Money Doesn’t Keep Things Honest – It Keeps Things Real

by Jim Henderson on October 25, 2015

As a producer, I’m both a symbol maker and a storyteller.

I use language the way a musician uses musical notes. For me, the value of words resides less in the information they convey than the impression they make.

One of my current productions is a church.

In the vernacular, what I’m doing is called church planting – which is why I chose to use that term in our recent crowd funding effort. I was asking people to donate to the Once A Month Church Planting fund. The goal was $650. We raised $685.

For people who are in the business of planting churches this amount is laughable. They would see it and say – Right! – You’re going to launch a church with $650? They’re accustomed to numbers closer to $65,000.

We raised our little church-planting fund in just over 24 hours.

It’s easy to look at it now and say well… anyone could raise $650 in 24 hours.

Really? Have you ever put yourself out on Kickstarter or Go Fund Me and asked people to give to your project? I’ll bet for most of you the answer is no!

I had no ability to project if anyone would give or if it would take 10 days (our stated target) to raise the money. I didn’t discuss it with anyone – I just did it because Producers “try stuff.”

Why did I use money this way?

  1. For marketing purposes – people read articles that include sex or money
  2. To test if anyone else would put “skin in the game”
  3. To open up the conversation about money

Here’s why I enjoy talking about money. It is one of the fastest ways to determine who’s with you and who isn’t. Thus the title of this article Money doesn’t keep things honest – it keeps things real.

However it’s not fool proof since some of your most loyal supporters may have very little money and could appear to not care while others who seek your loyalty attempt to buy it. But nothing is foolproof, so why avoid money for only that reason?

I think money is very spiritual. It helps bring clarity. It helps us know who to pay attention to and who to ignore. It helps givers decide what they really believe in. Money makes us choose. But money is very subjective as well. We don’t give money solely because we believe in an idea (like Once A Month Church). I actually think we first give to “a person” before we give to “a project.” Our $25 donation is often more a vote of confidence in the person, in their character than in whatever they might be asking us to support.

For example in our campaign we received donations from Atheists, Non Christians, very conservative Christians, single moms and Ex-Atheists now believers. Frankly who responded was far more interesting and spiritually formational to me than the amount of money they gave.

I was particularly touched by a $5 gift from my friend in Australia, Benjamin Ady who after being raised fundamentalist Christian chose Atheism as his preferred reality framework. His generous advocacy, vote of confidence and daring to publicly attach his name to anything to do with a church shot the value of his $5 into my relational stratosphere.

At the other end of the spectrum is Rob Smith, my co belligerent in all things having to do with removing Mark Driscoll (remember him?) from influence in Seattle. Rob is about as politically and theologically conservative as anyone I know. Google his name along with Rick Santorum or Ben Carson and click on images and you’ll see who he would like to be President of the US. He is an avowed fan of capitalism (as am I, with reservations) and thinks my support of Bernie Sanders qualifies me for the loony bin. However, Rob is one of the most courageous and consistent men I know (Google his name about his work in Africa.) His support of our Church Plant fund was an act of public courage and I’m sure was more a “way to go Jim” than an expression of what we happen to believe or not believe.

nullMoney made all of this possible. While OAMC will not be spending money on leaders, nor handing out tax receipts we will be giving the extra money over and above our monthly operating costs ($500?) to people who need help.

We will use that money to express support, votes of confidence and actual help to people who don’t know we’re on their side right now.

PS: If you’d like to receive more updates like this directly to your email inbox – sign up for our email newsletter in the right column.

Previous post:

Next post:

Disclosure of Material Connection: If links are included in the posts above, some may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I do recommend books and other resources from time to time. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”