Would you rather give your time, energy, and financial support to an organization that gets children out of sex trafficking or an organization that prevents them from being sold into slavery in the first place?
If you heard Andy Stanley’s recent message “An Ounce of Prevention“, you’d know that it’s a trick question – the answer is both, isn’t it?
For years, we’ve been talking to people about the value of discipleship and I’ve personally struggled with the question: “how do we show people the measurable results of discipleship?” As of today, I’m breathing a sigh of relief. Why? Because “crisis averted” or “divorce prevented” is immeasurable. From time to time, God has given us measurable items – dollars worth of food distributed to at risk families, leaders trained for DivorceCare, participants enrolled in events – but the primary work we do in one on one discipleship is something I’ve wasted weeks of time trying to measure when it cannot be measured.
I highly recommend listening to this message as soon as you can, but from a discipleship standpoint, let me give you a testimonial: the wisdom, counsel, and biblical truth given to me from my mentors during the darkest times of our marriage, our ministry, our family crises has prevented metldowns, explosions, and generational dysfunction that would otherwise have left a terrible mark on our children and their children yet to come.
Who am I to think I could measure that and report
it back to you with a neat, little bow on top?
Two men got together every week to listen to what God is doing in each others’ lives, point out scripture that deconstructs the lies they believed (about their wives, their boss, their co-worker, their kids, their God, their addictions). Over the course of years their faith was built up, maturity hastened, and perhaps – just perhaps – their marriage was saved from a divorce, an affair, a financial crisis, a lifelong wedge of misunderstanding and hard heartedness. How does one measure that?!
Two women got together over coffee to talk about one’s divorce, the lies and accusations satan reinforced in their self concept, shared truth from God’s word, prayed for each other, and that divorcee found second marriage grace with her new husband, learned step by grueling step how to “blend” families with her new son in law as God healed old hurts, exposed her to new ones, and proved Himself worthy as her protector, healer, and deliverer. Today, her two sons know that while their biological parents are no longer together, their future is secure because God is the head of their new household and Mommy & Daddy now bring all of their baggage to the cross recreationally.
A husband and wife on the verge of divorce sought counsel and help outside of Seasons of Life, but know the value of what this kind of “personal pastoring” had on their marriage, so they joined us in support at $50 a month. They get it. Many of you do, too. You knew it was coming, right? End of year giving appeal? But, this is precisely the point that I, now with Andy’s help, have been trying to articulate for years now. Prevention giving versus intervention giving.
So, if you’re a supporter of Seasons of Life, this article is for you, too. You’ve understood what Stanley tells us is the difference between “intervention giving” and “prevention giving”. Seasons of Life was born out of the overflow of DivorceCare – clearly an “intervention” environment. But, the Lord, who is the ultimate Interventionist, has used many of you at $20, $50, to $400 a month to “keep the lights on” for others who don’t, and hopefully never will, need intervention.
Bottom line – prevention giving is neither emotional nor measurable, but it’s necessary and far superior to intervention giving. Thank you. If you’ve responded to this call through giving or prayer, we’re so very grateful. I