After the Korean War, some zealous Christians were sharing the gospel and neglecting to plant their crops. These poor farmers later had nothing to eat and were boiling tree bark to make soup. Christian Life magazine heard about it and wrote a story. It so touched the hearts of readers that money poured in to help them.
The late Robert Walker, who founded Christian Life—which was the major Christian media platform of its day—saw a need and started a nonprofit ministry in 1955 so his readers could channel money to ministries the magazine supported. Over the years, they raised millions of dollars. In a way, it was like early "crowdfunding"—it was people who needed help getting small donations from people who didn't know them but learned of them through media (in this case, a printed magazine).
Now a half-century later, we are carrying on this tradition. I've been involved for more than 25 years. The CLM board has a policy of passing along 100 percent of the money raised for the ministry it was designated for. Last year, we raised more than $558,565 for 20 separate ministries. The top three were:
- The Mordecai Project India orphanage for girls ($175,000)
- Bruce Olson Ministries ($50,569)
- CHARISMA Cares Prison Outreach ($24,636)
This was 150 percent growth over the year before, and we have a vision to raise a lot more money for worthy causes. Our total overhead—part time salaries for two, supplies, everything—is less than $50,000 a year. (I don't receive any pay as president and chairman.)
But in the last six months, we have gone $27,000 in the hole because we raise money for others instead of our own bills. We've had to dip into our meager reserves because some of our funding has dried up. The board decided we should build our own ministry partners—like all ministries do—to invite those who believe in what we're doing to become partners on a monthly basis.
In the grand scheme of things, $27,000 isn't much money! So much good is done with so little. We don't have many donors, but the ones we have like the fact that we're simple and squeaky clean, with 100 percent of the money raised going to the ministries designated. Not many ministries can say that.
There are bigger ministries that are flashier. We are merely trying to use the resources we have in terms of sharing needs and getting our readers to respond. In the last 25 years, we've raised well over $10 million, and we hope in the next five years to raise millions more.
CLM is one of 25 charter members of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. We are still members in good standing with never a blemish on our reputation. We make our books open to our donors. We are totally transparent. So you can give with confidence.
Yet, we can't do it alone. Together we can do more.
Usually I use my newsletter to tell a touching story, give a praise report or comment on the culture or political landscape. I decided today that my readers are the ones to ask to become donors. We need more people to stand with us with one-time gifts or to donate—as I do—on a monthly basis.
Occasionally I have asked for support for Christian Life Missions. Usually it's at the end of the year. But I can't remember revealing that we have had to dip into reserves to make up a deficit of $27,000.
We're not about to go out of existence. We'll find the money somewhere. But I realized many would like to support a small ministry like this that accomplishes so much.
I'm sending this out on Good Friday. During this Easter season, when we're thinking of Christ and His sacrifice, would you be generous and give to this worthy cause? Many give around Christmas or the end of the year. Let's make a new tradition of being generous at Easter!
I am believing God for us to raise $20,000 to $30,000 from this appeal to help us make our 2016 budget ahead of time. If you feel led to give, send a check designated to Christian Life Missions, 600 Rinehart Road, Lake Mary, Florida 32746
Your donation to Christian Life Missions is tax-deductible. Thank you for responding and for giving generously.
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