Archive for February, 2011
I’m chatting with someone about my job and comes up in conversation that raise part of my own salary and benefits. Heads tilt curiously. Brows furrow. Gears turn. “What?” people ask me.
I stammer and mumble. But what I should say is this:
I work for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. It’s a 70-year old interdenominational ministry to college students on 550 campuses around the country.
Like most nonprofits, we depend on donations to serve in this way. Some nonprofits spend a lot of money on a large department of professional fundraisers (so a small group of people spends a lot of money to raise a lot of money).
InterVarsity, and a lot of similar organizations, choose a different route. Why not have a lot of people all raise some money? Our staff members on campus raise money for their salaries, benefits, and ministry expenses. Working on the Communications team, I raise half of my salary and benefits. This can be awkward sometimes. But mostly it ‘s great:
- This ensures a high degree of alignment of values between the organization and me.
- It pushes me to keep expenses down, because I know the people who are giving.
- I watch how my time is spent, again because I know the people who donated to have me do my job.
- This model yields a high degree of accountability across the organization regarding stewardship of finances and time.
- It yields an increased push for strategy and efficacy.
- Raising financial support has me maintain a lot of fantastic friendships.
- I’m forced to trust God for my daily bread (at least in some sense).
- I get to tell stories of my ministry and that of InterVarsity, which can challenge those I reach.
- It gives a lot of grassroots PR back to InterVarsity.
- This also gives me an opportunity to encourage others to live lives of service, too.
What would you add to this list? Or what doesn’t make sense to you about it?
I spoke this week in our weekly chapel service at InterVarsity, about Jesus’ harsh words to legalistic Pharisees in Matthew. Tune in for a poem, some personal confession, and some serious questions for myself and the people with whom I work.
The executive summary:
Jesus often spoke very harshly to Pharisees, teachers of the law, and scribes. People (like me) in full-time Christian work for churches and non-profits occupy the same space in society as the Pharisees did back then. Therefore, we should read those hard passages carefully and consider what they mean for us. I looked at Matthew 23, a scathing monologue directed at the Pharisees.
I struggle in this personally: a desire for recognition, wasting people’s time with off-the-wall ideas, pushing forward my preferences rather than actual inspiration, focusing on my little tasks rather than the epic vision, hiding (rather than dealing with) my deficiencies…
And I ask some hard questions of my colleagues in InterVarsity:
Are we closing the door of God’s kingdom in people’s faces, like Jesus said the Pharisees did?
Are we pushing “InterVarsity culture” or “Jesus culture”?
How do we “strain a gnat and swallow a camel”?
Are we dealing with our own selfishness and wickedness?
How do we receive our critics (prophets, wise people, teachers)?
Take a listen and let me know what you think.
This has been so restful and fun that I bet I will be much more effective for the next week, accomplishing the equivalent of four hours more of work without any additional time. And I’d gladly work an extra hour the other four days of the week. I bet a lot of other people are thinking the same thing.
So, Boss–can I have Wednesday off? Forever?