The content on finances probably had the most impact on me at Dream Year. Now I'm no business guy but hearing Ben say that revenue must be more than expenses makes sense to me. =) These other ideas also resonated:
- Nonprofit is a tax strategy not a business strategy. Your idea needs to be profitable to be sustainable.
- Your idea might need other ways to create revenue.
- The 100% donor model might be endangered.
All of these ideas are certainly relevant to Ember. And they are just as relevant to how we prepare students to lead in the future - especially to those that might be interested in vocational ministry, specifically outside the traditional structure of a local community of faith. Granted, the 100% donor model, like other models, has a Biblical precedent, can invite a lot of others to be a part of your team and is a true faith walk. The other side of the equation is that we are seeing less and less career faith supported missionaries, in some contexts that status actually gives you more barriers to entry, and the global economic recession has not helped the situation. In today's global economy, you could study just about any field and there is a way that would help get you to the mission field.
Perhaps some of us need to give more flexibility to the emerging generation and their adaptability to bring different avenues of revenue to the future ministries and organizations they will create. For instance, I was told that it was unbiblical to host a poker party to raise money for a short term missions team. Poker is irrelevant to me, but you would have to agree that its a major subculture right now. The stigma of making money and being associated with 'nonprofit', 'missions' and 'ministry' should be end. [Lots more great stuff about this idea in the book Uncharitable.] I'm thinking about how Ember is going to experiment with this too - do you like to play poker? [just kidding...]
My bet is that similar to the many varied dreams I heard about this weekend, future global leaders are going to create ministries that don't even exist yet today. They will dream them, build teams to help run them, and more now than ever, they will need to create varied portfolios of revenue that help fund them.