By Mike Stickler
Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.
As you may know, I’ve spent most of my career helping ministries interweave generosity into the DNA of their organizations—though often, ministry leaders approach me sayingsomething like, “We just want you to hook us up with rich people.” This statement alone is symptomatic to the problem with which this ministry is experiencing. Many ministries have not built the proper foundation of stewardship and generosity to undergird the activities of their ministry. As such, their financial tank is always running on empty and their organizational car often broken down at the side of the road. Frankly, those “rich people” immediately see the organizational problems and quickly become unwilling to invest in them. So, let’s discuss prepared giving.
Proverbs 24:27 addresses the proper orderly preparation of building a house. A ministry to which you contribute would be no different. It is essential you investigate where you invest your time, talent, treasure, and relationships. Do not get caught up in the slick presentation, groovy website, or anointed music. Instead, look to the ministry’s foundation. Does it have an engaged leadership board? Are bills paid on time? Is there staff satisfaction or much turnover? Are the leaders full of humility and grace or boastful, arrogant or wasteful? Is there genuine, visible fruit, lives changed, and those changes sustainable?
It is your responsibility to be a good steward of what God has entrusted to you. So before you make a serious commitment to support a ministry(s), conduct your due diligence, yet do that with mercy. Once you make your commitment, stay faithful. Your relationship should continue to grow with that ministry as the years pass. Bottom line: the slower and more deliberate you are to making this commitment, the more likely you’ll continue to fulfill it—and finally, be satisfied with its success.
Today’s Generosity Challenge:
Make a list of every organization you have supported this year. Begin your due diligence review with each with them using these guidelines: Make a list of your questions for the pastor or representative, president, or CEO about their organization, its ministry, and about its business model, financial health, and financial structure. Carefully listen to how they respond to your questions. If they are defensive or dismissive, make note of it. If they are healthy and whole, they will embrace your questions and humbly respond. Should they not have answers to some of your questions, the proper response should be, “I don’t know but I’ll find out and get back to you.” Once you’ve completed your due diligence, you may see that you want to shuffle your resources into a more effective ministry. Write down what you found out – the good, the bad and the ugly. (Please do not mention ministry names or individuals with whom you speak.) Write your findings down here.
About Michael Stickler
Mike is an author, radio host, and a highly sought after motivational speaker. His best-selling book, A Journey to Generosity, is widely acclaimed throughout the Christian community. He is the publisher of Generous Living Magazine and writes for the Christian Post, 'A Generous Life' column.