MISSIONARY CARE:FINANCIAL SUPPORT
QUESTION From: Chris: Is there something wrong with this picture? ...missions policy only allows for the support of members of the church... Most churches support their missionary-members at less than 100%, an average of 1% to 10%... I would appreciate feedback on this issue and some discussion and analysis of the current "faith" system of supporting missionaries.
ANSWER From: John Burgess <email@example.com> At UHBC we are hoping to support missos between 60 and 80% from a funding structure within the church - we are working on a new funding structure now. The complement will come from friends and family outside the part of the church that the missos call 'home'. We are still struggling with the spiritual maturity, generational and socio-economic differences that are represented within this small part of God's church that meets at the UHBC, to most effectively ensure outward (missionary) focus will become a crucial part of the Christianity that is portrayed here, rather than a peripheral interest of the 'Super-Spiritual'. (The UHBC outworking portrays similarities with an older generations mindset than is a reality because of the conservatism of the local area within which the church lives.) We as a part of Gods church are taking responsibility for partnering the missos with an agency and providing financial support, a la Neal Pirolo 'Serving as Senders'.
ANSWER From: Neal Pirolo <Neal_Pirolo@eri.org> The subject you raise has had people struggling since the time of Paul, the Apostle! I imagine (though it is not specifically written about in Scripture), the disciples had some things to say about our Master's instruction of not taking anything with them on their ministry trips! In addition to what Paul said about it in his Letters, an article on Faith Giving put out by the People's Church in Toronto, Canada, is great. Chapter Five, in our book SERVING AS SENDERS, and a segment in a tape series, BUILDING YOUR SUPPORT TEAM, would shed additional light on the subject.
ANSWER From: Doug Davidson <75402.104@CompuServe.COM> You are right, the picture stinks. I think the way we do missions is the pits and far less than second or third best. I am looking to find a better way. I am presently a missions pastor in a significant church which is a missionary church. We have moved to supporting only those who have come through our church. Currently we have 5 great missionary candidate couples and one single. It is our goal to move toward supporting fewer missionaries at a greater level (25 to 50%). We aren't there yet but will get there, Lord willing. In turn, we will expect a greater accountability from the missionaries. We want them to come home and virtually be on staff as a missionary in residence on a part time basis. We do not want them to be run ragged visiting hundreds of individuals and churches. I would like to see them get an even greater % from us, but we will have to see if that will be feasible.
Before coming on staff at the church where I am now, I served in a tentmaker capacity in Asia. Loved it. Would love to still be doing it. That brings me to one suggestion. I am utterly convinced more missionaries need to move toward a tentmaking status 1) to get into otherwise restricted countries and 2) to free them from raising so much support. Paul did it. Moravians did it. The "faith" missions business of having each individual raise their own support is sad. As a missions pastor, I get dozens of requests every month. It is so tiresome. I have a hard time not being cynical.
Second suggestion. Do what the C&MA do. That was my background before coming to this church and I still think they are the best missions movement.
Third suggestion. Start missionary support consortiums... We have just started one in our area (Twin Cities) and five churches are on board now. When a candidate is approved, each church kicks in up to 10% of the needed support and the home church gives 30%. That's a good hunk of the support. We just approved and sent out our first candidate...
