The recent changes to the Canada Summer Jobs Grant application seems to have woken the church from it’s perpetual slumber into the closest thing to rage that Canadian Christians are capable of displaying.
Let it be said from the outset that the fact that one of the biggest current troubles facing Christians in Canada is a change in a summer jobs application should first show us how blessed we are to live here. We enjoy many freedoms. Freedoms that believers in other parts of the world are literally dying without. Let us not forget that or take it for granted.
Nevertheless, the issue at hand is problematic for us. To apply or not to apply? To check the box or not? Honestly, I don’t know that there is one right answer to that question at the moment. Whatever you and your ministry decide to do (if anything) is up to you as far as I’m concerned. Many organizations (mine included) have leaned hard on this funding to make programs happen. So losing it, or opting not to apply for it, presents some very real challenges. But with those challenges, an opportunity for us to take a stand has presented itself.
That we enjoy financial support from our government for ministry activities is great. The support comes in more than just summer jobs funding. There are also clergy tax deductions, charitable status, tax breaks for charitable giving, and more. All of these things help us do the work we are committed to.
But, if it all went away tomorrow, what would change?
What if we lost the charitable status, the tax breaks, the job funding, all of it. What would change?
Nothing. Our mandate remains the same.
We will continue to serve the poor, feed the hungry, give homes to the homeless, hope to the hopeless. We’ll run camps for kids, and recovery programs for addicts. We’ll keep doing missions trips, and service projects. We’ll keep running toward disaster to serve our fellow man. We’ll keep preaching the word and singing praises to our King.
Why? Because the Gospel is our mandate. It is the reason we gather. It is the reason we serve. Our mandate doesn’t change with government policy. I love my country, but my allegiance belongs to the Kingdom of Heaven.
That day hasn’t yet come in Canada; it may never come. But if it does - nothing changes for me. My calling, my beliefs, and my mandate remain the same.
With or without government funding.