Para-church ministry: Challenge 2, contentment
Probably the biggest challenge with this type of ministry is fund raising. Sadly Christians (including myself) are very attached to their money (despite, well at least the last time I checked, believing all we have comes from God). My husband has had to do A LOT of it recently and it is hard work. Draining, humbling, awkward - people who do this type of work don't have super powers that make them find it easy to ask for money (they find it hard just like anyone would). It can be depressing at times that finding the financial support takes hours of time away from the actual work on the uni campus.
Mind you, at the same time it is so encouraging when people do give, because they are essentially signing on to be partners in the work. And it makes you feel like a whole lot of amazing people are caring about what you do because they've invested in the ministry financially. There are two very distinct sides to the fundraising coin.
For me personally, I've been on a journey of struggling for contentment recently. It is hard when the people you are asking for money from are sometimes your peers. They went to uni and got the same qualification as you, yet their lives have taken a very different direction. Twenty years down the track, they are financially in a much more secure place than we are. I think when we were all in our mid-20's and we started to make these decisions about the direction of our life, the contrast just wasn't so blatantly obvious.
I've been asking myself these questions over the past few weeks. Would I change our decisions so far? No. It's been a brilliant ride. Do I want to change the direction our life is headed into in the future? No way. Have I seen that God has really looked after us? Yes. Do I think he'll care for me until the day I die? Of course.
So why I do get worried about all this? I do sometimes wonder if others look at us and think that because you chose a life of slight wackiness back when you were 25 that you've somehow developed abilities that make you immune to discontent and envy and covetousness. Sadly, no. I'm just a weak human who plays the terrible comparison game like everyone else.
I just have to keep recalibrating, keep asking myself those questions and being thankful for all the abundant riches that I do have.