I recently visited the unique and beautiful campus of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It made a big impression on me because of the scope of the vision that Oral Roberts had for the university and how much effort must have gone into the formation of it.
The reason I am writing about it here on this post about earning income online, is that it made me look at the “Payback” idea in all endeavors and in business.
Although I have to say that the concept of the university is extremely compelling, the people I met there were unbelievably open, easy to talk to, and above all welcoming, and that the campus projects an optimism and peacefulness that is palpable, it made me also think about the way in which funds were raised for its construction.
But, at the end of the day, the question is whether it was worth it and is it going to have a lasting impact?
I have to say that yes it was worth it, and that yes it can have a lasting impact.
The student population is only around 4,000 and the campus has a small number of buildings, most of which are interesting architecturally, which in my view gives it high marks to begin with.
So whether it will grow and endure, is questionable, and the other question is, should it grow?
Sometimes I think the idea that things always have to get larger is not necessarily good. A university consisting of 4,000 students, can concentrate on each student more than a university of 30,000. However, a university of 30,000 can offer students a broader spectrum of areas of study, facilities, and networking possibilities than a small college can.
As in anything there will be pluses and minuses.
So, I have concluded that it is worthwhile, and the vision is pure and inspiring. It is touching to visit the campus and be welcomed. So, regardless of how it was done, the end result is overwhelmingly positive in my view.
Although, I must admit, a one day visit doesn’t give me the behind the scenes view at all, if it is a cult-like environment or if there is a lot of pressure put on the students in a religious/social way.
However, like I said, the students, the faculty, and the people we met on campus all seemed happy, well adjusted and balanced. It was rather laid back and I liked that a lot.
Obviously you have to raise a lot of money to build a university from scratch, especially if you aren’t asking the taxpayers for it.
Oral Roberts was an evangelical, United Methodist turned Pentecostal preacher, who worked in areas of faith healing and the elevated emotional/spiritual way of worshipping God.
I’ll admit I have trouble with the over emotionalized way of worshipping because to me the spirit world is peaceful and not stirred up by passions, which could lead to fanaticism and a cult types of manic behaviors.
But, that is not the issue here.
The issue is “Monetary” in nature. In the Bible it would be called “Mammon.”
Mammon, in the New Testament of the Bible is commonly thought to mean money, material wealth, or any entity that promises wealth, and is associated with the greedy pursuit of gain. The Gospels of Luke and of Matthew both quote Jesus using the word in a phrase often rendered in English as “You cannot serve both God and mammon.”
So as you can see there is a conflict here with Oral Roberts and much of the evangelistic activities that go on almost exclusively in the United States.
The world of tele-evangelism is powerful in the United States. It is not by accident that some of the most famous evangelists in the United States actually matriculated from Oral Roberts University.
Names like Joel Osteen and Kenneth Copeland are names that are well known in the area of Tele-Evangelism.
Joel Osteen’s net worth is estimated at about $18 million dollars, and Kenneth Copeland is at around $25 million. Obviously there are others that you see on television too that have amassed fame and fortune through a multitude of resources. But, all of it in using the name of God and Jesus as their justification.
Now, television has been a weekly part of my home church’s ministry here in Bowling Green, Kentucky. But, it is simply a broadcast of the church service so people who can’t make it to church can be a part of it too. I can’t remember how long this has been happening, but it is a great service to the community and I believe is the way television should be used for religion.
The “Seed Faith” based ministry is very much related to “Monetary Prosperity”. The idea is that when you “Give to the Lord, He will multiply that gift back to you in monetary prosperity.”
So, basically, what “Seed Faith” ministries do is they ask people for money to do the work of the Lord, and they will be given monetary prosperity in return for it. Basically, if you give “God” money, he will return it to you “7 Fold.”
It is the idea of feeding the thousands. You take a couple of loaves of bread, some fish, a cask of wine, and turn it into enough to feed thousands. It is a famous parable in the teachings about Jesus.
