If Christians Are Generous People, Is There a Place for Crowdfunding in Church?
Some faith-based organizations have been disappointed with online crowdfunding companies and wonder what can be done differently. | by Sissy Smith
Some people could look at Jesus as the original creator of crowdfunding. Take the stories of Jesus feeding the five thousand (Matthew 14:13-21), the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37), and later, the charge Paul gave to Timothy about taking care of the widows (1 Timothy 5:3-10). These are all great examples of gathering resources to help others and accomplish miracles. Was that crowdfunding?
In churches, most people are taught from an early age to give generously. Who remembers giving to Sunshine Funds or taking a collection for someone in need in a Sunday School class or Bible study? But shouldn’t all of this occur under the leadership of the local church?
I experienced extreme generosity in the ‘80s as a young single mom and new Christian. My new friends in my Sunday school class took up a collection to help me when I had an unexpected expense arise. That gift helped to meet the need of the financial burden, but even more importantly, it taught me to celebrate gratitude and inspired me in my own generous journey to give back to others in need.
Churches and individual Christians are some of the most generous people on earth. So, is there ever a place or time when churches should get involved with crowdfunding?
We have often seen needs in our churches that rose beyond any one church’s ability to meet them. In the case of devastating hurricanes or floods, the sudden death of a family breadwinner, a baby born needing a heart transplant, a fatal bus accident as it carried our youth home from camp. All of these are examples of needs that are far greater than any Sunday school class or group of friends can meet.
As responsible believers using God’s money, we must do our best to be good stewards of our communities. Most of us conscientiously verify needs and are accountable. Many times, church members, church leadership, or our benevolence ministry is informed of community needs and are in the unique position of being able to authenticate and verify in order to meet the needs.
But when our faith-based community, with its long history of doing good, is faced with a catastrophic event, we sometimes need help beyond our four walls. Today, using new technology, the power to do good is right at our fingertips and easier than ever.
Some faith-based causes we may want to support are mission trips, community do-good events, Right to Life initiatives, defending religious freedom efforts, church planting, and families or individuals in crisis. If you or your church do decide to give to an online fundraiser, we recommend you give to people you know, to needs you can verify, to causes you trust, or to crowdfunding sites that authenticate projects and have community values that match your values.
Recent causes I’ve been a part of are with GodTV, premiering the movie Unplanned on secular campuses in 2020, the Bahamas Disaster Charity Pop-up! for Convoy of Hope, helping with a personal medical bill for two hip replacements, the Preserve Christian Music Project, Convoy of Hope, Mercy Chefs, and Samaritan’s Purse disaster relief.
Some crowdfunding companies won’t support these Christian causes. Others contribute part of their profits to causes that are diametrically opposed to our values. In those cases, we need to choose a different method of crowdfunding.
At Gifted Coin our question is, why should the secular world have all the fun? We think of all the good we can do together as a Church to help a world see that we are a generous people and we’re living the example that God has given us. Our call is to “help others and do good.” As such, we’re involved with some pretty amazing missions ourselves at Gifted Coin.
So our answer to our initial question of whether there’s a place for crowdfunding in church is, yes. Churches can turn to crowdfunding for causes that are out of reach of the local church.
And my encouragement is to be generous not only in online giving but in life.
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