Multi-Faceted Funding Model
Mark Harris, CEO of 4Tucson, has served as a pastor in Tucson for the last 24 years. In the first ten years of his ministry he helped to plant 18 churches of different denominations and diverse communities. Harris said, “We thought that if we planted enough churches, we could change the city. Over that ten-year period more than 3,400 people, who would not have normally gone to church, were going to one of the new church plants. During that same time period over 1,200 individuals accepted Christ as their Savior”
Harris further explained, “We were very happy about the individual lives that God had transformed. The problem was that during that ten years, the city as a whole was worse off than when we started. Divorce rates were up, murder rates were at an all-time high, teen pregnancy and high school dropout rates were on the rise. By every measure the city was getting worse, not better.”
Realization: It’s going to take a different strategy to change a city than it took to change individuals.
From his experience, Harris came to understand that while church planting was a great evangelism strategy, he would not live long enough to see the city transformed using that strategy. As he prayed for wisdom to develop a city transformation strategy, he knew it must include working through all three sectors of society; private, public and social. To make the strategy manageable, the sectors were divided into 12 circles of influence called Domains. Each domain has a full-time director who must raise his/her own salary support similar to that of any other missionary. When a domain director’s initiatives within their domains gained sufficient momentum and as partners joined, the director becomes a salaried employee.
4Tucson is a membership based organization. They call their members, partners. Individual Partners are defined as followers of Jesus who are committed to a local congregation and who invest a minimum of $10/month into 4Tucson. Churches, businesses and non-profits invest a minimum of $35/month to become Organizational Partners. 4Tucson also raises financial support through large donors and small grants. This multifaceted funding stream gives 4Tucson an operating budget that employees 11 people, and—perhaps more significantly—invites financial participation from across the whole city. At they grow their partnership strategy will become their primary revenue stream.
How do you motivate people to get involved?
4 Tucson is considered a neutral convener in the city who serves as a catalyst to mobilize and engage Christians to envision and implement biblical solutions for their city’s most difficult and systemic problems. Interestingly, the early adopters to their city transformation model were business people, not local pastors. It took time for pastors to start seeing their city as a mission field. To help pastors move in that direction, for nine consecutive years, 4Tucson facilitated 3-day pastors’ prayer summits each spring. Over time, pastors began to see each other as friends rather than competition. Trust levels between churches soared. While the model started with business people, it is the unity of the Church that is the key to success for a sustainable city movement. Praying together is essential for unity.
You can follow more of the work they are doing at 4Tucson at www.4tucson.com.