ANSWER From: Neal Pirolo <Neal_Pirolo@eri.org> It is tragic that money is the area of missionary care that gets the most (sometimes, only!) attention, is the most difficult to talk about, and yet is at least fourth down on the list of six areas of care that Paul, the Apostle considered important. When I wrote my book, SERVING AS SENDERS: How to Care for Your Missionaries, one missions leader who really liked what I said, asked for me to rewrite the chapter on Financial Support. "Give the people a more direct way that they can give money to missionaries," he encouraged. I responded that if the Church followed the three points that I offered, we would have more money than we could use. It would be like Moses having to tell the people to STOP bringing supplies for the building of the Tabernacle. So....on the long haul, it still these three issues (GIVING, LIFE STYLE, MANAGING WEALTH) that will bring us around. However, in the meantime (while some are trying to educate the Church) others are wisely using their talents in devising schemes of generating funds for missionary endeavor. One I heard of just days ago: Countries in need of electricity are welcoming a group of Christians who are providing this power...and at the same time are being allowed to share the POWER of God! Another group in San Diego, called Mission San Diego & Beyond, is just at the infancy stage of launching a major thrust in generating millions of missionary dollars. They have some creative thinkers who know how to think BIG! So...allow God's creativity to charge you in areas of for-profit projects for His Kingdom's sake
ANSWER From: John Olson <John_H_Olson@compuserve.com> I believe we mobilizers often shoot ourselves in the foot. There were some good answers to questions re/ support but some rather theoretical. I promote support for members first but NOT only members. Boomers know things have short lives. Why not support a non-member till a member gets on board? That would typically take 2-4 years and the non-member would probably be back from the term of service by then. "Newbie" candidates usually hit the doldrums at 40-50% of needed support. Hang in there! Most candidates do not have large numbers of churches to go to and minister in, otherwise they would not hit the doldrums. If anyone knows of churches begging for missionaires, please let us know. Larry Burkett (it must be inspired) says that evangelical churches are no better than mainliners. That is, less than half of the members tithe. Those that do, call a tithe 2-5%. I vote for teaching Biblical stewardship (grace, people, time and money) rather than starting businesses to provide money for missions. Interesting that the Mormons are up to their ears in businesses but the families send out the missionaries, not the business. Chris asks about churches doing ch planting and partnerships. The Ev Free Ch Mision has had good success at this, way beyond the dedication service. Contact Ken Warwick <EFCM_I_Net @compuserve.com> or call Mike or Brenda Kroupa, EFC laypeople whose church is involved in the steps Chris asks about. 517-832-5753.
CATTLE TO FUND MISSIONS
From: <HLH2@aol.com> and from <Worldday@aol.com>
I had once read about a group that helps raise money for missions by suppling cattle to farmers. Does anyone know how I could reach this organization?
ANSWER From: "Kevin A. Guttman" <74562.3305@CompuServe.COM> There is an organization in the Bakersfield or perhaps Fresno area (CA) called the Heifer project that supplies cattle to farmers for the purpose of missions. Unfortunately I do not have their address or phone number. I am not sure if they are listed in the Missions Handbook or not. Hope this gets us started anyway.
ANSWER From: <JWCrosby@aol.com> STEER, Inc. P.O. Box 1236 Bismarck, ND 58502 (701) 258-4911
ANSWER From <NateWilson@XC.org> I just ran across an article on a Heifer Project International in the farming section of a magazine I read last week! It's not in California, as Kevin suggested, but maybe it's related. The article stated that it is "a non-profit organization dedicated to providing support to limited-resource farmers worldwide." Their address is P.O. Box 808, Little Rock, AR 72203
ANSWER From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Bruce Dow) I am not sure that Heifer Project is what you are thinking of. Heifer Project supplies livestock, such as chickens, goats, heifers, rabbits to poor people in other countries, teaching them to care for the livestock. The receipients have to give away the first offspring to others in need, helping to break the cycle of poverty in a community.
My parents have been involved with Heifer Project for years; in fact, they are currently getting training at Heifer Project this week for use in Latin and South America, where they plan to "retire" as missionaries with Alfalit.
Heifer Project International Learning and Livestock Center 800-422-1311
TRAVEL REBATE AID TO MISSIONS (TRAM)
Here's a travel agency that will tithe to your church mission program! If you register your church with them, they will cut a check to your mission program on a quarterly basis for 10% of the income they made from any travel you arrange through them. Travel Network guarantees that your travel expenses will be equal to or less than any other quote. Contact them at: Travel Network, 1041 W. Jackson, Morton, IL 61550 Phone: 800-207-8383 or 309-266-8383 [Frontier Airlines, based in Denver, is also offering a similar deal.]