A common thread in reading about the coming generation is their desire to be relevant. You read this in more than one book regarding the coming generation. But the thought struck me, “Who does not want to relevant?” I am sure my grandparents never set out to be irrelevant.
As I read, relevance seems to be related to activity. But I am sure there has yet to be a generation who sees themselves as inactive. I find it fascinating that today’s generation sees the Boomer’s as irrelevant or inactive. I am a Buster and I do not have the nerve to tell the Boomer’s they were inactive. (Have you seen news-clips from the late 60’s?)
Could it be that perhaps we see others as irrelevant or inactive because their involvement is not about issues that concern me? So if they are not active on the issues I care about I see them as irrelevant?
But too often perception is reality. So why is a large part of today’s North American Christianity viewed as irrelevant? Is it because the activity is not producing change? And why is Todd talking about this in a transformation giving blog? All good questions.
If the North American Church does not appear to be making a difference in our culture and if a coming generation sees it as irrelevant, then no wonder giving is slowing. So let’s be honest about our outreach and ask these hard questions.
- Is the outreach or cause that I am funding still needed? i.e. Still relevant
- Is the outreach or cause that I am funding making a difference?
- Is the outreach or cause that I am funding inclusive or exclusive? Here is what I mean by this. Is your ministry one that wants the activity of partners and you strongly desire for others to serve with you, i.e inclusive. Or is it a ministry that you just want the funds so you can go to the work because others may not be able to help, i.e. exclusive.
If the outreach you fund is still needed, and it is making a difference and it is open to the activities of other, then go for it!!! But no matter how much your ministry may be needed, if you have to convince others it is making a difference even though you do it without their involvement then you have an uphill battle for the giving to happen. Find a way for the donor to be active in more than just check writing. (That goes for any generation.)
If all your ministry needs are checks, then perhaps checking your relevance is in order.