Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Candid Post on Ministry Affiliation

So, explain to me why this community is not a non-profit, ministry organization:

We are not a ministry organization. We do not intend to be. We are simply a house for people to live in, in community. While the members of the house will engage in service throughout the neighborhood, they are not ministry employees. House members may come from all walks of life and may be employed outside the home in any way they see fit.

I admit that much good is accomplished by ministry organizations. In fact, I am employed by a ministry organization and will continue to work in this capacity as long as possible. But it is necessary to keep a strong division between any organizations with which I work and this house project.

I will openly give warning of the danger inherent in working through the vehicle of a non-profit organization. To engage in ministry in the city is to engage in politics. The quest for funding leads to fierce competition between ministry organizations. Visions are sometimes compromised or clouded as the organization does what it needs to do to survive. Insecure leadership and diverse partnerships cause a “survival of the fittest” mentality in which some people feel the need to tear others down in order to survive. There are ministerial turf wars, and rarely do we play together as well as we should. This is an unpleasant truth, and it often makes me unpopular to comment so candidly. I will negotiate this minefield as I need to, for I do not think it necessary to abandon this track altogether.

The community, however, is no place for such battles. We will seek to avoid such tensions in any way possible. We will seek to partner with many of our neighbors, and we intend to seek their best interest at all times. But, whether it be the patronage of a foundation or some sort of outside ownership, no outside influence should set the agenda for our community.

This freedom is important to us. Accountability structures will be put in place, but we must avoid the dangers of corporate sponsorship.

No comments: