Humor me. I want you to imagine a United States of America where gasoline costs $12 a gallon. A head of lettuce costs $10. And a plain white T-shirt costs $50.
Now imagine your salary has not increased in adjusting to this new standard of living, but decreased! Instead of making $60,000 a year, you are now making $35,000. AND…your spouse is now out of work.
It’s easy to ask these questions…
Will you limit your vacations? Will you cut down on going out to restaurants? Will you rent DVDs instead of going to the movies?
But what about these issues?...
Ladies, will you still find the time and resources to gather food for the struggling family down the street?
Men, will you still tithe?
Pastors, will you still give to missions?
I am sad and I am afraid that the body of Christ—as a mass of churches and as a collection of individuals—is not prioritizing her mission as we see turmoil on so many levels in the world.
And it is in exactly a global situation like this where there is no greater need than to reach the ends of the earth like never before with the Good News.
So WHO is going to financially support these missionaries on the field? You? Your church? Non-profit missions organizations?
WHAT IF we are living in the critically imminent “last days”? What’s the emergency plan of the church? Do we have one, even if it’s just a general one? Has anyone thought about this?
I understand that we must hear daily from the Holy Spirit and look in the Word for direction. But fathers, have you personally sorted out how you will deal with your family finances in a world atmosphere like that?
Food for thought:
The latest results from the Barna Group states that “nearly one in every 25 churches said they had reduced their giving to missions or missionaries.” 1 That may not sound like a lot, but there are approximately 300,000 Protestant churches in America2. That means 12,000 churches have cut their giving to missions and missionaries! Also, the Barna Group statistic does not reflect how many churches have decided not to take on new missionaries.
Well, what about non-profit missions organizations?
In November 2008, 31% of adults have reduced giving to non-profits. But by January 2010, that number jumped to 48%3. That’s nearly half of all adults!
I believe that there are many, many deserving saints of God, willing to surrender the luxuries of this country and this life to pour out their lives on the mission field for the kingdom of God…BUT…they have no way to get there and sustain themselves once they’re there.
To use an example of one family representing many, we know of a couple who have five young children and sense the call to pour out their lives in a third-world African nation, caring for the orphans and spreading the Gospel of Christ. They didn’t receive nearly enough funds from their church or from individuals, but they went there anyway, trusting God to sustain them.
But times have been hard. The father must return to America to live for several months so that he can earn money to take back with him. Whether or not you agree with the family’s decision to go in the first place, I honor them for their courage in stepping out in faith, letting their yes be yes to those to whom they committed in that country.
And let me introduce you to Todd and Amy Block. You can read their story here. The Blocks have nine children, most of them quite young. They are called to give up their lives and serve in an orphanage in Guatemala, but there is just not enough money from their church or other sources which will enable them to go.
Because they know times are hard, the Blocks are raising funds in a different way. They’re seeking 147 families who will give just $25 a month so they can sustain themselves on the mission field. Sadly, they have been fundraising for quite some time now, and as of this date, they only have 42 families who’ve committed.
I believe the time is now for churches and families to reevaluate where they put their money. If indeed the world is going from bad to worse, then it’s critical for us to do this.
One need only go to the first-century church to learn how the Christians sold their personal belongings in order to care for the needs each other (Acts 2:44-45; 4:32,34-35).
In this global economic climate, missionaries cannot expect to “tentmake” in the country where they serve. No, WE THE PEOPLE must do what we can to send them to places where we feel we are not called to go to ourselves.
WE THE CHURCH must decide to flow our money to people who are expanding the kingdom of God, not to programs or bigger buildings or larger salaries for our own sake.
I saw a bumper sticker yesterday that simply read, “Too Much Stuff.” Those three words say it all. We need to come to a place, men, where we say, Enough is enough!
Is it really important that I have a Smart Phone? Do I really need an iPad 2?
I want to challenge you, heads of households. What is it that you are doing with your money that you could be doing better for God’s cause? Missions is it! The Great Commission is what this life is all about. If not, then what are we here for?
The great missionary to South Africa, Malla Moe, said, “What are we here for? To have a good time with Christians or to save sinners?”
Friend, if you are sure you are not called to the mission field, you must realize that you are called to support those who are.
Give and give with integrity. It is not enough to pledge to missionaries. We must uphold that pledge. Too many times, from personal experience and from hearing from other missionary friends, we are left “high and dry” so to speak while on the mission field. People commit to giving a certain amount every month, but they skip a month or two or even more, not realizing the impact that missionaries feel. Why do they skip? Because missions is the first place where they make cuts and it should be the very last.
The world needs Jesus now more than ever. As the Word says about the woman who gave two mites, let us give out of what we lack and get the job done! (Mark 12:44).