Shouldn’t Nonprofits be Profitable?

I have always found the term “nonprofit” to be potentially misleading. This term seems to say that organizations that help others shouldn’t really have much if anything beyond their needs. “Nonprofit” seems to say, be careful, you are only supposed to get by and always be in need.

Jesus didn’t operate with such tight margins. He seemed excessive at times. Did those at the wedding reception in Cana really need 180 gallons of wine? Did the 12 baskets of leftover bread get to where it was needed before spoiling? Jesus made sure that excess wasn’t wasted. The 153 fish didn’t break the disciples’ net. Neither of these examples seem too “nonprofit” in nature. God isn’t stingy. Yes, He meets needs, but He also goes beyond our needs as well? He lavishes his love and provision on His people.

As a pastor and as a consultant, I have always had a disdain for the stereotype that nonprofits are supposed to be needy paupers begging for a buck to make it. Regardless of the size of the nonprofit, there are eternal, universal principles at work regarding the accumulation of donations.

I often get emails from ministry coaches on ways to increase giving in the church. I usually delete them. There are no tricks. Here are some non-negotiables when it comes to nonprofits and giving. If you practice these “best practices” you will position yourself for abundance. If you do not practice these “best practices” it will be difficult to enjoy ongoing consistent provision for your nonprofit’s vision. You may be funded but at a level far below where God would desire for you to be.

 

  1. Provision is directly related to vision. Small vision — small giving (Ephesians 3:20-21).  
  2. If you have division in your organization, you must deal with it. Division equals a lack of anointing and a lack of resources (Psalms 133:1-3).
  3. We reap what we sow. Sow little and remain lacking spiritually, financially, emotionally and socially (2 Corinthians 9:6).
  4. Nonprofits and individuals that seek to build the kingdom of God will have what they need and more. No worries. (Matthew 6:33)
  5. Look out for widows, orphans, the unborn and some single parents and you will become a pipeline of provision for others (James 1:27, Proverbs 31:8-9).
  6. Money follows ministry, ministry does follow money. Provide loving, challenging word-based ministry and you will have what you are supposed to have (2 Timothy 4:1-4).
  7. Sometimes we need to spend less time asking for provision and more time expecting it as we minister to others. God often provides after we get moving, when we have acted in faith. His promises are yes and amen (James 2:17, 2 Corinthians 1:20).
  8. Ultimately, generosity is a matter of the Holy Spirit marinating the human heart. God loves a cheerful giver, and He loves a grumpy one as well, but shape your heart toward generosity and get ready to receive (2 Corinthians 9:7).
  9. Pastors who do not give financially lead churches that receive less than they could (1 Corinthians 11:1). Nonprofits that only look after themselves need to take a closer look.
  10. God blesses nonprofits and people who are mature and seasoned. Seasoned ministries do not allow abundance to come between them and God. A lack of provision may indicate a lack of wisdom and maturity. Be patient. Be faithful in few things and the Lord will give you charge over many. Try to do too much too quickly and you will likely be without (Matthew 25:21).
  11. Some people have a gift of giving. They should receive more testimonies than requests for funds (Romans 12:6-8).
  12. Never give to get, and if you are constantly having to ask for money, something is off balance. Giving is supposed to be an act of true worship (Matthew 6:21). Unsolicited gifts should be the norm.
  13. Test God. Is there one better to test? (Malachi 3:10)
  14. Churches with abundance should be partnering with churches that lack. No ministry silos (Galatians 6:2).

 

There is nothing new when it comes to providing leadership to a “nonprofit” that has more than adequate resources. If the principles listed above are practiced as acts of allegiance and worship then we will be found faithful. The provision that the Lord provides those who are faithful is His business; such matters are above our paygrade. Let’s focus on faithfulness first and fullness second.

 

Dr. Gary Hewins is the President of lifepoints.org, a coaching and consulting ministry to ministry leaders and preachers and the Senior Pastor of Community Bible Church in the picturesque mountains of Highlands, NC.

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