[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_text]Here is the transcript of the talk I gave for Leadership Network’s event The Nines in 2014. Speaking to churches and ministries:
Hey everyone! This is Sandi Savage I am the founder of BeLoved ministries an organization I founded in 2007 dedicated to caring for the sex industry.. You can connect with me at sandisavage.com. I really want to thank Leadership Network for asking me to speak this year. It’s an honor and I am so thankful for the work you all do in creating environments where leaders can connect.
With BeLoved We have the gift of operating in multiple cities and states and it has given us a great opportunity to connect and partner with multiple churches. With that – I have gotten an upfront seat to how different churches address Social Justice issues within their church and community.
I’d love for you to imagine just for a second if the worldwide church truly became the hands and feet of Jesus with all the resources available to us. I believe it is possible and believe it is our responsibility and calling to take ownership of restoring joy to the world around us. I believe the church can become unified with itself and with non-profits around the world who are caring for the marginalized in our society today.
When I look at this, I see it from two things we can do. And both lead to generosity. Generosity of our volunteers and generosity of our finances.
With addressing social justice issues and staying on track with our primary gospel mission – I don’t believe the two are separable. If we are loving, helping people understand the gospel, addressing injustice, and caring for people – we ARE living out the calling of the church. The churches I have seen that are most effective are ones who partner with preexisting non-profits, with volunteers and finances instead of trying to build entire teams around the concept of outreach.
Typically, when I have seen churches who don’t partner well with others, it leads back to scarcity of volunteer power, as if God won’t provide the necessary volunteers for the church. We need to become outward focus NOT Inward – sending people out, not keeping them working inside. Thinking – How do we get our people out of these walls – instead of – how do we get people to be better volunteers for us inside of these walls.
And along with being generous with our volunteers, we have to be generous with our finances.
If we lead out in sacrificial giving, we make a way for those who follow to be sacrificial also. Flexing their sacrificial muscle. And what I mean by that is – the church as a whole sacrificially giving back to the community and city they are in. Imagine if 10% of the annual giving that comes into your church went back into the community through giving to non-profits, smaller churches in need, families you know that need help – what an impact that can make! Imagine if all the churches in your city did the same. You would not need marketing directors or snappy slogans, people will hear about the generosity of the church, come check it out and then hear about the generosity of Jesus.
I believe that if churches lead the way in generosity, our congregations will follow in generosity.
In talking to pastors or boards, the most common thing I hear is about this is – what if we can’t cover our budget, our staff salaries, we need it for church improvements. But you can trust GOD with it. It’s exactly what we tell families when encouraging them to tithe! What do we hear the most? How willI afford my bills? I need to make home improvements, etc. If they see the larger church trusting God with those things then they can begin to believe they can trust Him too. God will provide. Trust Him, give Him your first and best.
The first time I encountered scarcity of giving was when we launched as a non-profit. I received a call around Christmas time after we sent out our newsletter that included a part about how you could give to support the work we were doing. I received a phone call from an upper level of staff at a local church asking us as a non-profit to not ask for donations for our non-profit because the church was behind on their year end giving and didn’t want to compete with a non-profit. They had bought into the lie that God couldn’t provide for all of our needs. And at that moment first saw the larger issue of scarcity of the church with their finances and how it can create division when we are meant to be unified.
Encouraging people to give of their time and resources without the scarcity of them not tithing enough to your church will unleash freedom in your community.
So keeping the Gospel clear in a social justice oriented society I believe can involve these two things, generosity of our people and finances. Lets free up the people in our churches to be more giving and loving and free up your staff to focus on creating a community that effectively communicates the gospel not just through weekend services but through being the church outside the church walls.
We can create a massive force of generous, giving people that can turn the tide against injustice in the world.