Why Does Your Church Support the Missionaries They Support?
Every church I visit loves missions and missionaries. I’m often invited to speak at churches about missions which provides opportunity to visit the the display of missionaries supported by the church. Most churches have a dedicated space in the building to display what they are doing in missions. As I look at the list, I often wonder how this eclectic group of missionaries came to be supported by this church. There doesn’t seem to be a rationale to the list, but then again, I don’t know the back-story. As I dig a little deeper, it becomes apparent that there are several ways that people came to added to the support list of a church:
1. They knew the pastor so had an inside track to getting support.
2. They knew a person in the church (maybe a relative) so had the inside track in getting support.
3. They were a member of the church.
4. They were going to a place where the church had interests.
5. They had a great presentation… and perhaps an attractive family.
There is no biblical directive for choosing which missionaries to support, so none of the above reasons are wrong. It may or may not be strategic and that is OK but there are a couple of issues that a church might want to consider as they take on new missionaries:
1. Are these people doing missionary work? This assumes the church has a definition of missions. In some churches, it seems that anyone who goes overseas ends up in the missions budget regardless of what they are doing. There are a lot of projects and people included in the missions budget that might not be there if there was a clear definition of missions.
2. Are these people representing your church’s theological position? Some churches are very precise about their doctrinal position yet support missionaries that are all over the theological spectrum. Not every mission agency reflects your doctrine. Not every missionary consistently teaches what your church teaches.