Money, it's a touchy subject, no? I have come across very few people in my 29 years of life who enjoy the subject, especially when we are talking about their money, how they use it, how much they have, what they should or should not do with it. See, just typing this my tummy is tightening, I too hate the subject of money. However I have had to spend the last 15 months or so thinking a lot about money. Part of being a missionary (for most missionaries) is raising support. (knot in stomach) It is not a part that many I have met relish. But ReachGlobal does a really good job of educating us on support raising, not just how to do so, but also why we do so. We spend a few weeks studying scripture on missionary support and we attend a Support Raising Boot Camp. (sounds like fun, huh?)
For me, the Bible studies, and Boot Camp took place months ago and to be honest I thought that I would be finished raising support and living and serving in Rome by now. So now at month 15 I felt the need to revisit my lessons. And as I did I remembered that when I first read these verses and did these studies that I thought it would be great if churches and believers knew this stuff too. Somehow I wished they would know, and a few months back I even wrote a letter to the President of ReachGlobal suggesting that they offer a course online for church leaders and missionary committees. Hmmm... they said it was a good plan, but I am guessing like me it was not on the top of their priority list. Now at month 15 it is on the top of mine. And I have a blog. And a faithful, albeit not real vocal group of readers. Why not get a discussion started here? Maybe, I should disregard that knot in my gut, and my uncomfortableness discussing finances and just get the conversation going.
To be honest the question that got be back into the heart of why we raise support is one I have heard voiced again and again, and while I Knowwhy I have to raise so much money, I remembered that you may not. So lets chat. But here are some guidelines, so no one ends up hurt and offended. Please come at this with a desire to learn, please treat others comments as you would want yours treated, and above all when in doubt, ask. Ask others, ask God.
Okay so here we go...
Here are some scriptures and some questions I have already had the privilege of spending much time with, please read and think and respond...
1. Is it Biblical to be supported by others to do the work of God? Would it be better if missionaries were self-supporting?
- Numbers 18:14, 21-24
- Luke 8: 1-3
- 1 Corinthians 9:1-18
- Philippians 4:10-20
- Acts 18:1-5
- 1 Thessalonians 2:9
- Acts 20: 33-35
- 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12
2. “I enjoy raising support for others but not for myself.” Is it biblical for missionaries to make financial appeals for their own ministry?
- Romans 15:20-24
- 2 Corinthians 1:16
- 1 Corinthians 16:5-6
- 1 Kings 17:1-6
3. "many missionaries and I would say churches have had a hard time getting support from younger generations" (thankfully not me!) How do we change this?
4. Is it ok to make financial appeals to those who are not as well off as you? How about those who already give heavily?
- 2 Corinthians 9:7
- Philippians 4:17
- Deuteronomy 16:17
- 2 Corinthians 8:2-3
- Luke 21:1-4
5. At what standard should missionaries/or those working in full time ministry set their lifestyles?
- Matthew 11:18-19
- Proverbs 30:8-9
- 1 Corinthians 8:7-13
- 1 Timothy 5:17-18
6. If a missionary or pastor or youth pastor can get by in life and ministry at 80 percent of budget, should he/she be required to reach or be paid 100 percent?
- Proverbs 6:6-11
- Proverbs 13:22
- Proverbs 21:20
- Proverbs 30:24-25
And one answer I would like to give to a question that I keep on getting asked..."Why do you have to raise so much money? You are going to get paid more than most people I know"
Allow me to clarify...Yes I along with most other ReachGlobal Missionaries, especially those serving outside of a third world country do have to raise a hefty sum of money. No, it is not just our salary. For example, I am responsible to raise $6285 a month. That money covers yes my salary, and my housing, but also my training, the ministry we run in Rome, office and technology. Plus, if you have ever owned a business or are self employed or have worked in HR you know that what you pay someone is not what it costs to hire that person. There is heath-care, retirement, taxes and social security that all need to be raised. Believe me when I say that ReachGlobal does their homework. They know what it takes to keep a missionary on the field long term. It is not cheep. It is especially not cheep in Rome. However, I firmly believe that just because a city has money and a people group is living in a first world country and it will cost more to send missionaries there is not a valid list of reasons not to share the good news with those who need to hear it.
I really do hope that you will take some time to read some questions and scripture, and respond...I hope that you will take this discussion further and start looking at how and why your church "does missions" like they do.
One of the biggest shockers for me in raising support is the lack of support churches give. And while a few have been welcoming and generous, the majority of churches have not even returned phone calls or emails. I cannot stress enough that it is clear from this end of things that The Church in America has lost sight of the Great Commission. Even those who give financially to many missionaries are very rarely truly invested in the work of spreading the Gospel. Raising support is just that, Support, not just money, not just for me, but for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.