I wish I was rich. Let me unpack that before you judge me.
I was always attracted to the nobility of vocational ministry—having the privilige of making a living from the gospel. While it's a financially humbling endeavor (I'm certainly not in this gig for the money) we've been never been in great financial peril at any time of our 13+ years of ministry. But lately I've realized a crucial fact that I've overlooked during my ministry: kingdom work depends on funding. In short, money makes things go. And even though we're thoroughly blessed, there's just never enough cash on hand.
Not to better our personal existence; as I noted, we're more than fine. I'm talking about enough for others.
There are so many amazing ministry causes I'm aware of and very little I can do to assist. Our family commits much more than a tithe to supporting gospel efforts around the globe. And our little church is committed to the cause as well, with the first 20% of our budget going to mission works.
It absolutely rips my heart up when a missionary contacts me asking for resources so they can minister in God-forsaken places and I have to refuse. Just thinking about it makes me ill. And, for some reason, I'm getting more and more inquiries from people who are looking for support. I guess I've worked around CCU for too long and have met too many people.
But what about you? Maybe you're not giving at all to causes beyond your own church community. Or maybe you're incredibly wealthy and just stumbled on to this post by accident. Can I encourage you to give to missionaries? Let me give you a few reasons.
1. They're not getting rich off this deal. Just because you see the pictures of the missionaries in some exotic place you'd love to vacation doesn't mean they're living a lifestyle above their means. Even though it's bound to happen, I've never witnessed a missionary who had more than what they needed to survive. Dan Dyke, a professor at CCU, co-leads a small group with me. Last semester he told the story of a missionary who lived his entire life in poverty but continued to serve faithfully. The young men listening were convicted by the tale, as was I. If you have an expensive hobby but are stingy aren't supporting missionaries, you should recalibrate your priorities.
2. They're doing work that requires their full attention. I'm a very big proponent of bivocational ministry (having a job while doing church); I've been in doing it in some form since we've started Echo. But I know of some congregations that are now demanding that their missionaries have some sort of money-making endeavor on the side to help fund their own mission. While that's conceptionally sound, it can be completely unrealistic in many cultures. It's difficult to enter a business market as a foreigner and compete. These missionaries need to have the freedom to devote themselves fully to the ministry, and they can often do it at a much more affordable cost than ministers in the States.
3. They're where you're not. Admit it: there are places in the world that you're glad you never have to go. Well, that's where missionaries are. They're committed to going there because it's a calling. If God hasn't called you to be there, the least you can do is support those who are paying the price.
Yep, I'm trying to make you feel guilty with this. But a little guilt can be good. As a family, we're continually reanalyzing our financials to see if we can give more.
Need some ideas of who you can support? Glad you asked. Here's a list of just some of the people I've talked to recently who could benefit from your support: Adam and Kristy Griffith in Thailand. Tracey and Christine Keitt in Chile. Tom and Suja Brane in Burkina Faso. Brent and Anna Fudge in Haiti.
And here are the missions that we support through Echo Church: Dawid and Justyna Wawrzyniak in Poland. Adam and Amanda Shreve in Zimbabwe. Daniel and Buzi Mawyio in Myanmar. Jade and Kim Kendall in Cincinnati's inner-city. Sam and Brittany Gill) in Pakistan. Piotr and Heidi Paprocki in Poland.
And I know I've forgotten many more. The point is, if you're a follower of Jesus, you're part of a global body that meets all over the world. And there's always things we can do to support our brothers and sisters around the globe. I'd encourage you to give of your wealth to support these efforts.
You can help change the world.