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August 2021
By: Stuart Carver

We are going to explore three examples of how life-affirming ministries may be able to accomplish more, even with less. Why? Because:

  • There is a tendency to believe more money is what we need.
  • We intuitively think more ministry requires doing more things.
  • Sometimes, less is what God uses to do more.

Do we need more money?

There is a tendency to believe more money is what we need (Luke 9:1-6).

Having been a leader in ministry for more than three decades, I am intimately familiar with the tendency to believe more money is what you need. Behind most gala and fundraising events is the idea that more money is needed to produce more ministry. It is often said, “We need more money.” What I do not hear as often is, “We need more people.”  

In 2021, I facilitated the general sessions for Life Matters Worldwide Summit presenting a workshop entitled “Connections.” This workshop series is about connecting the Body of Christ to life-affirming ministry the way God wants them to be connected.  

During one of the general session discussions, someone shared their concerns about decreasing financial support from churches. In response I asked, “Why do we most often ask churches for what we need least while seldom asking churches for what we need most from them?” Even though people are what life affirming ministries need most, money is what is asked for most. 

God’s top priority is engaging people of the Body in life-affirming ministry, not just their money (I Samuel 15:22).

Life-affirming ministries can accomplish more by making people-raising their top engagement priority.

Do we need to do more things?

We intuitively think accomplishing more requires doing more things (Luke 10:41-42).

Mission drift is a common threat to organizations. Especially organizations with complex missions. Life-affirming ministry is a good example of a complex mission. Life is at stake. Issues are conflicted. Needs are diverse. Challenges are enormous.

Missional focus doesn’t usually get lost in life affirming ministry. Instead, it gets crowded. With so many issues and needs, there can be a lot of competition for the top priority and the primary focus. For most life-affirming ministries, mission drift can be a constant threat. 

One of the most difficult of all human and organizational challenges is choosing what is best over what is good or better. Ironically, doing more seldom requires more. Often, the best way to do more is to do better, not more. Better to do a few things well than doing many things poorly.

Life-affirming ministries can accomplish more by doing fewer things better.

Can we thrive with less?

Sometimes, less is what God uses to do more (Matthew 14:13-21).

Imagine this. While still several blocks away from your pregnancy center, you see a long line of people. You wonder, “Where are all of these people going?”  Approaching your parking spot, you discover the line leads to the front door of your pregnancy center. At first, you’re delighted. But, then, you feel overwhelmed because you don’t believe you have the resources to serve so many.

As a ministry consultant, a hindrance I routinely address is the “scarcity mentality.” The scarcity mentality is a frame of mind that suggests resources are insufficient to do what God wants done. Let’s unwrap the scarcity mentality and see what’s really inside. 

On the surface, the scarcity mentality can appear to be legitimate. Needs that life-affirming ministries strive to meet can often appear to be far greater than the available means. A look beneath the surface of the scarcity mentality however, reveals again, the need for a greater connection with the Body of Christ.

There is no scarcity with God. A wealth of vast resources are available through the Body of Christ. When the Body of Christ and life-affirming ministry are connected the way God wants them to be connected, abundant resources will flow freely. Most of these resources will flow through people.  

Let us do our part in connecting the Body of Christ and life-affirming ministry the way God wants them to be connected. That will involve much more than seeking only financial support.

Jesus was told by his disciples there wasn’t enough money to feed five thousand. Jesus did without money what his disciples thought was impossible.

Life-affirming ministries can accomplish more by connecting the Body of Christ.

©2020 Stuart Carver. Stuart serves the Family God’s Way movement where people connect with people in relational discipleship. Stuart’s role in the movement includes: finding opportunities to connect people in relational discipleship, creating innovative relational discipleship resources, and connecting the Body of Christ to life affirming ministry.

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