As a teenager I was a hardcore Christian, and eventually found myself working for the not-for-profit Christian organization “Youth With a Mission” (YWAM). The real kicker, I had to pay to work with them. Now that I’m older, I wish it’d been me that had come up with such a clever scam. YWAM does host schools based out of it’s Christian “college” in Hawaii, most of which is unaccredited.
I did my Discipleship Training School (DTS, this organization loves acronyms) in Las Vegas, Nevada. After which I joined the staff there for about two years, and working a real job was incredibly discouraged. We had to raise our own money, in other words: we took others hard-earned money and sat around doing not much of anything. The schools run around $2,000 a person, that pays for three months worth of Christian lecturing and the two months you’ll spend in a distant country preaching about Jesus–I went to Burma and Thailand. It’s worth noting that the “teachers” came up with all their own lecturing, and it didn’t have to be peer reviewed, it didn’t have to add up, sometimes it just didn’t make sense at all–you just had to be popular, and fill a weeks worth of time to get paid.
Don’t let me mislead you, there are ministries that really do help people, but those I worked with had to be dragged kicking and screaming just to help feed people, who used your money to buy themselves, condos, cars, and clothed their kids in Abercrombie. The founder of YWAM uses his money to travel and speak, and write shitty books about god. Meanwhile I could only raise about $300 a month. I had to pay the organization $118 every month just to be there, and $2000 when there was a school I wanted to help lead. Thanks folks, you paid for a huge vacation, several in fact, and a trip to Tijuana, where me and a few others got utterly shit-faced. The bartender blew his whistle as he produced a Tequila fountain, which I happily consumed as he shook me violently. We killed our handovers on the coast of San Diego and talked about the awesomeness of god.
I know the whole thing’s shit, but at the time I was so diluted, I thought I was serving god. I don’t want to know what happens with the untold millions of other dollars. None of it is taxed, so most of it’s probably going to bullshit.