Delighted that at last nights church council, there was a unanimous vote to give away £400 in £5 notes to our cafe service congregation on Sunday morning. The attached string is that folk need to multiply the cash in the following month raise enough money to build a school, and bring it back to the October cafe service.
a) because the kids in the slums of Nairobi need a school
b) because it's a good and creative way to raise money
c) because we're in danger of creating a producer/consumer mentality in our worship, with the committed faithful laying on things like cafe church, messy church etc., and the regulars (many of whom don't come to anything else) coming along and enjoying it. However because they're not part of the church in any other way, it's quite hard for them to get involved in leadership and the nuts and bolts activities of the church. So we're doing this because it gives the cafe service input an 'afterlife' in the life of the congregation.
d) Jesus was constantly doing practical stuff with his disciples, but our default setting is just to keep on talking, week in, week out. Perhaps less talk, and more time and space to put the principles into action, is a better model for discipleship.
e) If we just give the money away to church folks, there's a risk they'll just ask other church folks to buy cakes/sponsor them/have their cars cleaned/guess the national lottery result. The cafe congregation is 50% people whose main networks of friendship are elsewhere. That hopefully means more money!
f) because it's a concrete and achievable goal, which should motivate people more than their money just going into a large pot for a general cause.
This week I heard of one local church which gave away £1200 and raised £20,000 with it. Gives us something to aim at!