Imperfect Solutions

I talk to people about Kingdom Causes Bellflower all the time. The reasons for these conversations are rather simple. One, it is part of my job. Two, I believe in this organization.

There are times when these conversations result in excitement, and new opportunities for people to get involved in the work of loving our brothers and sisters. Other times, I get a less-than-enthusiastic response. Sometimes I get pushback because people know that I am a fundraiser, and folks tend to get a little guarded with their wallets. I get that, because I can be guarded with mine.

Other times I have people question the effectiveness of what we do. This skepticism stems from a variety of sources. For one, plenty of individuals have prejudices toward certain social groups, particularly those that struggle economically. Combine that will political baggage, and you have a recipe for leery thinking. There can be a fear even among churches that organizations like KCB are engaging in handouts rather than implementing constructive solutions that promote personal responsibility.

Skepticism is not necessarily a bad thing. There are programs and organizations in this world that are not as effective as they could be, either because they are not designed well or because they are built for purposes other than helping the community grow. Humans like to feel good about what they do. Unfortunately, ministries or outreach opportunities have been accused of actually hurting their intended community, simply because they are (sometimes unintentionally) primarily focused on a goal of helping participants to experience a sense of generosity. Books by Christian authors have been written on this subject, which is part of the reason we are sometimes careful about how we support various projects.

There is value in this type of scrutiny. In Luke 14:28, the Bible says, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?”

Here is the challenge with this type of thinking. Like many Biblical interpretations, the problem is not the scripture. The problem is how we (sinful people) apply it. A calculating and planning mentality is good, but will only get you so far. If we expect all plans to have a measurable and guaranteed outcome, we have no need for faith. The reality of working directly with people is that the results are never guaranteed. In other words, we cannot use a single verse as our guide. We must put it into context with everything else that Jesus taught us. Otherwise, we would never step out and take any risks at all.

The bottom line is that analysis can sometimes lead to paralysis. Sometimes in our quest for the perfect solution, we end up doing nothing.

I would rather try and fail than never try at all. Understand that we don’t pursue reckless strategies. At KCB we work very hard to think things through, understand the consequences of our strategies, and maintain principles of stewardship. We solicit feedback from pastors, community leaders, business owners, and everyday citizens. We think through time constraints, financial implications and measurement tools.

At the end of these discussions we are faced with hard decisions because all those conversations do not remove the possibility of risk or failure. This is when we pray, ask for God’s wisdom, and go forward with boldness.

Think through your decisions today, but remember that God does not call for you to be cautious. The Parable of the Talents illustrates that God wants us to act and trust that He will be walking with us each step of the way. It isn’t about what the first two men earned in the parable, it is about their willingness to take chances.

There is work to be done. Do not be afraid of failure. The real failure is not doing anything at all.