15 October 2007

Self-Sustaining? - Part 3

I just woke up from 3 days of Eid… so I thought it might be a good time to finish off my limited thoughts on self-sustaining ministries…

I’m stuck in an uncomfortable place… somewhere between idealism and realism...

After presenting the empty half of the glass… I’d still really like the idea of self-sustaining ministries… and some would say that it is essential for the survival of Africa!

In my ideal world I would start a self-sustaining bible training center for pastors all over East Africa…preferably the one I’m at right now… but in the real world of Africa in which I live I don’t know if its possible…

Most families do not approve of theological education or pastoral training of any kind… because your family members are your savings… they would rather see family members be doctors, lawyers, teachers or even accountants… and since family is usually the first mode of sponsorship… there is strike ONE!

Most pastors don’t have an education… so why change… if you can minister without an education why go through the hardship of raising school fees, completing course work and then losing out on ministry positions to guys with no education but with experience… there is strike TWO!

Most ministry leaders are intimidated by others with training… in an African society where the leadership motto is “keeping others down is what keeps me on top” …being trained and using your own mind can be a career killer… unless you start your own ministry… STRIKE THREE!

So now I have to convince students to come to a school that 1) their family disapproves of 2) that will be a tremendous amount of work 3) and that may keep them from ever receiving a substantial position in the ministry they now serve in… so…

Who wants to sign up and pay their school fees?

But self-sustaining is vital for long term survival…

1) Churches, missions committees and finance boards all face constant leadership turnover… who is to say that the leaders who believe in your ministry today will be there in 5 years?
2) No parent looks forward to financially supporting their 28 year old son… likewise who wants to support a ministry, institution or program that has been around for 10-15 years and still can’t afford their monthly rent?
3) Finally… a conspiracy theory… from a new friend that has only been in country 2 months and is doing a self-sustaining ag project… “There are at least 10-12 dirty nukes on US soil that the government can’t track… as soon as the US is attacked all funding will turn inward and those overseas will be hung out to dry… if the US even survives” … he’s only been around 2 months but I have a feeling were going to be good friends… sounds like he might be willing to watch 24 with me?

So as I sit here making 2008 budgets, corresponding with churches and organizations for sponsorship and creating a student sponsorship program… in a country that does not have one successful self-sustaining bible school or pastoral training program… and in a country that philosophical might never agree with the idea of spending their own money for bible training… I wonder… which will happen first…

We become the first successful self-sustaining bible school…

Or

Funding runs dry…

I'm cheering for the first... while slowly sipping a half glass of water...

1 comment:

Teenietinyt said...

Maybe you better not make this your "message topic" I TOTALLY agree with you, but I think that clear communication between Ugandans and Americans will keep the importance highlighted, and grow the value high...for both.