Asking, giving, and receiving : a practical spirituality of Christian fundraising in Young Life
This thesis will recast fundraising from a mostly secularized approach to one that views fundraising as a spiritual practice. Young Life staff members are trained in how to proclaim the gospel and program activities in terms of discipleship and spiritual formation, yet field staff members have been trained to use a different paradigm that is secularized for fundraising. There is potential for a language shift and corresponding paradigm shift in fundraising training that could guide the Young Life fundraiser to venture into a more familiar and theological concept: community instead of commerce and spiritual formation instead of commodification.
The two core research questions that I am addressing in this project are: In what ways does raising support for Young Life connect to the practice of faith? And, how can fundraising be re-conceived in terms of Christian spirituality? Data has been collected from personal interviews, Young Life archives, books written about Young Life, and published reports within the organization. This project aims to discover the fundraising history of Young Life, critically analyze this history, extend a practical spirituality of fundraising while exploring theologies of asking, giving, and receiving, and provide adaptations for current problematic financial models in the organization.