Throwing Sand in the Sandbox

13 Apr

I’ve been in Christian industries and nonprofits for 13 years – more than 13 if we count volunteer time, but 13 as a full-time professional. Like others in these sandboxes, I’ve heard my share of judgment, encountered plenty of individuals who don’t act like Christians and have probably been one of those individuals somewhere along the way. It’s a tough thing, to work alongside others of whom you have the expectation to act Godly – when there are so many gray areas about “Godly” when it comes to specific actions.


I have realized there are basically two types of people in this sandbox when it comes to the management of resources – resources being money, relationships, and knowledge. The closed fists and the open hands.

Closed Fists

Closed fist folks work hard to develop a network and a financial stream to support their vision. Let’s call them CFers. They are tireless workers, always on the go, never absent from a meeting or event that can help them forward the mission. CFers are staunchly dedicated to their ministry. They see no responsibility toward those in other ministries because taking their eyes from their own focus would be a “poor steward” of a CFer’s own resources of time and money. If there is an event with a major keynote speaker, for example, it is anathema to consider introducing other ministry leaders to that speaker – the focus must be and remain on only the CFer’s ministry.

Open Hands

Then there are the open hands. They are as passionate about and dedicated to their vision as CFers, but they believe there is strength within the body as a whole and wisdom in growing it along the way. Let’s call them OHers. If a fellow ministry leader calls with a request to meet someone who is a supporter of an OHer’s ministry but might also be interested in an additional ministry, or they request to use a piece of equipment, the OH leader is ready to acquiesce. OHers spend little time wondering if the act of sharing their own resources will stunt or harm the achievement of their own mission. For an OHer, the question at hand before sharing resources is whether the requesting ministry is legitimate. If it is, then sharing is a given.

Which One?

Which do you think is preferable? To have a singular vision and stay firmly focused on it and only it (CF)? Or to approach resources as something to be shared with other ministries, possibly impacting your own path to fruition in the process (OH)?

Looking forward to hearing others’ thoughts on this!


4 responses to “Throwing Sand in the Sandbox

  1. sally apokedak

    April 14, 2013 at 12:29 am

    It’s an interesting question, because now that I’m an agent, I realize I have to think a bit differently than I once did. I owe my clients something and that means I can’t give away my time as freely as I used to. When it was just my time, it was a black and white issue for me–I believed I should give to anyone who asked. But now that I have promised to work hard for my clients, it is not a given that I will give to people who ask for help.

    What I’ve done is set a rule that I will quit working for my clients at six or seven at night and I won’t work from them on weekends. That leaves evenings and weekends open for family, friends, and non-client writers asking for help. If I didn’t have that rule, I could conceivably be working nonstop for my clients, because there is always work to do–I’m never caught up with nothing left to be done.

    But, to answer your question–I think we should always be as open-handed as we can be. God is open-handed with us–he’s so hugely generous. And if we are helping others in their ministry we are furthering the kingdom and looking out not only for our own interests, but for the interests of others. Frankly, I sometimes am bothered by the “stewardship” argument, because I’ve seen it used, at times, as an excuse to be selfish. But I try to remember that we all tend to tip towards one error or an other. We have a hard time walking the knife’s edge of perfect belief and practice. I lean too far toward the “flower-power, cruise along and take what God gives you” side of things so I try not to judge too harshly my “planning ten years into the future and refusing to bend” brothers.

  2. Dale Augustson

    August 14, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    As a working artist and art instructor doing my own workshops I would say I am a CFer.
    I am the one that is calling galleries at colleges and unversities asking to exhibit my work, also calling local and regional galleries asking the same. I would like to keep what I have built rather than hand it over to someone else. It takes alot of work to self promote, especially when one is not as adept at it as they should be(me lol). Selling abstract art is not an easy task but it is fun and I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love what I was doing. Sorry this got longer than I expected it to be. Let me know if I am on right track in your opinion.
    Regards, Dale Augustson Springfield, MO

  3. Terry

    August 15, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    I work for a Christian network and understand both sides. However, God has been extraordinarily generous with all of us time and time again. Therefore, I feel we as people working in ministry, need to show that same generosity. The other side of our ministry is business. We have to set parameters and guidelines, not necessarily limits on how much and when we can help. Vetting a ministry to help is absolutely the first thing to do in my opinion because in my job I come into contact with many who ‘are called to be on TV’ and one of the first questions I ask them is ‘has God supplied your needs to do that yet?’ God may have called you to be on TV but many, many people think they can go on TV and money will flow into their ministry and pockets. That is far from true. Most viewers first, have to find you on the dial, second, they have to watch you for a period of time to see if you are the real deal and finally they will open their pockets to your ministry. This process takes lots of time and tons of money. If someone is called to be on TV, there is usually some training God has for you first while He grooms you and sets things in motion for the money to come to you as needed but only when needed. Of course, as we all know, God can do whatever He wants whenever He wants if people are the real deal. I think we should be ready to help each other but not ‘do’ (as in supplying everything which is crippling them)

  4. Schweiz

    May 7, 2014 at 3:01 am

    Danke fuer die schoene Zeit auf dieser Webseite.

    Macht weiter so. Da komme ich gerne wieder.


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