Monthly Archives: March 2012

Where We’re Speaking

VOM Regional Conference


VOM Regional Conference


*This event is open to the public. Additional information, when available, can be obtained by clicking the underlined text.   


North Korea Resources – March 28, 2012

Click the links below to learn more about life in North Korea.

Prayer Point for North Korea – March 27, 2012

After estimating that approximately 2,000,000 North Koreans are tuning into illegal short-wave broadcasting each evening, the Lord blessed us with the funds to increase our radio program by an additional half hour this year!

Please pray that the Holy Spirit would move on the hearts of North Koreans as they hear the Gospel broadcast over the radio.

Seoul USA Field Ops Update

Cost Effectiveness in Christian Ministry

When attempting some sort of ministry, whether that be field operations, administration, training, teaching, preaching, equipping, etc., and the discussion turns to “cost-effectiveness,” we have to ask what we mean by “cost-effectiveness.”

You might say that this is obvious; everyone knows what “cost-effectiveness” means. So let’s test if it is obvious or not.

Think for a minute how you would define this term if you were on a game show and were about to win $1000 for giving the correct definition of “cost effectiveness in Christian ministry” in 12 words or less.

I’ll give you a minute…………

OK, how was your answer?  Was it easy to come up with a clear definition? If you have the chance, I’d like to hear about what you gave for a definition and how it compares to the definition given in the Christianity Today article “Cost-Effective Compassion: The 10 Most Popular Strategies for Helping the Poor.

The results that are given in this article are based on 16 individuals responding to a poll to rate the “most common poverty interventions to which ordinary people donate their money, in terms of impact and cost-effectiveness per donated dollar.”

What’s your initial reaction to that question? I don’t know where to even start with that, so let’s see if we can think about some of the problems in the question as a means of identifying any conclusions to what “Cost-Effective Compassion” might be.

Think through some of the vagaries of this with me:

1. Most Common Poverty Interventions:  

  • How is “most common” defined? By money? Number of people who do it? Number of people who donate to it? Greatest cost?
  • Who decides what is common? What is common in New York might not be what is common in Seoul, Korea. With only 16 individuals, how did they determine what interventions were common?
  • What exactly is a “poverty intervention?” Is there an income level? Is it normalized for the region of the world or country? What is the definition of poverty used here and what is the specific meaning of an intervention that I could put on this poll if I were answering?

2. Ordinary People: Who are ordinary people? Is this an income level? Does it mean some foundations that give to poverty intervention programs were excluded? An ordinary person in Germany or an ordinary person in Los Angeles? I’d really like to know how this term, ordinary person, was used to include or exclude potential answers to this poll.

3. Impact: Without a definition, what did these 16 individuals decide impact meant? Was there a collective agreement on a definition or was it left up to each individual to determine impact? How many interventions were left out because it didn’t meet some undetermined definition of impact?

4. Cost-effectiveness per donated dollar: How was this determined? Is there a table somewhere that lists all of the poverty intervention programs or ministries along with their cost-effectiveness per donated dollar? Does this include grant dollars or just individual donor dollars? How about organizations that have service-related income within their programs, are those left out because it isn’t “donated” dollar?

Really, those last two are the most important – what is impact and how does an organization determine its “cost-effectiveness” per donated dollar.

Keeping in mind that this is for Christian ministries, what would you say those terms should mean?

Christians Should Let Their Enemies Do Good to Them!

We have a discipleship skill to learn: permitting ourselves to be hosted by others as messengers of the living God so that in hosting us they welcome the living God and thus the gospel of the living God.

Note that this is something other than us just wandering around like nameless beggars looking for “three hots and a cot” (i.e., three hot meals and a bed to sleep in). We travel as ambassadors, in the name of the living God and of his Christ. In Matthew 10:41, Jesus says,

He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. (KJV, emphasis mine)

But we are ambassadors of a peculiar kingdom, aren’t we? Our God holds all things, but he sends us out with nothing, so that those who receive us will also with him receive all things when he comes into his kingdom.

So here we run into the mirror image of doing good to our enemies: letting our enemies do good to us! That is, letting people who are strangers to us and our God host us as we come openly in the name of the Lord, and, in so hosting us, host the Lord and welcome the gospel (which is the announcement that the one who sent us is in now in charge and rules over all things).

So how do we learn to be hosted by strangers and enemies in this way? According to Luke 10, we let them practice on us! And Jesus gives us specific instructions on what to do when they welcome us, and what to do when they don’t.

But how can we, with integrity, still be rich (compared to the rest of the world) and yet go out with nothing?

Here, Christ is our exemplar. Remember, we are mirroring into the world what he did: Though he possessed all things, he left all things and came with nothing except the message and love of his father, which he mirrored into the world.

In the same way, we who possess a lot can still leave it all – for an hour, for a day, or, ultimately, for a lifetime – as we go with nothing except the message and love of Christ, which we mirror into the world.

“Sell all you have, give it to the poor, and come and follow me” can happen either in a single moment in time or as a path on which we progress through our whole lifetime.

Check out this month to learn more about the Work of Mercy of Opening Your Home.

Where We’re Speaking

VOM Regional Conference

*This event is open to the public. Additional information, when available, can be obtained by clicking the underlined text. 

North Korea Resources – March 15, 2012

Click the links below to learn more about life in North Korea.