see how he even took more time to spend with the three, Peter, James and John.

The lesson here is not to ignore the crowds, but rather if the message is to go beyond the ‘wow’ of the public presentation, discipleship in smaller groups must happen. Jesus spent time developing a few to influence the many.

There is a lesson in this for TG. If all we do is focus on the crowds and meetings and never work to develop individuals in their journey we risk failing to be ministers to the giver, and become just offering takers.

I had one missionary couple tell me that the last time they were in the states to do fund-raising they only had a few Sundays off for the whole year and they did not get their budget raised. They asked for a new way to reach the champion this time home. We talked about TG. So in their first four months home from the field they focused on pouring their lives into 4 local churches that support them. They attend prayer meetings and lead small groups for these churches. As a result of their investing time in a ministry of discipleship they told me they have pick up over $400 of new monthly support. They have also had friends from the churches give them more personal referrals for new contacts than they had the entire time they were home last time.

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