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Friday, November 14, 2003

Why does it seem like there is so much competition going on in Christian churches? I was talking to a friend a week or so ago, and she is trying to get a jv/v Awana program going, because there is a lot of demand - and the church is telling her no because it would be competition for the youth group. Huh? A lot of the Awana kids are not churched - the parents drop them off for Awana, and that is it. The youth group is mostly kids of church members. I guess there might be a few kids that might start coming to Awana instead of the youth group - so what?!? That is bad why?
Another example - our friend Robert started a missions group called Arms of Love - he has poured his sweat, blood, and tears into this thing. Because of his commitment to this, dozens of children who had been on the streets and would have no future, now are in homes, in families. Arms of Love homes consist of house parents who care for 8 kids in a home, and it runs like any other home, not like an orphanage.
The success rate is phenomenal - hardly any runaways, which is very hard to achieve with street children. There are now homes in the Philippines, Mexico, and Nicaragua, and there is a project starting in Senegal. All administrative costs are volunteer work, provided by different Vineyards, and virtually every penny donated goes to the projects (another rarity in charity work). To raise a constant level of support, Arms of Love has been trying to raise monthly support through child sponsorships - because all of a child's living expenses are covered, sponsorships run $ 125 - to 150 a month, and several people usually "share" one child.

To get the word out, Arms of Love wanted to have a stand at Christian music festivals (stuff like "Spirit Westcoast"...) just to find out that they couldn't. You see, one of the big Christian child sponsorship organizations pays the festival for exclusive rights to child sponsorships. So any other organization doing any sort of sponsorships may not attend. Now, Arms of Love only needed about 10 more sponsors, but no dice. You are out of luck. Different festival - same story. Exclusive rights. Don't want competition. What is the deal with that? Should Christian missions and ministries look at each other as competitors for the almighty dollar instead of fellow workers for the Kingdom? Man, that ticked me off - Christian monopolies?? Can you see Peter say to John "Sorry dude, but I am the only one who gets to heal people here. Take a hike."??

When Robert started, he kept writing other missions organizations (all the homes work together with local churchplants) for help, wanting to learn what procedures they used etc, and they either wouldn't answer, or turn him down flat. He puts all his handbooks etc out there now - and there is often incredulous response from people - "You mean we can use your stuff? For free?"
I have seen it so often - different groups within the church looking at each other as competition. Churches and ministries
working against each other instead of with each other. Instead of wanting to birth new churches, they're afraid of losing tithers. Instead of empowering each other, supporting each other, rejoicing with each other when something really good is happening, "the more the merrier", there is distrust, competition, trying to out-maneuver one other. Instead of working together, everyone
jealously guarding their little piece of the pie. How God must weep.

posted by Birgit
0 comments at 7:48 PM

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