Christian nonprofits need your support at Christmas

This has been a tough year for nonprofit organizations.

When hurricanes hit South Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and other places, Americans responded with donations of money, goods and personal service. It was the right thing to do and it’s what Americans have always done.

We are the most generous people on the planet.

But here’s the problem. If you talk to most people who run nonprofit groups, they will tell you that the bulk of their donations – maybe as much as half the annual total – comes in the final quarter of the calendar year in October, November and December.

The generosity concerning the natural disasters preceded the normal giving cycle. And for some folks, giving to those special causes means less money for the regular charities.

This happens in churches sometimes. The church decides to build a new facility or add on and they launch a building fund campaign. They ask for pledges and many people respond with generous pledges. And they follow through with those pledges because they want to see something built.

But the problem that people will subtract from their regular giving to give to the building fund. In other words, they might give $100 a week in a tithe to the church but they start giving $50 to the general fund and $50 to the building fund. That starves the general fund.

A bigger problem is that many churchgoers don’t give at all. But diverting you donations to designated funds can cause shortfalls in money needed for salaries, benefits, utilities, etc.

Years ago, when I worked as a department manager for a large company, I felt pressure to donate part of my salary to the United Way. And I felt pressure to pressure the employees I supervised to give to United Way. My boss never said anything specifically about signing up for United Way but the message came though loud and clear.

Since I quit that company, I no longer donate to United Way. Even though there are some good agencies supported by United Way, I would prefer to give to them individually rather than support all the agencies – some of whom I don’t care for (including the YWCA which supports illegal immigration).

I believe all my resources belong to God and I am just His steward. My family is very careful about our charitable giving. We are pretty systematic.

Obviously, we prefer giving to our church (First Baptist of Broken Arrow) and Christian organizations like John 3:16 Mission and Mend Pregnancy Resource Center.

Our church not only delivers the Gospel of Jesus Christ but provides of host of services to feed, clothe and house the needy in Broken Arrow and Tulsa. They help single moms fix their cars and they have special gifts for needy schoolchildren and food baskets for the poor at Thanksgiving. The congregation is exceptionally generous and the administrative costs of their charitable work is miniscule.

The miracle of John 3:16 Mission is that they have had a remarkable impact on the lives of homeless men and poor families for decades while preserving their core mission – reaching people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Tulsa is blessed with many Christian charities.

Mend, one of several Christian centers who help women, works hard to strip every reason why a woman would want to destroy her unborn child. Mend offers free medical care, food, clothing, diapers and more. And this continues after a rescued baby is born. Mend does an incredible amount of work with the help of numerous volunteers and minimal administrative cost.

And Mend saves the lives of innocent unborn children.

I have visited with folks from John 3:16 Mission and Mend Pregnancy Resource Center and they have concerns about a shortfall in resources this year. They have no argument against sending donations to storm victims (remember we had a tornado hit Tulsa this year).

And they will tell you, in all sincerity, even though economic conditions foreshadow disaster, they depend on God’s provision to keep afloat. They really mean it when they say God provides because they have seen this happen over and over again.

I could list a number of Christian charities but I would leave someone out.

Here’s what I know for sure – it is better to give than to receive. I grew up in a poor family and we were helped by a lot of generous folk (especially from Tulsa Bible Church and Memorial Bible Church).

There is such satisfaction in helping others.

God has promised to supply our needs. Most of us have more than enough.

Maybe this Christmas season, it would be wise to scale back on the spending on gifts and add a few more bucks to that donation check.

If you do, you might be surprised at what a blessing you will receive.