(June 12, 2018) George Forbes, missionary spokesperson, challenges…
At last, I have got onto the subject of money for missions. This is a big subject because the need is big. I mean really BIG!
Regrettably, it sometimes becomes a point of confusion and even conflict, when the amounts of funding for global mission are seen as diverting, or reducing the funding for local church needs.
Personally, I say, ‘Thank God for the pastors who understand this problem area and ensure good balance and understanding is maintained in their church. I belong to such a church, for which I gave thanks to God every day. I especially thank him for my pastor.’
I recognise that just as some missionaries may not manage money well, the same is true of some local churches.
The better way is surely to help those missionaries who are not money managers and partner with them in sound, wholesome ventures for people in need and projects that are worthy.
Focusing on progress, not projects
Pastors who believe in the vision of a missionary, can partner with them, encouraging members who are experienced in money management, as well as people who are good project managers to work with their missionary. Some great work is done this way to the glory of God.
The difficult balance area is to ensure that projects do not become the all-consuming focus of finance for missions. It must never be projects versus process. The spiritual task of making disciples, planting churches, releasing indigenous churches to grow as God guides them in their own context, must take precedence over everything else.
Regrettably, due to the poor economy of many developing countries, there is always the danger of money being regularly needed by the local churches. It is essential that sound systems of financial recording and management are established. Equally, that focus on the unreached is held high on the agenda.
This calls for…
- Sound planning
- Working partnerships
- Operating good agreements that define the way missionary money is invested.
- Remembering Proverbs 29:18, ‘Where there is no vision the people perish.’
- Equally, where there is no plan or accountability the people perish.
Fruitful church planters
There is another rapidly developing change, regarding money for missions. It is the important matter of the large number of national workers who have already become fruitful church planters. Many have also become capable church planting movement pioneers especially, for example, in the northern states of India.
I believe it is now true to say that they are at the cutting edge of missions’ strategy in this era of missions in the world. New agencies have been planted in Australia and other western countries to fund the training and basic support of thousands of indigenous church planters.
Transforming communities/changing lives
Investment in this kind of mission is a good deposit in the advance of the kingdom of God. Especially among the unreached nations that have been neglected for too long. I have no desire to draw comparisons, but it is high time to declare the investments that bring the greatest fruit for eternity. Yes, these missions and these churches must also be accountable before God and their sponsors. That is already in place, with the same integrity as respected mission agencies God has blessed for many years.
Money in missions in this 21st century is also big, because it involves funding for the training and then the simple support of multiplied hundreds of new church planters every year now.
Thousands are already planting multiple churches, riding their bicycles from village to village. They are persecuted, vilified, abused and at times martyred for their faith. They are not called ‘missionaries,’ as this would be inappropriate, however they are doing the same essential work of church planting that great missionary pioneers used in the 18th and 19th centuries.
These are heroes of faith, who are totally committed to the preaching of the gospel, the planting of local churches and the training of more church planters as great church planting movements grow and keep on growing to the eternal glory of God.
Dr George Forbes is internationally recognised as a missionary spokesperson with a heart for the lost of the nations. With a wealth of missionary knowledge and a unique ability to communicate the global picture, he is widely known as the ‘story-teller.’ Link: firstname.lastname@example.org