A Simple Structure for 'A Whole Life'

September 3, 2019

To some of our most supportive friends,

As you know, I am starting a PhD in two weeks time. And so we have been wrestling with the question of what the implications are with regards to our career as faith-missionaries – should we a) cease to be supported as missionaries and instruct those who have been giving to give elsewhere, b) clearly demarcate some part of our lives as ‘our ministry’ which we would continue to receive support for as self-employed charity workers, on top of the course I’ll be doing and the mothering Taryn will be doing, c) suggest that those that have been giving to us to support us continue to give in our direction but now specifically towards a vision of a missional bookshop/house-of-prayer that we would save towards in these four years of academia, and then after I have finished invest into buying a small property to use for the ministry…

(a.) was Taryn’s preference, (b.) was my parents’ advice, and (c.) was my preference – but after suggesting (c.) to several people a couple of months ago and receiving a few words of wise discouragement and no strong words of encouragement, we had thought that maybe (a.) was the right thing. But we haven’t been absolutely sure, and so we had been putting off the final announcement. But this week is the week that we can put it off no more, for next week my brother will be coming to stay and then I start the PhD the following week.

But to our surprise, on Saturday we were with some amazing friends, who know the twists and turns of these last few months, and to our surprise they told us they wanted to start supporting us financially through this upcoming season.

Which has forced us to reconsider. For if God is calling people to support us financially in this next season then the logical corollary is that He is calling us still to be financially supported in this next season.

So the timing of it feels like a word from the Lord to call us to embrace option (b.), and therefore also to clearly define the hours and the purposes and the projects that we are inviting people to (/continue to) support.

So we’ve put together a schedule (attached) showing our proposed hours.

…And we are suddenly thinking of establishing a very simple charity whose purposes would be To advance the biblical Christian faith, to advance education, to advance the relief of poverty, to advance the arts and culture, and any other charitable purposes as the trustees may see fit. – ie. thoroughly broad, though unashamedly rooted in Christian conviction.

The charity would not be intended to receive income or possess property. Funds for volunteering members – ie. me and Taryn – would be collected directly by individual members or channelled through eg. Stewardship. But the charity would give structure and accountability regarding whether and how our various activities might further the objects of the charity, and as such might be considered activities of the charity.

Since it would not receive any income it would not need to be registered, although on the other hand perhaps it could be registered – one can very quickly have an online application made and approved.

We did voice the possibility of something like this as an idea about a year ago, but it hasn’t been very clear since then quite what structure would be appropriate. But now suddenly it does seem clear.

We are thinking the name of the charity should be ‘A Whole Life’ or AWL for short. Because of it being a charity focussed on wholistic Christian charity in all its breadth, and because of it being an aid to us as we attempt to steward the WHOLE of our lives and not stop now serving God in ministry. And because of Ex. 21:5-6 and the AWL through the ear…

And we were wondering if you would be trustees – we need three, probably not including ourselves. I realise this is sudden and perhaps unexpected – and if your answer is ‘yes’, we need to thrash out some initial details quite quickly.

At the start of each quarter, we would submit to you, the trustees, a proposed schedule of ministry activity that you would approve (or not) as our charitable work for AWL. At the end of each quarter, we would submit a written report on the previous quarter as well as a proposal for the forthcoming quarter. This could be done by email. Then, every year we would need to have an Annual General Meeting. This could be by Skype. Trustees would serve terms of a year, and each year, we the members would vote in trustees for the forthcoming year with no limit on serving consecutive terms. This obviously does not preclude other extra interaction/wisdom/feedback as friends and fellow holy mischief-makers. But this hopefully gives a clear and achievable framework of operation.

We are asking you four in particular because in the uncertainty of some of this last season you have demonstrated particular responsiveness, commitment and support to us.

How does all this sound? Let us know, we love you. Peter and Taryn