Now, as much good as this idea may do, nothing Jesus said or did was about the world. Jesus used worldly examples, stories, parables, to illustrate spiritual ideas. What Jesus didn’t do, was take the spiritual teachings and metaphor the spirit in terms of worldly, monetary, or physical gain.
Jesus used worldly examples that everyone understands to illustrate the spiritual world. He didn’t justify the worldly by doing this, he was just making a point.
Oral Roberts, and all of these “Seed Faith” tele-evangelists from Billy Graham to the modern day Osteens of the world, have basically turned the “Temple” into a place to make a lot of money, create huge mind controlled followings, and created a fanaticism in religion that was never intended by Jesus.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I guess it is a good thing that Jesus can make folks money and it is certainly better than dealing drugs, but the point is this…
…They are saying that when you do what God says, what Jesus says, what “I” say, follow Him, Them, Us, with all your soul, heart, and money, then you will have financial success.
Send in your money, for a book, for the ministry, for a video, to get this magazine AND you will be “blessed not only in the spirit but also financially.”
So, my pointing out of this isn’t to judge it, but to make a point, to ask questions, to determine and evaluate the entire concept of “PAYBACK” as a motivator in business.
The question is,
“If the basic motivator behind purchasing anything is to make money, is that right?”
The only way money is created is through sales profit. In a free capitalistic society it is the goal of that society to create more money, more security, and more prosperity for its people.
By creating prosperity society can organize a great civilization where the needs of all are met, that there is law and order, that there is a common understanding of living fairness, and that everyone has the right to live a free and happy life on their terms.
So, this whole system of capitalism is designed to create products and services which better the lives of the people in many different ways and through this shared effort all needs are met and everyone has something meaningful to do.
When I look at “Affiliate” products and programs, I have to wonder if the number one motivator is the thing itself, or is it the compensation model that is the most valuable thing about it.
In creating a Membership based affiliate website, where everyone pays a regular monthly fee, and can earn regular monthly commissions as long as they and their sponsored members continue, I have to ask the question whether people would want to spend money on it if they didn’t earn any income from it at all?
Then the question becomes, should one ditch the affiliate idea altogether and just create the product as it is and see if it is worthy of the market or not, then add the affiliate program later if need be?
The reason I believe in Affiliate Marketing is that it gives those who aren’t able to build their own business to be able to earn income selling something they themselves would have created if they could have.
The thing is this, if you look at the “Seed Faith” idea of “payback” for your donations “To the church and to God/Jesus” you have to wonder whether it would have been just as effective to be honest about it and say, “If you want to donate to the vision of what I am building because you agree with it, then send in your donation of $25 today, we really appreciate your trust in us.”
But to say, “If I don’t get this money before the end of the month, then God will strike me down and I will die because I failed him…” then that is simply wrong.
When I look at organizations like AARP retirement site and program, AAA Travel Club and other such organizations, they charge a minimal fee for membership, then different levels of services with those memberships. But, because of the force of numbers, they are able to negotiate discounts to their members in ways that members wouldn’t otherwise be able to have because they are a member of a large organization.
The members don’t make money from these organizations, but they do “save” money with them while also sharing valuable content about issues surrounding the market group.
At the end of the day though, it all comes down to…
“…a lot of people, giving a little bit, to a central cause, religion, business, or person, which makes it possible to make a lot of money.”
The truth of capitalism is that money flows from the bottom up. The consumer pays the provider.
If you want to be financially successful, you have to learn to be the provider of something consumers want, and as many as possible.
To become financially successful, you have to have as many people contributing to your cause either as an employee, a volunteer, a benefactor, an affiliate, an investor, or simply as a media voice.
The question really isn’t which you should choose, but how can you make it possible to do what you want to do, be a positive force in the world, be transparent, and above all, deliver on your promises.
The Payback in life may be deserved, but it shouldn’t be promised. That is a lie.