I know a lot of guys who’ve left careers behind to pursue full time ministry. And every one of them has struggled with fundraising. They HATE asking for money, writing support letters, falling behind on their bills, etc. Serving Jesus and financial stress seem to go hand in hand.
The pressure is even greater on guys who start ministries from scratch. On top of the fundraising there’s the hassle of getting and maintaining non-profit status. Finding good board members. IRS reporting. And don’t forget the administrative tasks that keep the money flowing: the monthly newsletter. Regular posts to social media. Public speaking. Outreach events. And the annual fundraising gala.
I have a friend who went into full time ministry a few years ago – but he’s discouraged because he spends about half is working hours engaged in non-ministry tasks. “I’m no good at fund raising and paperwork,” he says. “But that seems like all I do these days.” Because of this constant pressure to raise funds, many men put their calling aside.
But what if there was a way that anyone could go into full time ministry and still earn a basic living? This could become reality if a new policy, pushed by liberals, becomes law.
The idea is called guaranteed basic income (GBI). Instead of offering traditional welfare programs, governments would give every man, woman and child an annual stipend – regardless of need. The stipend would theoretically be enough to live on.
Liberals have been pushing this idea since the 1990s. Small-government conservatives are warming to the idea, since it would empower individuals to make their own economic choices free of bureaucratic control. More moms could stay home and raise their kids. It would essentially destroy the thicket of welfare agencies that’s grown up over the past 50 years and replace them with one payment that treats every citizen exactly the same.
Communist countries have had GBI for decades (although the stipends are very low). Developed nations such as Finland, Canada and Greece have studied GBI. On Sunday voters in Switzerland considered (and rejected) a GBI plan that would have awarded a family of four $78,000 a year in after tax income.
Here in Alaska we have a miniaturized version of GBI: the Permanent Fund Dividend. Every man, woman and child who has lived in the state two years receives an annual payout from an oil wealth savings account. Last year’s dividend was $2072. My wife and I both got the dividend. My married son, his wife and four children raked in over $12,000. We did nothing to earn it. I’m not much of a social welfare guy – however I must admit it’s nice to see that check every October.
But I digress. Why the sudden push for guaranteed basic income in the developed world?
As society mechanizes and more jobs are shipped overseas it’s clear that fewer workers will be needed to produce the same number of goods. As jobs disappear, a guaranteed basic income would ensure that every citizen could live a simple life without want.
Economists believe opportunities for work are slowly disappearing. Computers and robotics are making many jobs obsolete. Wealth is pooling in the hands of the world’s most productive citizens. In the same way the hunters of old shared the kill, a guaranteed basic income would redistribute the fruits of our free and productive society to everyone – not just the alphas at the upper crust of society.
The obvious downside of guaranteed basic income is that it will increase sloth and dependency. If you can earn a living without working, why work? Since many Christians lean conservative, they tend dismiss ideas like these out of hand.
But think what a guaranteed basic income could do for ministry.
Suddenly hundreds of thousands of Christians could “get up, leave everything behind and follow Jesus” — while still paying their bills. Innovators could launch ministries based on their passions – not their finances. No more fund raising letters. No more 501c3s. Any man or woman who’s careful with money could go out and serve Jesus without financial constraint. Couple this with universal, single-payer health insurance and these newly minted missionaries would be virtually bulletproof.
Liberals may unwittingly set off the greatest evangelistic explosion since Pentecost. Their idea could fund tens of thousands of missionary endeavors. It could help millions of stay-at-home moms raise their own children. And it could destroy the apparatus of the welfare state.
Are you feeling the Bern yet?
So what do you think? Is guaranteed basic income a good idea? Or would it foster harmful government dependence? Would it free more Christians to pursue ministry careers? Or is financial stress a vital part of trusting God to provide?
Please – add your comments below, or join the discussion on our Facebook page.