Ministry and Money: A Trusty Boat
MINISTRY HAS CHANGED FOR ME IN RECENT YEARS. Might you be drawn to help with funding a new approach to upholding my Spirit-led efforts?
Early in my story of public ministry with Way of the Spirit, a tidal change in support seemed to leave my little boat-of-a-vision sitting high and dry on the mudflats. The School of the Spirit Ministries board, with a similar formation program based on the East Coast, had discerned not to oversee this little West Coast start up.
In 2011, I joined Good News Associates, a collaborative non-profit who provided a channel for funding, discernment support, and community. Living waters floated Way of the Spirit into existence. When other part time employment pulled too much of my energy elsewhere, we were clear to shift me into full time ministry, with a modest wage draw to contribute to my family’s expenses.
Over ten years now, GNA and this model of money and ministry have welcomed generous donations, including donations for my husband’s handmade Inner Light Soap. But mostly the Way of the Spirit program has happened because of retreat participants’ fees. This strategy even carried my income through the worst of the pandemic.
Now the “fee for service” approach is scraping sand. With GNA, we’ve always celebrated how the Spirit moves money to support leadings in ministry. Our budgets are based in discernment and trust. It’s been a joyful dance of abundance, rather than penny pinching anxiety.
In the past couple years, the Spirit has drawn me into writing. Long, rich days passed in discerning, drafting, revising and editing a Pendle Hill Pamphlet published this spring. Forgiveness: Freed to Love is the happy synthesis of my own growth, facilitating dozens of retreats, and accompanying retreat participants and individuals in spiritual direction. No money is attached to that work. Seeds of a longer book are gestating in my heart. …Something about the inner life in ministry from the wisdom of Quakers’ spiritual experience.
In early 2022, my anchor/support committee through Whidbey Island Friends Meeting (Quaker) affirmed my release from more active retreat ministry to help make space for writing. For several months, a God-given patron stepped forward with funding for my wage-draw without retreats.
But I’m not done with retreats either! Three in-person offerings are scheduled this year, with a small group continuing in online sessions. That’s half the number of retreats Way of the Spirit offered in 2013-2019, while costs of retreat facilitates have nearly doubled. This summer, an additional 5-day workshop was accepted for Friends General Conference, but I have to pay to attend, even with a work-study stipend.
I’m no marketing wiz, but I appreciate how my local public radio station appeals for listener support. They remind us that we donate because we want the service to exist. They tell stories of why it matters. They encourage us to contribute regularly, in ongoing ways to help sustain what happens over time. “Even $10 a month,” they say.
If you’re on my mailing list, you’re likely trusting that my faithfulness matters. If you’re a past participant in an online or residential program, you’ll have your own stories of how Way of the Spirit has helped shape your life in relationship to the Divine. Or maybe my blog has been meaningful to you.
If you are one of the folks who already donate regularly toward my efforts in ministry, I’m deeply grateful! If not, would you be moved to join them? Would it bring you joy to help float what the Spirit is doing with Way of the Spirit and my hopes in faithfulness?
Our vision is $1000/month through the fall. You can donate monthly through the GNA website via PayPal here, or arrange with the office for a recurring transfer from your bank account. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Yes, donations are tax deductible through GNA, the non-profit organization that undergirds my ministry.
Thank you for reading, caring, praying, and walking faithfully in the Spirit’s Way.
In hope and trust,