Unfortunately it's not true. Donors' situation change, some leave their jobs and hence unable to give. Some have urgent family problem and have to stop giving. Others just get tired or prefer to help their own church.
I agree with Parshall that if this is such a great system, then ALL the pastors should do the same as well. Why force ONLY the missionaries to do such things? Are the pastors and those in the local church scene more obedient to the missional call of God upon the church?
Here Is An Alternative
Consider this ad:
Wanted: Pastor for a thriving church in the
Anyone reading this fictitious advertisement is likely to smile; surely no pastor worth his salt would even consider this offer. Most pastors would feel degraded by such a demand.
But change a few words in the ad: Replace pastor with missionary. Make the Midwest read
Something is wrong, and it needs to be addressed.
In my 28 years of active Christian service, I have never met a missionary who relishes the responsibility and hassle of this financial aspect of missionary work. We end up feeling we are a strange breed of sanctified beggars, not unlike the Buddhist monks I have observed making the rounds of
I never felt any intense spiritual vibes as a 22-year-old novice, trying to instill enthusiasm in the saints to support my work. But I can remember feeling shame and humiliation, especially when I was asked repeatedly when my wife and I were actually going to depart for
With gratitude I can say my support raising activity lasted only eight months. But I have seen many sharp, well-educated, young people cringe at the thought of laying their needs before friends and potential supporters.
The system of voluntary support has benefits, of course. The close relationship between supporters and those supported, for example, is special. This is often missing when missionaries are supported from a denominational budget.
But we could reduce the fear, hassle, and shame of soliciting in the present system without sacrificing this benefit. We could, that is, if Christian laypersons and churches began to treat our missionaries' financial needs as they do their own pastors.' After "approving" their missionary, they could assume complete responsibility for his or her financial needs. This may not always be possible for one church, of course. But it could be undertaken by a consortium of five or six churches in one area.
My home church, Highland Park Baptist Church is suburban
I appeal to our mission-minded churches and lay-people to think anew about innovative procedures that can lift an increasingly heavy burden from the backs of missionaries. If they do, our mission boards will also be freed from spending time defending a financial system that often repels rathan than attracts the best from our Bible colleges and seminaries.
Phil Parshall serves as a missions administrator with SIM and is based in