Tenet # 5 People are the focus of our ministry, not programs.
Remember the old saying, “Put your money where your tenet is?” Or the other one, “Where your heart is you will spend your money too?”
The proof of our motives is always in the money. What are we spending on? What do we invest our time and resources into?
People or programs?
Tenet #5 has a musty ’70’s smell about it. I was there. It was written in a time when denominations, birthed in revival a couple of decades earlier, had become financially flush, their leanness and faith turned to fatness and comfort, and social programs became the new evangelism. This part of history repeats itself.
Tenet #5 is not against programs, but against programs taking our focus away from people.
Now days tenet #5 would be stated: “People are the focus of our ministry, not projects.” Just as programs took over in the ‘70’s, projects are the new focus of much fund raising and spending today. The purpose of projects, like programs is to help people, but do they? In Asia, we have not had good success with projects. Our best and lasting results have come from investing in our own home grown leaders – that’s why we focus on people.
But people are difficult.
We must invest in people we trust, and to trust them we must build close working relationships, tried and tested long before money ever enters the relationship. This costs us life and gives us little temporal return.
And projects are easy.
1. Projects make leaders look good.
2. Projects do what they are told.
3. Projects are simple one-off save the world and sleep better solutions to the Great Commission.
Acclaim, control and convenience, that’s what we get. God dealt with these three issues of the human heart in Genesis chapter 11. The people were of one vision in a project that would make a name for themselves, and provide security and convenience. God confused their understanding because they could have succeeded to the satisfying of their flesh through this great project.
Meanwhile, people need Jesus. Let Tenet #5 be our commitment to make every program and project focus on making disciples of real people. That means axing or fixing the projects that aren’t and supporting people who are making disciples.
Tenet #5 makes us responsible to know what’s going on at the other end of a project before we send money to it.
Interestingly, when God sees pure motives, He will restore what He took away at Babel. “For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, That they all may call on the name of the LORD, To serve Him with one accord. Zephaniah 3:9
So Tenet #5 Let’s discern our motives by the fruit of our investment, and determine to make disciples.
Here’s the live version: http://vimeo.com/84122579