Becoming
Caring Christian solutions to life's tough problems

Programs of Family Life, Personal & Spiritual Growth, Study  Skills,
& Educational Enrichment
Cyberspace Ministry

(C) 2003, Don Mize
What are you doing with your time? Donít have enough of it?

What if I could show you a way to spend a little time in a way that could
make a big difference?  No meetings.  No hassles.  Do it any hour of the day or night. No fees, dues, or hidden costs.

You will be in control, and you can quit anytime you donít think itís worth it.

Yet, it is the chance to be part of something big,
something that can make a difference in the world, and something that can help people find the abundant life Jesus promised.

Ministry in cyberspace

The article Ministry in Cyberspace outlines why cyberspace should be thought of as a new dimension of reality, similar to and yet different from physical space.  One similarity is that cyberspace (the world of online computer networks) is composed of people.  Each person brings into cyberspace the same basic questions: Who am I? What am I doing here?  Where am I going?  The same spiritual issues remain: Where are you? Am I my brotherís keeper? What have you done? Do you want to be made whole?

What can I do?

The time has come
to restructure the ministry of Becoming.  While we will continue a local ministry in the Crockett area, the time has come to expand our ministry into all the world through cyberspace.

However, this will require more expertise and knowledge than I have.

Thus, borrowing from ideas I have used in the past (and which have always worked), I am
looking for some people help me develop cyberspace projects.

Interested people will
choose a Core Group.  The Core Group will then work with me to develop projects, estimate costs of each project, present the projects and budget requests to our Board of Directors in January 2004, and then formally launch a cyberspace ministry.

I am looking for people to serve on the following Core Groups: Outreach (presenting the gospel to people who have little or no knowledge of the Christian faith), Education, Family Life, Students, and Spiritual Growth.

The Board of Director will serve as a
Finance Committee, although we will be transparent through monthly reports on our web page so each person can know how much money is coming in and how it is being spent.  Questions will always be welcome.

Mission Statement

In
1983 Becoming, Inc. was incorporated (filed in the office of the Secretary of State of Texas on December 19, 1983).  In the Articles of Incorporation the purposes of the organization are as follows:  

           The
specific and primary purpose is to conduct
           a
Christian counseling and spiritual growth ministry
           through
individual counseling and group seminars;
           the
publication of related literature; and the
          
dissemination of information relating to spiritual
           growth
in the available media.

Becoming is a 501 (c) (3) Tax Exempt organization, ID. # 75-1943652.

On August 30, 2001, we received from the office of the Secretary of State of Texas our Certificate of Amendment to
change the name from Becoming, Inc. to Becoming--Caring Christian Solutions to Lifeís Problems (File no. 684040-01).

Thus,
for twenty years we have pursued the incorporated purposes, and now we need to restructure our working organization, involve more people in the ministry, and reach out into cyberspace.

We do not have membership.  No dues, fees, or complications are involved for you to become involved in helping plan, make decisions, and carry out these cyberspace projects

How will it work?

You choose a Core Group, email me your choice, and I will add you to the list of people in that Core Group.  You might have some ideas you want to share in your initial email.

Also, please
review the section at Current Program and Budget to see our current work.  I need your help now.

I am working on the following
deadline schedule:

          November      Enlist Core Groups, start receiving ideas,
                               shaping projects and budget estimates.

          December      Through email exchanges, finalize projects
                               and budget estimates.  Core group members
                               will vote on which projects to submit.

          January          Meet with the Board of Directors, present
                               projects and budget requests.

          February        Work with the Core Groups to carry out the
                               projects as funds become available. Becoming
                               has always worked on the principle
                               of a balanced budget and will continue to
                               do so.  Usually one or two months a year
                               in the past I have not taken my salary in
                               order to balance the budget, although I
                               cannot continue to do so in the future due
                               to changes in my family financial situation.

          2004             Work with Core Groups to carry out the
                               projects.

          October         Start the process over again.

Is this a new idea?

In
taking a long look, I have for years worked toward using the Internet effectively in our ministry.  Now is the time to launch a cyberspace ministry.

By using email, we can
avoid many of the hassles involved in physical space.  You can communicate with me at your convenience, no matter your work or school schedule.  We donít need any buildings.  The ministry can be carried out with our current office space and equipment.

Many
decisions will be made at the Core Group level through voting.  Unless you have information and control over your area of work, I cannot expect you to stay involved.

What does God want us to do? That is the basic question. Remember, this is a Christian ministry.

What about my privacy?

We will not share or sell your information.

My
email to you will be only to you, or else I will email Becoming and include your email address in the BBC (Blind Carbon Copy) option.  Thus, I can email a Core Group and keep your personal email address from showing up on the screen.

I am not a
chat room or message board person to date, so I need your help in knowing how to set up many formats we can use to protect privacy while involving people in discussions.

Also, if people on a Core Group
want to share email, we can do so.  You can be as public or private as you like.

Where will the money come from?

If
people are involved in the detailed planning, if they have real power in decision-making, if they believe in the projects, and if the financial reports are transparent, people will find the money.

We have always had
a few people make donations to Becoming, and those extra donations have kept the ministry going for twenty years.  We have always maintained a policy of not turning people away for financial reasons. The one exception I made (because of pressure to make the ministry pay for itself) probably resulted in a young man going to prison.  I have been haunted by that, and I will never do it again.

