Monday, March 30, 2009

Another Crazy Idea

So I get all kinds of crazy ideas in my head and this idea keeps coming back to me often. It has to do with supporting missionaries. So many missionaries are under-supported (not us, Praise the Lord). The average for a missionary to raise support is around 4 years. That is a lot of time. So what is a way that we could raise more money for missionaries; or use the money we have wisely?
What if we supported missionaries the way some of us plan to support ourselves, or our kids going to college, or retirement? With real estate. I have written out a big dream plan using millions of dollars, but let's say that we start out small. One church or a couple churches could buy a foreclosed house or condominium. For a mission trip, church members could go to this house (that is actually in their area) and fix it up. The electricians, plumbers, real estate agents, painters, landlords etc... could all use their gifts and talents to fix up a house and to manage it while renting it out. The money received from renting could go towards supporting missions. So here is what the financial investment looks like: 50-60,000 to buy the home; 5-10,000 for materials to fix it up; free manual labor from church members; the return would be around 700 dollars a month (depending on the real estate prices in the area), so $8400 a year. Well before 10 years, the church would already have reached their initial investment, plus have that real estate value still. The church could have the option to sell the real estate at any time and possibly buy two pieces of property with what they make and do it again.
Churches could also go in on it together. For example, I have several supporting churches in certain towns that could get together and do mission trips together fixing up these houses.
So, I have told this idea to a few people and most of them think it too risky. What are some of you all's initial thoughts?


Jeff Selph said...

I think it's brilliant, but it is also a little risky. It would also take churches working together, which is harder than it should be. Still, you should try to market this idea to the churches that support you. There are plenty of foreclosed homes available out there.

David and Sarah Carrel said...

I know it is risky, especially right now. I guess it is a big gamble, but I just think that it could work well and I keep praying that God take it out of my mind, but I am still thinking about it. But yeah, try to convince a Pastor that to invest that, pretty tough, especially the fact that I am so young and it is not my money and I am biased since I am the missionary and would be benefiting (I would say that the money goes to other missionaries so as not to benefit me, I am not saying this for more money for me, but rather for missions overall, which I know you know Jeff, but people that do not know me that well). So are you going to pitch it at the next Pastor's meeting? haha

Paul and Whitney Atkinson said...

david...i think it could work. risky?...i don't think so. in fact now would be a perfect time to buy. foreclosures are happening by the dozens. auctions are going on that would allow a church to pick up a couple of pieces of property for cheap.

some would ask though: why not just give the money you would spend on the houses to the missionary. that's where they have to keep the long-term investment in mind. eventually the property would be paid for and gaining great returns. but if the church is going to spend $50-$70k on a house, why not just give that. i could argue both ways :)

only problem i think about is figuring out WHO will live in the house. church's (unfortunately) have a lot of fights and problems going on without throwing the category of "landlord" in there. plus you would want the tenant to be a good testimony for the church. could a great fit be found? yes. it would just require some intense screening and a solid lease agreement.

have a great day dave!


Unknown said...

Thats a neat idea. The land lord could pay any bills that must be paid, take care of any maintenance, and then put the rest into missions.
We are doing something rather neat at our church right now. We have a box that is on our back table. It is set aside for missions donations. Our members and visitors can put any money in their for the month. We will send any proceeds from that box plus the pleged amount of support to the missionary of the month that we are show casing for that month.
We are also starting another new step. We are running a continual can drive, where people can bring in their soda cans, we will cash them in, and add that also to the missionary support. So all in all, the missoniaries receive their normal monthly support, but in addition, there is one month where they get a donation based amount on top of their normal support, and the cans only add to that.
We are also going to start encouraging our church members to donate in that box when we are expecting a guest speaker, and we will give that speaker anything that is in the box.

I belive this helping our members to really start thinking about missions, and what the cost is. Its great.

David and Sarah Carrel said...

Gary, great to hear what you guys are doing at your church. Keep it up. I just think that our missions plan right now is just not using God's funds wisely and there are better ways to do it. Now to say this real estate plan is the way would be wrong of me, but I think it does get to the creative aspect of making us think about how we spend our money.
I agree Paul that the risk is minimal, but that people are not willing to think about it because it just sounds so big and the money is probably not there and yeah, like you said, why risk that amount of money when that amount could go into a much needed missions fund right now. So I understand everyone's caution, but I think that the risk is worth it. I actually have a couple pages written on this as more of an explanation, but I minimized it for this blog. The idea I have is much bigger, which would scare pretty much everyone away, so I condensed it to a couple of churches doing it.

Unknown said...

Dave, you are very right that missionaries are just not supported the way they should be. Our church had their annual financial meeting this past Sunday, and one of the things that we discussed is what happens to the American dollar by the time it makes it to you guys in your respective fields. Lets say a church sends 100 dollars per missionary. By the time the 100 dollars go through the grid of another currency, it is signifigantly less than what the church actually sent. What makes that worse is that people just arent aware of missions anymore. Those that are are probably doing all they can already. So betwee ideas like yours, and ones similar to what our church is doing, if more churches took on those kind of ideas, it would be so much better for the missionary, and the church would have the joy of seeing success come out of that on the field, when missionaries dont have to return home for years just to raise money.