Transformational Giving Counterfeit #3: Chaplaincy

In a post last week, we talked about two approaches to development that are often mistaken as country cousins to TG but are in fact counterfeits. The first is a form of friendraising, in which we talk to champions about anything except for money in the hopes that God will then put it on their hearts to talk to us about money. The second I call fee for service, in which we help grow the champion in relation to the cause and then we say, ‘Hey, while we’re talking, let me mention a financial need my ministry’s facing, now that you’re more or less indebted to me.’ These two counterfeit forms are kissing cousins of each other in that both see the champion giving money as a consequence of us doing anything except talking to the champion about giving to the cause.

The third form of counterfeit TG is different, though equally counterfeit: chaplaincy.

In the chaplaincy approach, we assume responsibility for coaching the champion in all areas of Christian growth, not just the cause we share in common and on which our nonprofit is called to focus. We, in other words, supplement or displace the role of the local church in general in the life of the champion.

Not good.

Why this happens (and why it’s often mistaken for TG) is understandable. TG stresses the nonprofit’s coaching/mentoring role in relation to the cause the nonprofit and the champion share. It’s not an infinite leap from coaching in relation to the cause too coaching in relation to everything.

Sometimes the chaplaincy role is overt, such as in the case of a ministry who attends our training whose executive director told me how their largest donor said to him, ‘I got hurt by the church, so I stopped going and now I’m giving you my tithe instead.’

Far more often, however, the chaplaincy function is less overt, like for example when a well-meaning nonprofit says to its champions, ‘How can we pray for you?’, to which the champion dutifully responds, ‘Well, my uncle goes in for goiter surgery next week, and…’

So what’s wrong with being a chaplain?

The chaplaincy role obscures and confuses both the purpose of the nonprofit and the purpose of the church.

Rather than asking the champion, ‘How can we pray for you?’, the purpose of the nonprofit is to ask, ‘How can I assist you in praying for this cause we share?’

Rather than seeking to coach the champion broadly in the Christian life, the purpose of the nonprofit is to coach the champion deeply in relation to the cause in such a way that what s/he learns she can teach throughout his or her sphere of influence, including, ideally, his or her church.

Rather than replacing the church in the life of the champion, the nonprofit can imbue that role with a new vigor, meaning, and purpose.

Beats praying for the uncle with a goiter and calling it TG.

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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1 Response to Transformational Giving Counterfeit #3: Chaplaincy

  1. Pingback: How NOT to do friend raising « Transformational Giving

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