December 17, 2012
If these Monday missives benefit you, read on. If they do not, hit “unsubscribe” now.
Next Monday is Christmas Eve; my Point of View next week will be a Christmas message. Today, it’s a family conversation. Imagine we’re in the kitchen, getting ready for Christmas and year-end. We have a more-than-just-friends relationship; I can share my heart with you without a risk of alienation.
“Year End” means something different for everyone in their workaday space. In my category – the ministry/non-profit world – we depend on donations to fund our services. Year end is a busy time.
Point of View is my weekly gift to Christian leaders who subscribe to this free service. The core of my distribution list is men and women who have participated in The Master’s Program. I mention – or make reference to – this unique leadership mentoring ministry frequently. It is our ongoing work that helps Christian leaders explore, expose and exploit their Kingdom Calling. We advocate and advertise that unique opportunity in and through the Point of View.
Though they are our insiders, we send this commentary to subscribers – like you – who have registered to receive it as an ongoing source of spiritual challenge and encouragement. Business professionals, pastors and ministry leaders – literally, from around the world – receive this column every week. We get fascinating feedback from our readers who use it as a distributable discussion with their own constituencies. In a world that is accelerating away from biblical foundations, it is designed to express an opinion based on a biblical worldview.
Like all non-profit ministries, we operate with a financial model that is based on faith. In simplest terms, our expenses continue for 12 months with a frugal consistency: we staff and spend to provide our ministry services, and depend on contributions made by people who benefit from – and, appreciate – our work. Most of those contributions come between now and year-end.
The current participants in The Master’s Program make pledges to support our organization during their three-year enrollment period. About 60% of our ongoing expenses are covered by their pledges; the remaining 40% is provided by the charitable investments made by others. Much of that comes from graduates of The Master’s Program, but others who know about us and our work are generous in their giving as well.
Every year, most contributions come in the last two weeks of December. Our expenses are consistent month-to-month; for 11 months, we cover the shortfall from our savings. Year-end giving restores our savings so that we can start the new calendar year and do it again.
So, we incur deficits for 350 days, trusting that God will close the shortfall – through our friends and graduates – during the last 15 days of the year. That requires faith… and we have it, in God and in our marketplace friends, believing that it will happen again as it always has.
You’ll pass red kettles as you head into malls during the next week; they’ll pass plates and bags as you head into church during the next week. Every day, your mail stack will be made up of Christmas cards and year-end charitable appeals. Ministries who have your email address will make sincere requests to assist their work, all of whom deserve your consideration.
May I ask you to include us in your year-end giving decisions? I am honored to stimulate your thinking in these weekly conversations; my opportunity to engage influential leaders (like you!) is a privilege. If I compare this to us meeting every Monday for coffee, you would probably try to pick up the tab: I drink Starbucks brewed – the cheap stuff – and it would be $2 a week. Would a tax-deductible gift of $100 as a year-end encouragement be a way to say “thanks?” If you’d like to help, donate now on our secure site.
I’m shameless in the ask… but I believe that communicating the need with leaders like you is worth the risk. May your preparations for Christmas allow you time to revisit the wonder of the Incarnation!