12 Things UBF Taught Me (5)

d5“A spirit of giving” – This means to support youself. Be independent. Don’t look to other people for help. Don’t have a beggar mentality. Give, even when you are poor. Be a “tent-maker” like Apostle Paul. This heritage point is derived mostly from verses in the bible such as “You give them something to eat.” (Matthew 14:16) and “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35).

A self-supporting spirit

“At the beginning of UBF ministry, Koreans were accustomed to receiving something from others. After the American G.I.s came to Korea, the first English expression they learned was, “Hello, give me chocolate, give me gum.” The Korean government could decide its annual budget only after the American Congress approved of the amount of aid to Korea. In addition, Korea received aid of a large amount of food and goods. Soon we began to think that we could not survive without receiving aid from others. In this atmosphere, the UBF ancestors struggled furiously to overcome Korean fatalism, to learn the spirit of giving and to live the life of giving.”

“Then a remarkable and historical event in UBF history happened. In 1963, one day when we needed to print something, Mother Barry suggested that we collect the expenses from students. Then Dr. Samuel Lee rebuked her, saying, “How do you expect poor students to pay for it? Since you are rich, you pay for everything.” But Mother Barry insisted, “We must collect it for the sake of education.” Their argument continued until Mother Barry broke into tears.”

“That night Dr. Samuel Lee could not sleep because he made a woman cry. He began to read the Bible. He realized a great lesson that the Bible teaches. God gave his One and Only Son for sinners. Jesus also came to this world and gave everything for sinners and finally gave his own life for us. Jesus taught his disciple a giving spirit, saying, “You give them something to eat.” Apostle Paul accepted Jesus’ word, “It is more blessed to give then to receive,” and practiced a giving life and became a self-supporting missionary.”

source: ubf history

Forced giving

“In May 1966, the world mission offering work had enrolled 162 members. With this offering we could procure centers at Jeonju, Daejun, Daegu and Seoul and send out shepherds. There is a legendary event at the time of pioneering Daejun. One day Dr. Samuel Lee visited the Daejun UBF center and took out the door of the Kwangju UBF center and loaded it to a truck in order to give it to Daejun UBF. One man who saw this got angry at Dr. Samuel Lee that Dr. Lee took out the door without discussing with him.”

source: ubf history

The good, bad and ugly

Good (keep it)

– As the bible says, it is indeed better to give than to receive.

Bad (change it)

– The bible does not say “never receive”. All human beings need both giving and receiving. Leadership requires sabbatical-type periods of inactivity.

– Realize and accept that we are not living in 1960’s war-torn Korea.

– Realize that in many countries where Korean missionaries have gone for ubf, they have much more than “5 loaves and 2 fish”. Don’t break them down until they pretend to have nothing when they have much.

Ugly (stop it)

– Stop treating human beings like perpetual resources. Stop squeezing the lifeblood, the energy, the creativity, the happiness out of ubf members. Stop suffocating students.

– Stop demanding the money and other resources to flow into a headquarters chapter. HQ has a “hands off” approach to satellite chapters, expecting them to give to the central chapter. In other words, support the self-supporters.

– Stop forcing people to give and to sacrifice. People will be far more willing to give when they choose to do so of their own accord. Stop doing illegal activity in order to “bless” and “help” people.






  1. The good: Giving is good. God gave his Son. Even Hollywood celebrities give to charity and humanitarian causes. Truly giving for the benefit of others brings glory to God and joy and satisfaction to ourselves since we could be a blessing to others.

    The bad: God gave. God also receives our praise, worship and thanksgiving. If we give and do not receive, we stifle and stunt our own growth and maturity. We might even think that we are better than others because we give.

    The ugly: As with all the core values and legacies, the ugly seems to be similar in that they can cause UBF people to be elitist with a (false) sense of superiority and hubris over others who do not do what UBF does. Just because we may give while others receive, it really does not make the giver superior or better or more deserving or worthy than the recipient. Before God, who alone is righteous, all of us are equal sinners before Him.

    • big bear

      GIVING IS GOOD IF you are giving to a healthy ministry….receiving is good as well..keeps you real and humble…my director always rebuked me and checked our offerings…..I got so afraid that often I gave out of force instead of cheerfully….often could not buy groceries for family

  2. Joe Schafer

    Under the leadership of SL, it was assumed that whenever you experienced a positive major life event — graduating from college, getting a good job, getting married, etc. — you were suppose to show your thankfulness to God by giving a large monetary offering to UBF. (Always to UBF. Giving to another organization or cause didn’t count.) And you were supposed to make large offerings at every Christmas worship service and every conference. Students who gave large offerings were openly praised and held up as exemplary. Those who didn’t give, or who gave amounts that weren’t considered large enough, might be singled out by SL and rebuked privately by their shepherd or by SL in front of everyone at leaders’ meetings on Monday night and Friday night.

    I hope that this abusive practice has been stopped. But I fear it still may be happening in many ubf chapters around the world.

    • Mark Mederich

      blessed are the abused for they shall rise above on eagle’s wings:)
      ‘money makes the world go around’ (liza minelli/cabaret)
      nothing new under the sun…may God help us all fear God Alone, overcome world/controlling systems with His help, & experience Holy Spirit Fruit

    • Joe,

      It is painful to recall such things, but I too experienced and also witnessed the same assumptions and expectations. Once all the leaders in my chapter were called together and rebuked for not reaching the Christmas offering goal.

      I was part of the Offering Committee for many years, and my wife was bookkeeper for awhile. But nobody (including myself) saw the clear violation of integrity this presented.. a husband and wife team…one counts, the other keeps the books? That should never happen.

      And yes a “spirit of giving” was never taught to me as including giving to people or organizations outside of the ubf world. As you say, giving “to another organization or cause didn’t count.” This “giving spirit” heritage point is inward focused. The reflief offerings mentioned in the history are most likely real, but so small that they really can only be a facade, meant to give the appearance of giving outside of ubf. [It is interesting to note that this heritage point is expanded upon in the 50th Anniversary book to become “social responsibility”. ubf does run a hospital called Bethsesda, but even that seems to be also a front for making ubf recruits.

      So even though ubf is accredited by the ECFA, that really only applies to the Chicago chapter, and not to the satellite chapters and certainly not to the international chapters.