Deciding which cause to support is difficult – I’ve heard this from donors over and over. There are so many causes! In this anecdote, a man asks his pastor whether the church building project is the best use of their charitable gifts. What a great question!
The pastor (Duane Beck) believed that the church building project would help keep the church in the community. We don’t know from this snippet what the church’s community involvement is. A healthy church typically serves as an incubator for all sorts of volunteers and projects. It would be great fun for any church to map out the volunteer activities and service projects connected to it. Where do our members volunteer? Who meets in the church basement? What charities do we support? What about students who grew up in the church who are now serving in other places? Refugee families sponsored by the church who blossomed and found work?
I assume the pastor knew the answers to some of these questions. But wisely, he conceded that the church building project is perhaps not the best cause. Even more wisely, the pastor remarked that “if we don’t get involved in some cause, nothing much happens.” It reminds me of the same story that I have heard in multiple places. A church wants to pave the parking lot but some think the money should be spent on mission work instead. So the church does neither – they don’t pave the parking lot, nor do they give that amount to missions. One donor lamented “we should do both!”
“When a person gets excited about a specific cause, a lot of good things can happen.” Even better, when a community of people get excited about a specific cause, they can grow their generosity muscles. Is a church building project a good cause? Impossible to answer abstractly. But the power of a common cause is quite something. A lot of good things can happen…
The snippet is part of a larger article (about quilting!) from The Mennonite, a publication of Mennonite Church USA.