Just in case you haven’t noticed, Christmas is only two weeks away. I’ve already posted some suggestions to help you in your holiday gift giving. In that November article, I mentioned how last year we had “given” my husband a goat that would actually go to a needy family in the Dominican Republic.
Since then, I have done some research into various organizations worthy of your donations. Some have gift catalogs, such as the one we ordered from last year. You can “purchase” anything from carrot seeds to medical supplies to clean water for a village. Others just accept donations. You can designate a specific fund, or opt for “where the need is greatest.” They may offer to send you a gift receipt that you can wrap and place under the tree. We like to make our own at home—our family is big on word-processed scrolls, tied up with a red ribbon.
Large nonprofits such as World Vision and Compassion International have stellar reputations, and you won’t go wrong sending them a donation. But since they are familiar to most people, I’m going to introduce you to three of my favorite smaller ministries. These are Godly people doing Godly work, but without the big budgets and big names.
Rather than attempt to describe each of the nonprofits below, I’ve used their own words to let them describe themselves. I’ve then added my own comments.
You’ll notice a wide variety among my choices. Perhaps training leaders isn’t as heart-warming as feeding children, but it is just as essential to spreading the gospel, and a donation to DAI may be the perfect gift for an educator or executive.
Perhaps you need a gift for someone who loves to pray. Consider a donation to Harvest Prayer Ministries. Or maybe they are an avid gardener. Or they love cows. You can donate seeds and a plow, or part of a cow, to a poor family through Partners International.
I’ve only listed a three ministries here, but through our work in the 1990s with the AD2000 & Beyond Movement, and our own nonprofit ministry, Pete and I are aware of a lot of organizations that you can support with confidence. If you have a special area of interest, contact me, and I’ll be happy to point you in the right direction. Additionally, over the next year, I hope to highlight a some other Christian nonprofits that deserve your attention.
I should add one caveat: not everyone on your Christmas list will appreciate you making a donation in their name, instead of giving them a more tangible gift. Choose your recipient(s) prayerfully. In our family, we only substitute part of the gift we give someone. We spend significantly less than we’d originally budgeted—for something inexpensive but still thoughtfully personal—then give the difference to charity. Just don’t impose your own mature, altruistic inclinations on someone who may not be ready to be that selfless. Go slowly and give them time to adjust. (And while you’re at it, you might consider adding a donation to a nonprofit to your own wish list.)
Still, many of us have all that we need and most that we want, and will appreciate a gift that is meaningful, instead of desperate. With all of these organizations, you can give online, and no shipping is necessary. Maybe these are the perfect last-minute gifts.
What other small-but-amazing ministries deserve our attention? Let me know your favorites, and perhaps I’ll highlight them in a future article.
“Partners International is a global ministry that works to create and grow communities of Christian witness in partnership with God’s people in the least Christian regions of the world.”
In other words, they empower indigenous church planters, ministry leaders, and others who are already producing fruit for the Kingdom, allowing them to be even more effective. Most ministry is done in the belt from West Africa to China and Southeast Asia, known as the 10/40 Window. Support is in the form of culturally appropriate finances, training, and encouragement.
I particularly appreciate Partners’ support of women leaders. Partners also teaches income-producing skills to destitute families, providing them with micro-loans, equipment or livestock that leads to financial self-sufficiency. And, you can sponsor a child in parts of Africa or Asia.
We’ve enjoyed a relationship with Partners International for years, and are friends with many who have and/or are working there. I can’t recommend them highly enough.
“In our broken world, God plants local Christian leaders to bring the lasting hope of the gospel to their communities. Yet these leaders face enormous challenges: corruption, war, poverty, disease, persecution—just to name a few. Most find themselves ill-equipped to respond.
“Development Associates International is passionate about helping these leaders grow. DAI creates, uses, and distributes interactive educational tools to help leaders grow in their personal integrity, spiritual life, leadership effectiveness, and management skills.”
We’ve had the privilege of knowing DAI President / CEO Jane Overstreet for many years. Her leadership qualities are outstanding. She truly is a women after God’s own heart.
“Harvest Prayer Ministries exists to equip the local church to become a House of Prayer for all nations, releasing God’s power for revival and finishing the task of world evangelization. We work to transform lives by teaching prayer.”
When I asked my friend Cynthia, recent editor of Pray! magazine, to recommend a prayer ministry for this article, she quickly responded with Harvest Prayer Ministries. She describes them as “The little prayer ministry, humble prayer ministry, that is an umbrella for all sorts of prayer ministries and makes them happen through faith and love and prayer. Good, good people.”