There are very few missionaries that I know that couldn't use more funds, myself included. And I know many who are struggling by with very little support.
Now I know it is God who calls us. And I have plenty of stories where myself or my family was in need and something that only God could orchestrate what happened to meet an immediate need. But I can't help to think of why so many missionaries are struggling and not thriving in their finances if they are called by God? Yes, I know that God uses our funds (or lack of) to teach us. But I do believe there is more to it than just teaching from God on trusting him.
I want to look at the Parable of the Talents and learn from it and apply it to our mission calling.
In Matthew 24:11-30, we read about a master leaving for a journey, and he gives one servant five talents, another two talents, and the last one talent. When he got back, the first servant invested the five talents and made 10, the second invested the two talents and made 4, the last dug a hole and buried it. When the master came back, he told the first two, "'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much." He was upset with the last servant, to say the least, and ended up taking the one talent he had left and giving it to the servant who had ten talents.
Let us take the principle of this passage and apply it in our context.
God has given us missionaries relationships. Some of us have more relationships than others. And it is in some of these relationships God provides supporters through certain individuals. So are we faithful in our relationships?
Like what I shared in my last article, How Many Supporters should a Missionary Have? I shared how I knew many missionaries who only had 1 to 3 supporters. That was the case with me when I first started out. In my first year, I only had one regular supporter. The following year I only had 3. But what I believe is in those first two years, I was faithful in my relationships (not with just my supporters, but those in my circle of relationships) through communication. So if we lack support, we need to ask ourselves a question:
Am I faithful?
We need to be faithful in 3 areas.
1- Faithful to Our Calling
Are we doing what God called us to do? Are we still sharing Jesus Christ with those who don't know Him? We can't expect God to provide if we are not doing what He called us to do.
2- Faithful with the Money we do have
Even if we don't have much money, we need to be faithful to what God has already provided. If we are not faithful in what little we have, then don't expect to get more.
3- Faithful in our Circles of Relationships
We need to be faithful in our communication to our supporters and others as well. That communication should be through newsletters (email and snail mail), Social media, phone calls. Etc. We should also express gratefulness to funds already given. And we should also be faithful in building new relationships.
The third point is where I find that most missionaries are weak. Why? In most cases, it is a lack of skill. They just don't know how to do it. But the good news is we can learn new skills. If you need help developing your skillset, go to Unmuzzled Ox, Sign up for their blog, and look at tips to help you.
So to answer my question, Who supports a missionary- God or man? God usually provides through people we have a relationship with. That truth brings us to the question, "Are we faithful in those relationships?"
For those who are asking, yes, I do believe God can use a "Tent Making" job to provide for your needs. But that shouldn't be an excuse not to keep a relationship with others.
5/22/2016 09:58:18 pm
Greetings to you my beloved loving brother,this is Bro.Nagarjuna from India, really this is very very useful now a days new missionaries like me,my self and my wife we dedicated our life full time ministry,we left everything we came here we are struggling to fulfill our minimum needs because lack of guidance and relationship with other i am from hindu background.really this is very useful for me i felt God only send this one,i want to doing church planting ministry i don't have much knowledge please help and encourage us my beloved loving brother
5/26/2016 08:02:26 am
Hi Nagarjuna - Blessings on you and your family. I can encourage you by pointing you to a free online course to understand biblical partnership to do ministry: www.ywamelearning.com. I pray it will bless and and encourage you!
6/6/2016 03:25:34 am
Mission is the call of the church and a healthy church is using the tithing to Suport those working for the church. In NGO's like YWAM you should collective raise funds from churches and from that pay your staff. To many people are occupied by raising funds and are limited in doing the job they are signed up for. And one other thing is that those working in the kitchen finding it harder to get support than those having a ministry where they have opportunities to tell others what there needs are.
Prasanna Kumar Undurthi
6/20/2016 03:54:23 pm
Please pray for me
7/29/2016 06:38:07 am
7/29/2016 09:54:47 am
I often hear people say, "Why can't someone else raise support so the missionary can be busy about their ministry?" This question wrongly assumes that support raising is not part of the missionary's work. I strongly believe the missionary has two components in their role; outreach and advocacy. Proverbs 31:8-9 says that we should speak for those who can't speak for themselves and to be a voice for the voiceless. Good advocacy asks other people to do one of three things: pray, volunteer or give generously. This kind of advocacy keeps the missionary from working alone and in a silo. It ensures that more people than just the missionary are involved in ministry. When there are more people involved, there are more people praying, giving and caring about what God is doing. The advocacy part of the missionary's role is actually how a movement could start. Jesus modeled a mission that was supported by others in Luke 8:1-3. Every missionary who "goes" is the bridge back to their own sphere of influence so that more people can be involved in God's work. If someone lacks funds for their mission, it is likely because they are not engaged in true advocacy.
6/25/2016 12:51:45 am
I'm from Nepal.im working and helping for high himalaya children education and family care .
7/29/2016 06:22:37 am
A difficult issue is how do you divide support between your own expenses and direct mission works especially if you only have a small personal income?
7/29/2016 06:35:34 am
10/29/2016 04:35:46 am
Thanks So Much For Your Contribution To Ywamers On Raising Fund.I Work With Ywam Abuja,the Chalenge In Nigeria Is That Even Though It's A Given Nation That Gives To Churches,poorer Nations,pastors And The Poor,the People Here Find It Difficult Giving To Misionaries Or Mision Bodies.Many Mision Bodies Are Strugling To Raise Fund In Nigeria.Do You Know Some People See You As Being Begerly When You Share A Vision With Them And Ask Them To Partner With You.This Is Why Personaly I Have Found It Difficult Asking People For Fund For Mision.But It Has Also Strenghten My Faith In God To Supply My Need As A Misionary,since He Called,just Like You Wrote.May God Open The Eyes Of Nigerians To Misions
Esangu Samuel baker
2/20/2018 10:32:24 am
Thank you for sharing with us.
2/21/2018 10:33:51 am
HI Esangu. God is the ones who connect people. I pray that God will bring people to partner with you in your calling.
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Dustin has been serving as a missionary for 24 years. Here is where he places some of his teaching, thoughts, and updates.