If Tree Top, the apple juice company, offered your church a donation for outreach ministries, would you take it? What if Coca-Cola gave a contribution, no strings attached, to your building fund? Or if Budweiser sent a sizable amount for your missions project?
Some of you will consider those questions carefully. Others of you will dismiss them altogether—after all, they pose hypothetical situations that probably won't happen to you.
Back in my elementary school days, teachers largely discouraged hypothetical questions (apparently, considering what would happen if the sun were to blow up wasn't helpful). But these days, I use hypothetical questions to help me evaluate how others might view a situation.
Currently, my church is developing a partnership called SuDance to raise money for an orphanage in war-torn Sudan. While most current aid to Sudan focuses on relief (food and medical supplies), my church wants to build infrastructure there. To help with these efforts, two DJs who are Christians approached my pastor and proposed gathering their buddies—some of the world's most sought-after DJs—to hold fund-raising dance events across the country. The volunteer DJs potentially could raise $100,000—ten times the amount my church collected for Sudan last year. Additionally, at the events the DJs would display photos of Sudanese orphans and ask dance-goers to sponsor individual children.
Here's the rub: These events would be secular gatherings held in venues serving alcohol.1