Thanks but no thanks?
From the President of the United States to the strongman in a dictatorship, leaders of nations tend to live in a bubble. They spend most of their waking life in an airtight compartment with aides or interacting with other officials — rarely getting out to a neighborhood barbecue or searching for the right sized jeans at Wal-Mart.
Ministry marketers also tend to live in a kind of bubble.
We live in the somewhat strange, arcane, invisible world under the surface of the ministries themselves.
Day after day, we’re more or less focused on one thing: getting a response of financial support from donors.
So our sensitivity to other aspects of our donors’ lives — for example, how they’re doing as human beings — tends to diminish.
We don’t often think about what the donor is going through daily — her health, her problems on the job, how she serves in her local church, her family pressures.
We just think about whether she gives, and how much, and how often, and how recently, and how soon she will again.
We get a kind of “hardening of the arteries.”
We forget to be grateful.
The arteries of many ministry leaders get hardened too. They get caught up in the work of the ministry — achieving the goals of spiritual response, if not financial — and without realizing it they glide into a realm of insensitivity to their donors.
“When you drink from the stream,” the Chinese proverb recommends, “remember the spring.”
Christian organizations drink continuously from the stream of their donors’ generosity. Sadly, however, we rarely remember the spring — the sacrifice represented by that $20 or $35 or $100 gift.
The gift we receive so casually may come from a heart full of hurt:
- A mother agonizing over her child’s schooling …
- A grandfather troubled by his declining health …
- Someone whose own church is struggling financially …
- Someone who must decide between putting a check in the mail and giving a birthday gift to a beloved niece.
- Or that gift we receive may simply come from hard work — long hours in a machine shop, or late nights waiting tables.
- Or it may be scraped from the bone of a pension check, the pale reflection of a lifetime of work.
In any case, it’s not money we somehow “deserve” to receive as a donation.
It is simply money that God by His sovereign grace prompted someone to send to us.
We need to remember the spring.
We need to say thanks.
How are you saying “thank you” to your donors?