Dear Salvation Army,

As we do the most good are we making the least difference?

We give away more toys, food, nights of lodging than the guy next door in America’s vast neighborhood of charitable organizations.  Overhead?  Fortune magazine commends us on our slim margin of cost; business people understand us.  Doing the most good.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

But what difference are we making?

What we do, and we are good at it, is to keep doing what we’ve done before.  And that’s okay, as long as the world doesn’t change.

We have been trained to think in terms of service.  We can give someone daily bread or a night’s lodging.  We don’t think in terms of service that makes a difference.

Now in our busiest season, it’s likely next month’s reports will show Salvation Army has done more good than previous years.  We are tuned, wired to give away more, not less.  We are wired to ask the American public for more and we believe that the best way to steward it, be accountable for it, is by doing more.  Giving more.

kettleDr. John Perkins, founder of the Christian Community Development Association, likes to share this illustration.  He describes a river from which we are pulling drowning people as they float past us.  Then we have a flash of insight:  how are these people ending up in the river?  Go up stream to find out and do then something about that.drowning

Dr. Perkins says we can and we need to find out why people are drowning, hungry, without a home, without a safe neighborhood, credible schools, access to health care.

We need to find out why when you look at people and they look at you, you see eyes with dying hope, little faith, great pain.  We can see life fading.  Death near.  That is why we need to present the gospel, in word and in action.

So, a choice.  Do the most good?  Or do we make a difference?

Here’s my post on Bob Lupton’s presentation two years ago in Toronto on this subject.