Recently, I was speaking to a group of students in the Midwest during a Zoom call training module. One of the goals of the school is to train students how to take the message of God’s Kingdom into the marketplace. I felt the Lord asking me to share about how we can speak the truth in love in those settings and gain traction for the message of God’s Kingdom.
The questions raised by the students were the kind of questions we need to ask if our message is to have substance and an impact. One question was raised by a person who is part of a group that helps provide oversight for an institution that relied on government funding to function. The person asking the question commented that without government funding, it would be difficult to survive.
Before answering the question, I wanted to set the tone for my response. I said flippant, kneejerk answers that dismiss the reality of what would happen if such a group lost funding would not help. It’s too easy to speak as though we have all the answers and offer people solutions that require nothing from us except a statement. We need to take an honest look inside to see what these groups face.
I followed my introduction by defining a future reality. At some point, faith-based organizations will have to face a harsh and uncomfortable reality. Religious tax status for churches, accreditation for Christian colleges and universities, and the benefits offered to non-profit groups may be in jeopardy of loss if compliance with certain agendas is refused. Ignoring and not preparing for that possibility is not good stewardship for those currently in positions of leadership.
As the moral climate of our nation shifts toward models of interpretation that violate the truth of Scripture and the heart of God, and as things like ESG determine how and if investments will be made and how a society is governed, a day of financial reckoning and the end of a unique tax status will surely come.
As part of my answer to the question, I said those who currently sit on boards or advisory councils for churches, Christian educational institutions, or any group that functions under the corporate dictates of the government would be wise to review history. In that review, they could discover how groups in the past navigated similar offers of compromise of their morals when they faced a similar dilemma that included the painful loss of government privilege.
Finally, I said in history, many institutions that began in faith have ended up in compromise. At some point in their history, they handed their continued existence over to those demanding their compliance to issues never considered as a possibility when they first began. I told the students if the investors of the endowments and perpetuating funds from the past were present today and were ready to sign a funding check, they would hesitate if the morals that prompted their giving were being violated.
Pray for those who work behind the scenes in these groups. They will face some hard choices. They will need the wisdom of God and a courageous faith to make the right choices when facing issues that will radically change how they accomplish their Kingdom assignment. If their choices lean toward God’s truth, the Lord will be faithful to reveal the next step, even if the next step is nowhere on the table of options.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Garris Elkins
Featured Image by Darren Halstead on Unsplash
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