It was in the news this morning that Jasper the dog was rescued from Scafell Pike after he had gone missing a few days ago. I’m delighted that he’s back safely and I’m very happy he’s been reunited with his owner!
What stood out to me about this story was the £25,000 raised by 6000 people through social media since Sunday this week. This is an enormous amount of money raised in an incredibly short amount of time and – without wanting to make light of the situation, or the fantastic work to bring Jasper home – for a reasonably innocuous cause.
Humans have a much more generous nature than we give them credit for.
There are many things we can take away from this. We can possibly conclude that humans have a much more generous nature than we give them credit for. We could perhaps conclude that when people are presented with a clear need, then they are much more willing and likely to give. We could also conclude that it easier to make a decision to give to something that doesn’t talk back and doesn’t present complicated choices.
A huge part of my job is fundraising. It’s hard, it’s often embarrassing and it’s absolutely necessary. I work with hundreds of young people with an enormous spectrum of issues, difficulties and widespread lack of hope. The unfortunate truth is this that this costs money and sometimes lots of money. In order to be effective in the projects that I manage I need individuals, groups, churches, causes and businesses to support what we do financially.
In the youth work church world we are always competing for funds. It takes an inordinate amount of time, and it sometimes really is like trying to get blood out of a stone. It always shocks me to learn how much money churches give to overseas mission in comparison to local mission. It bugs me that individuals would rather give towards one specific event than regular ongoing relational work. And it does my nut in that so many people only consider giving when a project is about to close.
There are young people on our doorsteps who are desperate for the compassion ministry that only Christ driven projects could bring them.
Youth Ministry Architects say we should spend around $1000 (£630) per young person per year to be healthy. What does your youth work budget look like? How does it compare to other expenses? There is research to suggest that the average amount of church income spent on youth work is about 3% – and this doesn’t necessarily mean reaching the unreached.
Giving is an act of worship. There are young people on our doorsteps who are desperate for the compassion ministry that only Christ driven projects could bring them. If we can raise £25,000 to bring a dog home then we can dig deep in our pockets and give to the most important need in the UK: the Jesus driven health of it’s young people.
Church pastors please consider placing a high priority on local youth mission in your next budget meeting. Please don’t let us compete with Jasper the dog.
I’ll end with a story. Last year I went to speak at a women’s coffee morning. There were about twenty of them and they were absolutely lovely! I gave my usual short presentation on the work we’ve been doing in North Wales and I asked them, as I always do to consider volunteering, praying and giving to support us.
At the end they bought me a cup of tea. While drinking this cup of tea someone had walked around the sandwich bag. Moved with compassion for the young people in North Wales, these twenty lovely, elderly women dug deep into their pockets and filled the sandwich bag with all the change that they were carrying. It came to about £80. This still feels like the biggest donation we’ve ever had. This was the widows offering.
Let’s make giving to young people’s mission a priority and let’s make it so youth leaders don’t have to spend their time pleading for it. Support youth mission!