The Revolution (Church/Body of Christ) Will Not Be Funded

Len linked to this article, which sent me off on a whole bunch of other reading along this topic and it has hit pretty close to home. I wrote a post a few months back on some thoughts I was having on paying pastors. This article has convinced me that we really need to think about this a lot more, especially because its not just happening in churches but its happening in all organizations that started off because of a cause.

This article entitled The Revolution will Not Be Funded took a bunch of excerpts from the book with the same title. Paying pastors has some serious side affects that needs to be addressed and dealt with in communities. Here is a few quotes.

When you start paying people to do activism, you can start to attract people to the work who are not primarily motivated by or dedicated to the struggle. In addition, getting paid to do the work can also change those of us who are dedicated. Before we know it, we start to expect to be paid and do less unpaid work than we would have before. This way of organizing benefits the system, of course, because people start seeing organizing as a career rather than as involvement in a social movement that requires sacrifice.

If nonprofit jobs are the only spaces where our communities are engaged in fighting for social justice and creating alternatives to oppressive systems, then we will never be able to engage in radical social change. Would the Zapatistas in Chiapas or the Landless Workers Movement members in Brazil have been able to develop their radical autonomous societies if they had been paid to attend meetings and to occupy land? If these mass movements had been their jobs, it would have been very easy to stop them by merely threatening to pull their paychecks.

Now for this next quote, replace foundations with “tithers” and replace activists as “pastors” and replace members with “God.”

We as activists are no longer accountable to our constituents or members because we don’t depend on them for our existence. Instead, we’ve become primarily accountable to public and private foundations as we try to prove to them that we are still relevant and efficient and thus worthy of continued funding.

Pastors end up becoming nothing more than paid pawns of their congregations. Pastors are the ones who are paid to be Christians for everyone else all the while meeting all the administrative and pastoral and teaching expectations put on them. The pastoral role has become like any other salary driven job and it needs to change. The church has become a slow moving, half-hearted administrative force in the world accomplishing not a whole lot in terms of their mission but some interesting studies, lots of debt for our great buildings and wonderfully programmed events on Sunday mornings.

Today you can get a federal grant to work on diabetes prevention, but rather than get the community to organize around the politics of diabetes, people just sit in an office all day and design pamphlets. Activism is relegated to events. Many people will get involved for an event, but avoid rocking the boat on an ongoing basis because if they do, they might lose their funding. For instance, if the government is funding the pamphlet, then an organization is not going to address the impact of U.S. colonialism on Native diets because they don’t want to lose funding.

The true church will not need funding behind them to accomplish the mission that God has called us to. We will really need to get back to our hearts and not our bank balances to determine if we will actually do something or now. I pray that God gives us the strength to do so.

Activism is tough; it is not for people interested in building a career.

The Church is tough; it is not for people interested in building a career.

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