Each Monday, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King publishes a fantastic five-page website column on football. My favorite page is always the fifth one, in which he lists the ten things he thinks he thinks that week about football, life, and coffee. (Go figure about the coffee.)
It’s a great journalistic technique, this idea of listing things one thinks one thinks. After all, King can say all kinds of things without hopelessly committing himself in the particular direction of his comments; at the same time, if his instincts turn out to be correct, he can claim to have been the first one to have brought up the idea.
So, in that vein, this week I want to share with you some of the areas of research on which I’m working in Transformational Giving.
Don’t worry–it’s not esoteric stuff. Far from it. It’s all quite foundational. A lot of it is percolating in my brain as I begin to formally apply TG to a local church context. Inevitably TG will take any good Christian nonprofit there, to thinking through how we as Christian nonprofits interface with The Mother Ship.
So as you read these posts, I want to especially encourage you to post your comments in reply. Agree. Disagree. List three examples. Offer alternatives. Construct. Destruct. But whatever you do, don’t use the words ‘donor’, ‘friendraising’, or ‘wealth identifier overlay’.
My first ‘Things I think I think about TG’ post this week deals with the purpose of the nonprofit organization. I think everything about TG–and much related to church and nonprofit health in the future–hinges on us getting this right.
It’s certainly possible (and we have five decades of proof in this regard) for a nonprofit to be financially and even programmatically successful in ways that either don’t aid the church’s maturity or, worse yet, actually inhibit it.
Now I’m pondering a thought about the purpose of the Christian nonprofit, namely:
The Christian nonprofit is called into existence by God as a church renewal movement in the cause which it is called to champion.
I think I think that if we adopt this idea, we get a wholly different set of success metrics:
- Getting big wouldn’t be viewed inherently as a good thing or even as a goal; in fact, we’d view it with a certain amount of suspicion. After all,
- The real metric of success would be the degree to which the Christian nonprofit successfully re-embedded care of the particular cause back into the church.
- We’d definitely be measuring not only ROI but RII, and
- We’d know exactly when to go out of business, namely, when the church gets back in business and on firm footing in relation to the biblical cause God has given us to harangue the church about.
- Could that be what God has in mind when He calls us to found a nonprofit?
Nonprofit as church renewal movement. What do you think you think?