We are a
501 (c) 3 organization, so contributions are tax deductible.  Check with your tax advisor if you have questions about your contributions being tax-deductible.  We will provide a statement of your giving for the year during February upon request.

A balanced budget

You should know at the beginning that
we will only do projects as funds become available.  We will balance the budget.  In the past I have skipped taking my salary when cash flow sagged, but I canít continue to do that due to changes in my family situation.

Any ministry, no matter how lofty the ideals, must work in a world where
bills come due.  We have an obligation as a part of our Christian witness not to steal from people by withholding money due.

Take an example of how it will work

Since the need for restructuring Becoming became apparent, I have shared the need with a few people, outlined the options, and asked for prayer.

One lady, who knows a great deal about
how to apply for grants, has already approached me with her interest.  She has the knowledge and expertise to guide us in the process.  Perhaps she will be interested enough to actively work in a Core Group.

Another example

Take the
Education area.  Locally, we offer classes, seminars, and groups from time to time.  Why not do that online?

We offer
Bible studies from time to time.  Why not do that online?

By
pooling our knowledge, I am sure we can develop workable online formats with a reasonable cost.  Of course we have the option of asking people to make a donation to participate in certain online classes, studies, etc.  However, if we want to reach people, we
will cover most of the ongoing costs of projects through general donations.

About making people pay

Would you buy a ticket to go to church?

Do you read anywhere in the gospels where a man came up to
Jesus and asked for healing only to be asked, ďVisa, Mastercard, or American Express?Ē

Last week, because of an article I wrote, I received two phone calls from two
individuals involved in a crisis.  The smart marketing thing to do would have been to schedule an appointment only after I made sure each could pay.  However, when a person is drowning,
I have a problem making him buy the rope before I pull him out.  Both needed help immediately, and each phone call came at a time when I could spend a few minutes with each person.  Both were helped and left the conversation with a plan of action.

I would
rather cover the cost through general donations and make services available at little or no cost. Perhaps those who benefit will join us in ministry and through donations help sustain projects.  Remember, anyone is welcome to join a Core Group and be an active part of the ministry.

Are you a control freak?

The only thing I want to do (at least at the beginning) is stick with the online program I have managed to set up and understand.  Currently, we use yahoo.com for our web hosting, and I am becoming familiar with Yahoos tools and resources.

Some of you will surpass me in technical knowledge and will possibly even offer to take over and do things.  While
I believe in delegating, my years of working with volunteers taught me that over time volunteers lose interest.  The person who dedicated hours of
service may become ill, have a crisis in the family, loose a job, or otherwise be unable to continue.  Thus,
to sustain a ministry, I need to understand it, be able to do it, and develop it in a way that if someone looses interests, the ministry can continue.

Iím really not a control freak, but nothing is more sad that to develop a good ministry and have it crumble because someone loses interest or can no longer devote the time. 
Delegating something you understand and/or can pay for is one thing.  Delegating
something you donít understand and/or cannot afford to purchase is another.


What else?

No ministry fails for lack of ideas.  You can take any group of people, put them in a room, and come up with ideas that will change the world, make life better, and solve a pressing problem.

Ministries fail because of
a lack of execution.  The devil is truly in the details.  To offer an online Bible study is a good idea.

Letís look at the details.  To whom?  How will we reach them?  How do we set up the format online to keep it friendly?  What about materials?  How to develop them?  Should we charge?  How much?  Can we reach people better if we donít charge?  What do we
hope to accomplish?  What about feedback, interaction?  Will people want to share?  What about message boards?  How do you set up an online discussion group?  How much will it cost us?  How much are we willing to spend on advertising?  What is the most effective
way to reach and enlist people on the Internet? Etc.

I am sure that our Core Groups will have many good ideas about areas in which we can offer online formats. 
Also, we can work out the details together.  Your knowledge, insight, reactions, and expertise are key.

Youíre an expert

If you are a 30-year-old single mom with two children, you are an expert on 30-year-old single moms with two children.  You know your problems, what you can afford, what turns you off, and what your needs are.  You are an invaluable resource in helping set up,
maintain, and carry out a cyberspace ministry.

Why Core Groups are essential

Things work better if they are created from the bottom up, are based on the insights of real people, and meet the needs of real people.

Some of you will have expertise and knowledge in technical areas (I bet someone reading this knows how to set up an online discussion group; I donít).  But
everyone is an expert on being himself/herself. The fifteen year old student, the 45 year old businessman, the 29 year old mother all can help design formats that speak to people.

I learned something that always worked in developing programs:
as different as we individually are, others are like us.  If something appeals to you, others feel the same.  If you have a need, others share that same need.  If something turns you off, others will
respond similarly.  By encouraging people to be who they are and to give feedback,
formats that work can be developed.

Where to start

Think of yourself, your knowledge of the Internet, what needs you have.  Help me develop a project that will meet your needs online, and we will have something that will meet the needs of others.  As we involve them in discussion and feedback, we will develop a workable ministry.

You can make a difference

This ministry is needed.  Cyberspace is a real as physical space.  People in cyberspace are seeking the abundant life Jesus promised.

If you would like to
sign up for a Core Group, click here to write me an email and tell me which Core Group you want to serve on.  Share any ideas you have. Review our Current Projects and make suggestions we can implement now.

The initial Core Groups to choose from are as follows:
Outreach (presenting the gospel to people who have little or no knowledge of the Christian faith), Education, Family Life, Students, and Spiritual Growth.
Yes, I want to work on a core group.
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