As we enter the season of Lent we come together to mourn the current world. Sunday and the Resurrection are coming, but they’re not here yet.

Support Raising is broken. The way we raise money for missions and church planting is rife with systemic injustice. Women and minority staff continue to struggle, and are told that it is their fault. Told that they’re not spiritual enough, or not qualified enough, or don’t work hard enough, or can’t hear God well enough.

Stories from around the country illustrate the ways these injustices play out in the daily lives of staff members under the current system of raising financial support:

Minority staff come home from college campuses at the end of the day and go to bed hungry because they don’t have enough money to buy food.

An Ethnic minority staff member lives in a home without electricity because they can’t afford to pay the bill. And yet they are told to trust God and continue to persevere in a system that wasn’t built for them.

Ethnic minority parachurch ministers drive for Uber after a long days work to make ends meet, while majority culture parachurch ministers are able to afford down payments for their homes.

Lord, we grieve these realities.

The promise of Easter is that a new day is coming. The resurrection will happen. The first will be last and the last will be first.

But today is not that day. Today is Ash Wednesday. Today we mourn a ministry funding system that discourages, disadvantages, and dehumanizes ethnic minorities and women for the sake of organizational numerical growth. We’ve wanted the size of our ministries (and budgets) to expand and we haven’t paid attention to whether or not the staff participating are flourishing or not. We’ve pursued growth and flourishing has not followed.

In our Evangelical culture we are often quick to silence grieving. Women, ethnic minorities, and White ministers without key relational networks have long groaned for justice, but our optimism leaves no place for mourning the status quo they lament. But without grieving current reality a new future cannot be birthed. Solutions to support raising injustice will only come after grieving and mourning.

So today we repent. We acknowledge the broken systems and lament the ways we’ve ALL contributed to them. We pray for God to come quickly and restore His shalom. We pray that we would be broken for our broken systems.

May we rend our hearts today.

May we suffer when another part of the Body suffers.

May we repent and believe the Gospel.

May we remember that from dust we came and to dust we shall return.

May we mourn with those who mourn.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon us sinners.