Nonprofits face uncertainty in finances, leadership, and the future

By April 17, 2020

USA (MNN) — As the world struggles on in the coronavirus pandemic, several groups are feeling the pressure of a collapsing economy, including small businesses and the unemployed. But another group is struggling under the financial strain as well – nonprofits and ministries.

Spoken Worldwide is a Christian ministry that equips leaders to share the Gospel with oral learners. Their work includes orality coaching, pastor development, and oral Bible translation initiatives.

Like many of their ministry partners, Spoken Worldwide is feeling COVID-19’s impact on their supporters.

Uncertainty in finances

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(Photo courtesy of Nik Shuliahin via Unsplash)

Ed Weaver, President of Spoken Worldwide, says, “We’re completely dependent on the generosity of believers and when they express fear and uncertainty in terms of their careers or their personal wealth, then it creates a downstream problem for us. As confident as we want to be in the Lord and His provision for us, how do we provide confidence to those who support us?”

It is understandable that charitable giving decreases in times when families aren’t sure how to pay their bills or afford groceries.

Rather than making financial decisions out of fear, Weaver encourages believers to bathe their situation in prayer. He also says nonprofits should empower and trust their donors to make wise decisions as the Holy Spirit leads — even if that means a decrease in giving.

“I know that there’s plenty of people that suggest that part of the ministry is a ministry to donors and to disciple donors. Well, I’m never one to presume that I know more spiritually than a donor does so it’s not like I can counsel them. If someone is experiencing fear in what to do with their money and maybe they want to pull in their horns, who am I to say that’s not what God’s telling them to do?”

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(Photo courtesy of Nathan Dumlao via Unsplash)

Uncertainty in leadership

The pandemic has also put leaders like Weaver in very tough positions. As people look to their leaders for guidance and encouragement, ministry heads especially have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders.

“We know that we need to stiff-arm fear and recognize that’s not from our Lord and God…but then how do you really face that? How do you articulate that to your team — that you are confident [but] at the same time, not unaware of what everybody else’s fears and uncertainties may be, and then helping them manage through what their fears are?”

Weaver says being proactive in team communication is key. “We’re not in the office together and so, therefore, we really can’t very tangibly lift each other up or have each other’s back. So there has to be some intentionality that not only I have to deliver to the team, but the team needs to be able to lift each other up in the process.”

Spoken Worldwide also supports indigenous ministry leaders around the world in orality Gospel movements. Weaver says he is also trying to empower these leaders in their own contexts to support and encourage the people they work with.

“There’s compassion that we need to have on our local leadership…and provide whatever strength and support that they’re going to need in navigating this uncertain time.”

Uncertainty in the future

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(Photo courtesy of Nikko Macaspac via Unsplash)

Personally, Weaver is no stranger to financial devastation and uncertainty. He and his wife Laura got married in 2001. Within a year, they both lost their jobs.

“Our income for the next three years was never more than ten percent of what we had made collectively before we got married. So you go through three years of that and every time you reduce a certain expense, it’s just never enough. Finally, after a while, you don’t have anything.”

However, Weaver says times of future uncertainty and even tragedy are reminders that our confidence shouldn’t rest on the money we have in our bank accounts.

“We’re all equally in a dependent position on God and His provision for us. If we look…at His Word and we read what He says about His faithfulness to us,…we typically interpret that as saying, ‘Well, then I’ll never lose my job.’ No, He means He’ll never leave us or forsake us. That doesn’t have anything to do with our income and our livelihood.

“We are just beginning to realize how dependent we are on God, how dependent we always were. Nothing has changed from yesterday to today.”

Certainty in God

Finances, leadership, and the future may all be uncertain. But one thing is sure — we serve a God who is certain.

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(Photo courtesy of Whoislimos via Unsplash)

“That is what my go-to is,” Weaver says. “It’s the parallel between God’s Word and my personal experience that prove He was faithful. But you know what? I did lose my job. I did lose my income. It was a long, painful process and there were a lot of things I had put my faith in that God said, ‘You don’t need to have your faith in that. You need to have your faith in Me.’”

If there’s one thing we as believers can do to take advantage of this season, it’s pray.

Please pray for Spoken Worldwide and other ministries to persevere in telling people about Jesus. Ask the Lord to give nonprofit donors and supporters wisdom. Pray for many people to turn to Christ for hope and peace in the midst of uncertainty.

Weaver asks, “Pray that God will reveal Himself to us in a new and fresh way and remind us that He is the same God today as He was yesterday. He’s the same God today when things are uncertain as He was when we thought things were certain two months ago. I think reminding each other of that is incredibly powerful.”

Click here to learn more about Spoken Worldwide!



Header photo courtesy of Milada Vigerova via Unsplash.

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