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).


TB said...

What are your thoughts on the trend or shift to raising funds from individuals as well as churches?

David and Sarah Carrel said...

We have plenty of individuals. I say take it where you can get it! Individuals are a little more shaky on support according to what I have heard and that may be true. But usually when one drops us someone else picks us up. What a blessing to be able to give to someone personally though. We personally support individuals as well as church missions programs so I would say that this trend does not bother me. The only way it would bother me is if there were no accountability of the missionary to any church. That should always be there.

Matt Lane said...

I like the both/and approach: churches should fund large amounts for people coming out of their own membership AND individuals should step up and support those that God puts on their hearts. I think it's the best of both worlds really. Churches then have a high investment in a smaller but very qualified group of people and then actually encourage individuals to take ownership by making personal investments. This teaches people many things about biblically investing in people they might not learn if just giving to the "missions fund". Again not either or but both/and. Corporate and individual.

DONE said...

Agree! Agree! Agree!
Sounds like it is past time for missions consortia to develop centered in geographical regions rather than centered on the travels of missionaries.
Have done a research project on the trends of Virginia churches and a reasonable solution as my D.Min. thesis.
By the way, unless churches are supporting missionaries at 100%, they are already involved in missions consortia. They just don't know their partners. Interesting for sure!

David and Sarah Carrel said...

DONE, I would be interested in hearing more about your research! Let me know.