Immediately after launching Church Clarity, it was apparent that our mission had struck a pretty significant chord throughout many corners of Christianity. We suddenly had the responsibility of stewarding a unique public resource in many ways that were not as apparent back when it was just an idea.
One of the first things we did with that responsibility was removed the “donate” button from our website. We wanted to avoid the early distraction and knee-jerk habit to quickly “monetize” and create “sustainability” without fully understanding our value proposition. This move was our attempt to ensure our scoring methodology developed without undue external pressures that often accompany financial commitments to young organizations. This move has been an underrated element of our story since inception. But the reality remains: Church Clarity is independent.
We’ve developed and maintained a proprietary scoring methodology, grown an international team of volunteers which currently hovers around the 100 person mark and have scored almost 2,000 churches out of the more than 3,000 that have been submitted. We bootstrapped and self-funded our first 18 months, requiring less than $10,000 to fund our entire operation in 2018.
We are not backed by a special interest group or a denomination. We do not do the bidding of a particular constituency, lobbying group or advocacy consortium. We have a handful of small donors who discovered the obscure “contribute” links we added later, scattering them throughout our site in a way that makes them harder to find than Hillsong’s LGBTQ policies.
Church Clarity was borne out of a genuine desire to address very simple, yet profoundly impactful shortcomings of the church. It has never been about making money or building an empire. Quite the opposite in fact. A new standard of Clarity is redistributing power back into the hands of the people -- the actual church.
Part of what makes Church Clarity transformative is how accessible it is to reasonable people. All of the energy around this work has been fueled by regular folks who are passionate about establishing an increased standard of clarity throughout the church. Most of us who are involved in Church Clarity have had a Christian experience, which makes it easy for us to intuitively understand the practicality of our mission. An ongoing, significant amount of human capital is generously invested in service to seeing these numbers progress every day:
The good news is that when it comes to harmful ambiguity, we have a very solvable problem on our hands.
Although it doesn’t require a lot of money to request clarity, we’re now beginning to take steps to accelerate our progress. We have a better understanding of what Church Clarity is, how it works and why it matters. With this growing insight into our theory of change, we are now confident enough to more formally invite you to contribute financially, more directly than we have in the past. We are now able to direct resources behind focused activity that most effectively executes the tangible elements of our mission. This currently comes down to a singular priority: SCORE MORE CHURCHES
As the database grows, the standard of clarity increases. More churches being scored means more stories of harmful ambiguity emerging, which leads to more pressure on pastors to discontinue misleading tactics. More churches being scored means a higher likelihood that the church you’re looking for pops up when you search for it. We’ve published 2,000 churches and we are just getting started. Imagine what things will look like when we hit 10,000 or 50,000 churches scored.
We created an internal currency called "Clarity Credits," and we issue these to our team members each quarter as a reward for accomplishing various parts of the scoring process. Each credit is worth $1 and credits can then be used in the Clarity Marketplace, where they are also redeemable for cash. It doesn’t amount to a significant dollar amount currently (we’re not encouraging people to quit their day jobs to score churches); it’s more of a gesture of gratitude for their critical labor and an ongoing experiment with a new kind of collaborative ecosystem.
We’d like to increase this incentive, train more volunteers, enhance the marketplace, and use Clarity Credits to accelerate the pace of church scoring, while maintaining our financial independence for an extended period.
Here’s how you can help: Make a financial contribution directly towards Clarity Credits and help accelerate scoring! Internally, these funds will be restricted to issuing Clarity Credits to our team, as a way to reward our team members for scoring churches and approving churches. As this fund grows, we’ll be able to budget for a more expansive incentive for scoring churches, contracting specialized labor and publishing more churches.
P.S. As this concept takes root and technology allows for more innovation, we’ll be exploring opportunities to convert our “Clarity Credits” economy to a crypto-based token on a decentralized blockchain. If you’re an expert in this space and want to help email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our methods will continue to evolve and change, that is a promise. But this current update reflects what is happening right now in this moment and we are excited to continue sharing what we’re learning along the way. We’d love your feedback and are looking forward to hearing any ideas you want to share!
Thanks for your continued support. Click here to contribute today!