Making Disciple-Makers: Nonprofits & Service Organizations

This domain may include activities of many kinds: gathering boys and girls to participate in organized athletics; distributing food and clothing to those in need; taking care of families in the midst of health emergencies; translating the Scriptures into a native tongue; giving blood; facilitating mentoring opportunities for those with limited adult leadership in their lives; raising money for people with physical challenges; providing resources for the arts; protecting wildlife; responding to those affected by natural disasters; connecting needy children wit sponsors; developing societal leaders with character, wisdom and perspective; picking up roadside trash; educating single moms to raise their children; providing places for families to stay during a loved one’s cancer treatment; rescuing children and youth from the snares of human trafficking; digging wells so entire villages have clean water to drink.  The list goes on and on.

Where there is a need for such things as justice, hope, and mercy, you’ll find nonprofits and service organizations ready to ump in to help.  According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) there are over 1.57 million nonprofits, accounting for 9% of all wages and salaries paid and $1.4 trillion in total annual expenses.  In 2010, individuals gave over $211 billion and foundations contributed $45 billion toward their causes.  From September of 2009 to September 2010, approximately 26% of Americans over the age of 16 volunteered for a nonprofit organization over a one-year span.  Obviously, the nonprofit sector plays an influential and dynamic role in our communities!

One of the things you’ll notice about people who lead nonprofits and service organizations, and the many who volunteer with them, is their passion and commitment.  They are cause-led and mission-dedicated.  A need surfaces, an opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives emerges, a way to change the culture around them in a positive way arises—and not far behind is a man or woman with vision of a better future.  They engage this newfound opportunity with great passion and tireless commitment, rallying others, raising funds, and running volunteers through training so they can multiply their impact.

Some of the greatest challenges for these groups when it comes to fulfilling their missions are:

  • Volunteers—there is always a need for more committed volunteers who are willing to be trained and serve the mission.
  • Organizational Assistance—because the needs arne tasks of nonprofits and service organizations are ongoing, there is a demand for those with skills in organization, communication, technology and support to lend a hand by giving freely of their time and expertise.
  • Funding—often, the greatest of the three challenges is to match monies with the mission.  Meeting this need is where individual donors, tithing companies, and foundations come in, as they look for relationships, a like-heartedness of purpose and biblical accountability that both satisfies their needs as giver and frees the organization to pursue its ends.

Leaders within nonprofits and service organizations need to also be making disciples—reproducing the character, ways, and mission of Jesus in those God brings around them so that He is honored in how they live and lead.

Reflection Points: the Character of God and Nonprofits and Service Organizations

  • He is merciful (Psalm 69:16; 103:2-5, 8; Ephesians 2:4-7)
  • He is just (Deuteronomy 10:17-18; Psalm 103:6)
  • He gives hope (Psalm 62:5; 42:5)
  • He is present for the poor and needy (Psalm 12:5; 34:6; Luke 4:18)
  • He defends the widow and fathers the orphan (Psalm 68:5; 146:9)
  • He is companion to the hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick, and the prisoner (Matthew 25:31-46)
  • God is the giver/donor (Luke 12:32; Acts 17:25; Romans 12:6-8)
  • He is a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1-3)
  • He is a stronghold and refuge in the day of trouble (Nahum 1:7)