Introducing “Employ the Body!”


Anyone familiar with my writings on both the business world and the necessity of Christian community knows I have some strong opinions. I’ve been writing for years that we Christians, as much as we talk about community, see our family units as little islands, that while floating in the same Christian sea as other islands, never truly touch. Couple that view with my view on business and you have today’s post, the introduction of a solution to some of that disconnectedness.

I’ve added a page to Cerulean Sanctum. You can see it up top. It’s called Employ the Body!

Employ the Body! is my attempt to help Christian freelancers (like yours truly), the self-employed, or those who own small businesses, leverage the power of the Web to help generate business. It’s also my way of increasing the Google Page Rank for those who would otherwise wind up buried in a sea of Google results should someone type in graphic designer or mechanic.

I’m offering this page as a free opportunity for you to link your business’s Web site on a blog with a large readership. No strings. No cost. No hidden gotchas. To get listed, you need to meet the following requirements:

You are a freelancer, self-employed, or the owner of a small business.

You are a born-again Christian.

You are a commenter on Cerulean Sanctum or have emailed me outside of blogging. In other words, I need to recognize your name. (The exception to the rule concerns spouses. If you are a regular commenter or emailer but your spouse isn’t, he/she still has a connection through you, so his/her business can be listed here. Spouses must also be born-again to qualify.)

Any business is welcome so long as it is legitimate. I will add additional business classifications to the page as necessary. (I do reserve the right to reject a listing that I deem inappropriate or contrary to the nature of the conversation here at Cerulean Sanctum.)

To be listed, I need your company logo (125 px in height), the name of your company, your name and title, the URL to your Web site, and, if you have one, a LinkedIn profile page link.

Those are the very simple rules.

I do have a request, though. It’s not mandatory, but it makes the whole idea work:

If you wish to be listed here, and you have a blog or Web site, I would gratefully request that you either link to the Employ the Body! page or reproduce the page on your own site in its entirety.

I say that because many small, Christian businesses can’t generate enough links to get a decent Page Rank in Google. In other words, the Internet noise drowns out a legitimate signal. That’s where the backlinking makes a big difference. With more and more people using the Web to locate companies, the difference between success and failure for a small Christian business can be a few dozen clicks. Seriously.

Employ the Body! has the opportunity to help other believers. If you’ve read this blog long enough, you know the improtance of community in tough times. If we can’t help each other, how then can we say that we are the light of the world through Christ living in us?

For those of you reading who aren’t freelancers, self-employed, or small business owners, you can still help your brothers and sisters in Christ who are by linking to the Employ the Body! page on your own blogs or by using the services of the companies listed there. (Understand, though, that I can’t vouch for the services rendered by other parties listed on that page. As with anything, wisdom is called for when dealing with any business, whether it calls itself Christian or not. In other words, your mileage may vary.)

Lastly, many people have asked how they can support me. Some have donated to Cerulean Sanctum, and that’s a huge blessing to my family. I realize, though, that not everyone has the means to do so. That’s perfectlyt understandable. You can help in another way. If you have a blog or Web site, please consider linking to the Employ the Body! page and to my freelance writing and editing business, Ethereal Pen Productions. It would mean a lot to me and to those listed on Employ the Body!

And if you ever need a writer or editor who can make documents sizzle, I’m right here.

Thanks, as always, for supporting the writing at Cerulean Sanctum. Now you have a free way to support other brothers and sisters in Christ, too.


Dan Edelen

Banking on God: Church Finances, Part 1


We work, we give. But what happens to that money once it leaves our wallets and hits the red velvet bullseye of the collection plate?


Well, this poll does a good job showing that most of us know where the money goes. Good for those churches who are clear about their finances. I know mine goes into excruciating detail.

For those few who aren’t getting the whole story, what’s your take on the situation? Why do some churches hide their finances, even when there’s nothing illicit going on? As for those who said that not all line items got equal attention, what expenditures do you believe the church isn’t telling you about?


As befits an active and informed readership, most of you knew what was up with your church’s finances. That’s a good thing. I wish every Christian in this country knew what was up with church expenditures.


In keeping with the state of the stats so far, few had anything bad to say about how their church spent money. Anyone care to share their displeasure and what can be done to resolve it?


If poll respondents are any indication, one church out of three has a negative cash flow. I would love to know (and should have asked) which of the negative responders belonged to a church with less than 200 members and which might actually belong to a megachurch. We assume that megachurches are rolling in dough, but that’s less true, I think, than some would imagine.

For the people who responded that their churches were highly prosperous, what do you believe made them so? And on the opposite end, to those who said their churches were running in the red, what made them that way?


A quarter of you said that money interfered with your church’s mission. In what ways? Not having enough money can put a negative spin on even the best of intentions and lead to a sense of doom within a congregation. Too much money turns a church into Laodiceans.

While it’s nice to see that two-thirds of you feel confident enough to inform your church should you encounter financial hardship, the third who could not…well, you have my condolences. I would hope that we all could. While some of that reluctance may be our own pride, I know that for some of you, the gossip would start flying about you the second you opened your mouth. And that’s a shame. Fear in a church can be a real poison, especially when lack of trust undergirds it.


This surprised me most of all. I’m glad to see that such an astounding number of people could go to their churches and request financial help and get it without strings attached. That’s very heartening.

David Fitch wrote in The Great Giveaway that this is one area that most churches do poorly. From the answers here, a large majority of people go to very generous churches. So perhaps Fitch is wrong.

What say you all?


This must be one of those “only in other people’s churches” questions because I can tell you dozens of gruesome stories about how badly some folks who needed financial help got pummeled by their churches. Each of those stories just breaks my heart.

But evidently, that’s not you folks. That’s good to hear.

So where are all these churches that mistreat their people in this regard? Perhaps it’s a different kind of Christian who gets the cold shoulder, not the kind who visits blogs like this one and answers poll questions about giving. I don’t know. Like I said, I know plenty of examples, some too close for comfort.

I’ll turn this around and ask you all if the runaway majority answer on this question surprised you.



The results on this poll surprised me, too, since I know few churches who have benevolence funds set aside for members. Non-members, outsiders, and folks from the community, yes, but sometimes the flock gets neglected when it comes to the largess.


Given the previous two poll answers, who then is handing out the money in these churches that give it away? Is it simply individuals acting apart from the church, or is it the pastor on his own?

For those who answered that their church has a benevolence fund, if there’s no group overseeing that money, who is doling it out?



I find these last two polls fascinating because they seem to show that people aren’t so interested in spending money on the administration of their church as they are the mission. The decaying remains of HeritageUSAYet how do you have the mission without paying for the administration?

It’s a poser, as the Brits say.

We all want to give to charities that have low overhead, but I’ve got to believe that churches are not such ministries. I’ve seen enough balance books over the years to know that the actual running of the church as business entity saps more funds than most of us realize. I know that my own church has been attempting to pay off its mortgage by adding a premium payment. We also got several thousand dollars upgrade of our sound system.

It’s a tough, tough call, isn’t it, knowing what finances advance the Kingdom and what ones may not? At least not on the surface…

Next post, I’ll give my own take on church expenditures and offer a few ideas for better addressing the mission while spending less on those things that burn in the end.

Stay tuned.

(And if you have a few minutes to pray for my family, I’d appreciate it. Sickness, bad news, and “What next?” have been the orders of the week. Thanks!)


Banking On God: Series Compendium