Everything I learned about TG I didn’t learn from Jehovah’s Witnesses (but God still used ’em)

The best resource you have for coaching your champions to maturity in the cause you share is not a generic “Coach Your Champions” chart or template from another ministry.  It’s your own journey from zero to hero in relation to your cause. As you contemplate the steps through which God took you, you’ll get priceless insight into how to help others take the same journey.

Last time I promised to offer you slices from my own experience as a model.

For me, my cause is Transformational Giving. Here’s a definition (you’ll need one for your cause, and it will likely be harder than you think to write it out in a single sentence. Give it a try. I’ll wait for you):

Transformational giving is a collaboration between you and God in which He infuses your corporate and personal assets with His grace as you offer them in the way He asks to the people and purposes that He directs.

(Side note: When you coach your champions you’re offering a priceless personal asset [your experience] to the people God directs [your champions]. When you do that under the guidance of God, He’ll infuse your coaching with His grace and bring the saints in your care to perfection–full maturity in the cause! Isn’t that more fun that soliciting people for money so you can do ministry?)

So where did the journey to maturity in that cause begin for me, and how might I use my journey to build a champion migration strategy for TG?

Though I didn’t know it at the time, the first TG experience the Lord ever gave me happened when I was around seven years old.

I grew up in a nominally Christian home, which meant that although my parents weren’t on fire for the Lord, they were able to tell the difference between a Methodist and a Jehovah’s Witness. So when Jehovah’s Witnesses knocked on the door, my parents dismissed them cordially but agreed to accept the books and magazines as part of, well, not wanting to seem rude.

I had no idea who the people were; visitors to our house were quite rare, as we lived way out in the countryside; and I was an avid reader, so I regarded the literature with genuine curiosity.

One book in particular electrified me. It was entitled something like, “Church services for Your Home”. You can have church services in your home???? My seven-year old mine boggled at the thought. Even though we didn’t go to church regularly, I knew enough to know that church was something that happened in the ornate building near the library, not in our living room. And it sure didn’t happen with me leading!

I asked my parents if I could lead our family in the church services outlined in the book. They consented with some bemusement. As it turned out, the vocabulary was beyond what I could make sense of, so God likely used my limited reading skills to spare me from a life of Kingdom Halls.

I never became a Jehovah’s Witness. And I never presided over church services in our home as a seven-year old. But the experience was transformational to me, nonetheless: At the age of seven, God planted in me the idea that Christianity was not the work of paid professionals in special buildings. Even a seven-year old could lead worship in his living room.

So what in the world does that have to do with TG? And how can I use that when I coach champions to grow to maturity in the TG cause?

As a seven-year old, the transformational step through which the Lord guided me was the idea that I was not to be merely a witness (and definitely not a Jehovah’s Witness) to His work. I was to be directly engaged in it. And this work could not be confined to a special building but could and should take place in my very own living room.

That truth is embedded in Transformational Giving. A fundamental TG principle is that the more directly givers are connected to the cause, the more transformational their giving becomes. Just as the work of the church isn’t primarily conducted by the paid clergy and confined to the building, the work of the nonprofit shouldn’t primarily be conducted by the paid staff and centered at nonprofit headquarters.

That is, part of what makes giving transformational is its directness: When we pour directly into the people and purposes God puts in our path, we experience something transformational that doesn’t always happen when we give indirectly through a nonprofit organization so that the nonprofit can do ministry.

Now, this doesn’t mean that nonprofits should cease to exist. But it does mean that nonprofits should serve as platforms through which champions can connect with and grow in their ability to directly impact the cause. Nonprofits are gymnasiums for champions, not traveling circuses that entertain and amaze Christians with their death-defying feats of ministry in exchange for donations.

So as I plan a TG champion migration strategy, one of the first experiences  I’m looking to give to champions is the experience of giving in such a way that through their gift they interact ever more directly and skillfully with a cause that they’ve previously interacted with only indirectly.

How might I do that?

More to come in our next post.

About Pastor Foley

The Reverend Dr. Eric Foley is CEO and Co-Founder, with his wife Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, supporting the work of persecuted Christians in North Korea and around the world and spreading their discipleship practices worldwide. He is the former International Ambassador for the International Christian Association, the global fellowship of Voice of the Martyrs sister ministries. Pastor Foley is a much sought after speaker, analyst, and project consultant on the North Korean underground church, North Korean defectors, and underground church discipleship. He and Dr. Foley oversee a far-flung staff across Asia that is working to help North Koreans and Christians everywhere grow to fullness in Christ. He earned the Doctor of Management at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio.
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2 Responses to Everything I learned about TG I didn’t learn from Jehovah’s Witnesses (but God still used ’em)

  1. Pingback: Transformational Giving

  2. Suzanne says:

    This is a great line: “Nonprofits are gymnasiums for champions, not traveling circuses that entertain and amaze Christians with their death-defying feats of ministry in exchange for donations.” I wonder why that is (and I can attest that it’s true by personal experience) and the best answer I’ve come up with so far is simply pride. We (including myself at times) think we know the best way to achieve success and are the most talented ones to make sure it comes to fruition. Might we step aside from pride, we might just see how much more that can be accomplished by working in union with others!

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