Most good things aren’t complicated. Good food doesn’t need more than ten ingredients; it can have more, but it doesn’t need them. Good music doesn’t need more than a handful of instruments; it can have more, but it doesn’t need them. Good writing doesn’t need a lot of words; it can have them, but it doesn’t need them.
There is a deeper human desire to know and believe that the world is a place formed and guided by charity, that giving to one’s neighbor is not just a Kantian ‘duty’ but a declaration about the metaphysical structure of the world itself. Charity, in short, is not just a good deed but a declaration of belief about the world and the God who created it.
Gary A. Anderson, Charity: The Place of the Poor in the Biblical Tradition (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013), 4
The reason you need to understand your own impact, your donors’ capacities, and your donor’s engagement with your organization is so that you can work with donors to create these long-term partnerships. You want to match the right donor to the right impact; and the right donor is the donor with the capacity to meet that impact and the level of engagement to say ‘yes’ when you ask.
Impact, capacity, and engagement are all about really knowing yourself and your donors. And it’s about knowing yourself and your donors for one very simple reason: so that you can change the world.
Just as the emperor makes demands on the people of Israel, we face a thousand forces that make demands for our money and our time and our work and lives and our souls. We have work and school. We have families and friends. We have bills and loan payments. We have responsibilities on top of responsibilities. We even have taxes.
Some of these things free us to participate fully in God’s love. Some of these things put us under their thumb.
This is something that we know well at Back Bay Mission.
On Saturday, October 25, I’ll be the keynote presenter at the fall meeting of the Western Association of the Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ at Church of Peace in Rock Island, Illinois. I will also be presenting a workshop on the work of Back Bay Mission. The theme of the day is ‘United For Ministry’.
Update: Unfortunately, this event has been cancelled.
What if we don’t need to wait? What if we don’t need to wait for someone to show up and tell us, “Come, all things are ready”? What if we don’t need to wait to be found in the charred streets of a burnt city? What if we don’t need to wait?
What if we can have a sense of holy impatience?
What if we can prepare the rich food and well-aged wines? What if we can wipe away tears and take away disgrace? What if we can light the candles and strike up the musicians and start the dancing and blow up the balloons and throw things to the jugglers and take on the tongues of flame and inflate the bouncy castle and share a deep gladness and an everlasting joy?
In 2014, Back Bay Mission welcomed the first two Shari Prestemon Social Justice interns. Over the summer, they did a several journal entries that were posted on the Mission’s website. I also conducted interviews with them after the internship finished. The stories that they told formed the basis for this appeal.