Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Missions support-raising conversation

On Tuesday the 20th of December I had lunch with Roy Seals and Jeremy Wallace. They walked into the BX where my in-laws run a restaurant and I immediately told them that I wanted to be a part of their conversation. Roy Seals is a mission agency director and Jeremy Wallace is a Pastor. Recently Jeremy wrote a blog post about the structure of missions. All three of us agree that the system independent Baptist churches use to support missionaries is not the ideal. Actually it is far from ideal that missionaries must call so many churches and travel so many miles. Not that they do not learn much from the process, but the difficulties of doing this are unnecessary. So what is the answer to this? How do we change the face of independent Baptist missions? Most people would agree that if churches would support less missionaries for more money per month, we would save much money (millions of dollars per year). But how do we get to that point? It appears to me that some churches are willing to move to a system like that, but are completely unsure of what the transition would look like resulting in no change whatsoever. I understand. Especially as a Baptist, any change is difficult. But if we do not act now, we will continue needlessly spending money on gas and hotels when we could spend it on more missionary time on the field. What are some steps an individual or a church can take? 1. Educate yourself or those around you on the process of support raising in missions. 2. Be an agent of change yourself. 3. Churches can stop taking on new missionaries and support other missionaries for more. (I am a missionary needing more support and would tell any church; if you are doing this and it negatively affects me, but helps the overall cause of missions, go ahead, God will provide for me). 4. Do not have missionaries travel half way across the country for a meeting if you have no intention of supporting them. (Or drive anywhere, screen them beforehand). 5. Get involved in the lives of the missionaries, especially those sent out by your home church. 6. Talk to those around you about this. If you are a Pastor; express to others a willingness to approach this white elephant in the room. Do not ignore it. 7. Respond to this post with more suggestions on what we can do. I do not have all the answers. Actually, I am no where close. 8. If you love Jesus and missions, post this blog post everywhere; on your Facebook page, bottom of your emails, memos to co-workers, your bulletin, make the link a bumper sticker, and consider getting it tattooed on your forehead (a non-permanent tattoo of course). (that whole number 8 is sarcastic).