“This is a Non-Profit Organization… We did not plan it that way, it just happened.” That is the sign hanging near the front of one of my favorite coffee houses. It struck me that this is the real meaning of the phrase.
I work for a church and we are not for profit. That is a designation put forth by the IRS so we can have certain tax benefits. It relates to organizations that are not created to make a profit for the organization.
People still get paid of course. The work is done by the organization for a higher purpose than making money. At least, that is the reason they are supposedly called non-profit. In real life, it is not always easy to determine any real difference between the profit world and the non-profit.
I mean what is the church supposed to be about anyway? It is designed to simply stay alive? It is designed to build buildings and set up a sign and wait for people to show up and the more people show up, the more money is collected and the more buildings can be built? I know that is not what church is about. But, sometimes, that is the impression others outside the church have.
Truth be told, we want to make a profit. We want to keep moving and growing and getting bigger and better. That could loosely be called “profit.” The issue isn’t profit for me, it is what kind of profit and who it profits.
A true Non-Profit organization profits those it serves. Do you understand what I mean? Buildings are looked at as tools to help others gain the free and abundant life they need. Services are designed around those we serve. Questions are asked concerning the needs of the community. The focus is outward!
I understand the sign since it feels like churches like ours struggle with finances so often. It feels like we live week to week and have to continue to struggle to find the next dollar that will keep us alive.
But, here’s the thing. The church doesn’t exist simply to stay alive! It is called to so much more. We are here to thrive in spite of obstacles! We are here to stretch in spite of lack of resources! We are hear to make a difference in the community! We are hear to see lives changed! Now that’s profit!!