By Jennifer Johnson
The 25 Group is only a few months old, but its goal is ambitious: to leverage the wealth of American Christians to fund kingdom work around the world.
“It’s crowdsourcing generosity,” says executive director Titus Benton, who also serves as student pastor at Current: A Christian Church in Katy, Texas. “Most people can’t give $20,000 and single-handedly fund an entire project, but a bunch of people each giving $25 a month can make a huge difference.”
The challenge to give $25 ties in nicely with the nonprofit’s name, a reference to Matthew 25; the six needs mentioned there—serving the hungry, the naked, the thirsty, the prisoner, the stranger, and the sick—define the types of projects Benton and his team try to support. Since launching January 1, the ministry and its supporters have given more than $50,000 to build a clean water well and a school/church/nutrition center in India, build a nutrition center in the Dominican Republic, and provide vitamins to all the similar centers in that country. Benton takes no salary for leading the organization and 96 percent of all giving goes to the designated projects.
The ministry, which Benton cofounded and coleads with his wife, Kari, grew out of their conviction that they could sacrifice more to obey Matthew 25’s commands.
“Any time the Bible mentions wealth and prosperity, there’s an obligation attached to it,” he says. “Not everyone is called to the same things. We felt called to sell our house, and not everyone will. There are people who own a house twice as big as ours and give more than we do. The issue is whether I will give up something to save others. The 25 Group is people who have chosen to stop doing nothing just because the questions about ‘how much’ to do are hard.”
The ministry’s tagline is “transforming generosity together,” and Benton hopes the transformation will include not only his innovative funding model, but also the way we think about some of these questions.
“We have this idea that poverty is a curse,” Benton says. “What if it’s a blessing? Jesus says anyone who does these things ‘for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine’ is blessed. There’s something wrong when we’re not willing to share with our brothers and sisters in Christ.”
Benton hopes to fund four to six more projects in 2014 and continue growing the donor base of regular monthly givers. Learn more at www.the25group.org.