Ed at church

“You can get government funding,” we have been told more than one time.  And, yes, that is probably true.  However, our purpose as a Christian ministry is to evangelize and disciple people who are mentally challenged.  The government does not pay to make disciples for Christ.  Reviewing church history, that is probably a good thing.

Over the years, we have seen ministries begin with the purpose of evangelizing/discipling and providing a serivce for people with disabilities.  Perhaps they are a head start program, early intervention, or a group home.  Maybe it is a sheltered workshop.  Things go well for a time.  Then when financial realities slap the founders in the face, government funding begins to look more and more attractive. 

This is not a criticism but reality.  Doing social work within this community is expensive.  In order to stay in existence, country, state and federal funding must be used.  But government funding comes with strings.  One of those strings is that evangelism and discipleship will suffer.  There are homes which have made a valiant effort to continue with their original purpose but with the additional public funding, there are compromises required.  That is understandable and perhaps even acceptable, if you are providing housing or education or rehabilitation.

With The Special Gathering, our one purpose is the one thing the government cannot support while still maintaining their Constitutional integrity.  In addition, we believe that the church, not the government, is commissioned to do the task of discipleship.  At times, we sweat out funding in a way that we wouldn’t if a government grant were possible.  But in the end we don’t have to hide what we do or our purpose.  We can stand tall beside our members, knowing that the local churches in our community have cared enough to give to the very best.

What are some of the things that you would need to give up should public funding be used by your program?  Are those things worth the extra effort it takes to solicit funds from local churches?