Think Outside the Denomination

Have you ever been told you need to support some summer camp, evangelistic series, or missionary simply because they were sponsored by your denomination?

This past weekend I was told by a well-meaning lady who was representing an organization within my church’s denomination that I should support them because I was a leader in the church.  The conversation surrounded the fact that I do work with World Vision which in her mind is a competitor.  But come on, who’s really competing when you’re saving a child from poverty?  Anyway, what irritated me about the whole exchange was she didn’t give me a reason other than denominational loyalty, much the same way a BMW salesman would be upset if you told him you were going to buy a Mercedes.  There was no conversation about all the good they do, why I should support them, or how I can be partners with them.  During the sermon the president of the organization got up and said “We don’t want supplies or volunteers. Just get out your checkbook”.  What she didn’t realize is I would have gladly helped and supported and promoted if only she had given me more than the denominational affiliation card.

Did you know that there are approximately 41,000 different Christian denominations?

The bigger issue I had with the whole exchange, other than her lack of recruiting skills, was that it reminded me of the large majority of Christians who don’t and won’t think outside their denomination.  I’ve worked for five years with World Vision and during that time I’ve done three child sponsorship events at my church.  Every time without fail I have more people come and tell me I should be supporting our denominational affiliate than actually pick up a packet and sponsor a child.  They look right past a table full of pictures of children who are suffering because all they care about is making sure their denomination stays in business.

Did you know that approximately 23,000 children will die today from preventable, poverty related disease?

It’s disheartening to realize that there are people who would rather do nothing than think outside their denomination.  No one is saying they have to convert or even agree with the doctrines, but can’t we agree that we can work together to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and save children from the slavery of poverty?  Last week a Christian soup kitchen refused to allow an Atheist group to help serve the homeless for Thanksgiving.  Have we come so far in our indoctrination that we would rather see people suffer than work alongside those different from us?

I’ve never met a Compassion International volunteer who says anything bad about World Vision and vice versa.  Agencies and individuals who are able to see past religious affiliation see the end result; the lives impacted and saved.  Jesus never built a church.  Never drew a line defining who and how he reached out to others.  He let his actions to the helpless and unloved speak for themselves.  I have a World Vision catalog on my coffee table waiting for me to send cattle, blankets, clean water kits, or something to someone in need this holiday season.  I received the packets this past week for the four children our family sponsors to send them something special for the holidays.  If you have a denominational entity who helps those in need around the world, support them.  But please, don’t use your denominational loyalty as a crutch not to do anything.  Choose to save a life and help those in need.

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