Money for Missions: The Big and the Small of it

This week I was on the phone with an Executive Director of a Foundation that gives millions of dollars to missions. Things are tight right now for them, as they are for many other faith-based Foundations, but they are doing their best to keep commitments to missionaries. Not easy during this recession when the returns on investments dont bring the kind of returns they had hoped for. Missionaries who depend on these kinds of gifts are struggling this year.

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Immediately after hanging up the phone with this Foundation, I went out to dinner with a Portuguese house church pastor. His tiny church had put together a HUGE love package for our missionary family including 5 bottles of wine and all kinds of food. There was even an envelope with money as a thank you gift for our ministry in Portugal five years ago.One of the families who gave included a not-so-wealthy family with two children. One of the children, on hearing of our family's mission, donated the entire contents of his piggy bank to help the gift go further. This church leader wept when he received the gift and was really emotional when he told me the story.

The big and the small. Both important to God. Its weird being in the middle of these two disparate groups; Foundation leaders with large investments and little boys with piggy banks. The Kingdom of God moves forward on the resources of both groups. A verse leapt to mind that I should share. It speaks of contentment and the pleasantness of God's gifts, whether big or small. Psalm 16:5-6

LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;

you have made my lot secure.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;

surely I have a delightful inheritance.

Related: Christianity Today have a great article this month on how the church will probably give more this year, even though philanthropy in general has dropped during this recession. Check out Church Giving Outlook: You've Got Some Time. and there is lots more to read in their economic crisis section.

More on Tallskinnykiwi: Christian Conferences: The Carnival is Over

Top 5 Ways for Ministries to Get Over the Recession

Larry's Recession and the Debt Dependent Church

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Andrew

Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name “Precious” :-)

4 Comments

  • Ironic that this should come now: Our family is seeing our income drop dramatically as UK churches pull back on giving, and the pount/Euro exchange fluctuates. We’ve been making the shortfall up wit child support but we’re into paying rent with savings.
    Eight years in missions: it looks like I’ll be getting a job soon.

  • Andrew – thank you for this story in faithfulness. What I think is going to end up happening when all this shakes down is that those who are in this to serve God will find a way to do it one way or another. For most of my writing career, I’ve had to supplement my ministry by doing other gigs including a few stints at “real jobs” (which seem to be a thing of the past post-crash). It sucked but the time spent away from doing what I felt called to do reminds me how much I love serving God with my writing. The challenge is to be faithful when you can’t see tomorrow ahead of you – that’s where I tend to flip, freak out, etc.
    The silver lining that I see here is that those author/speaker and others who are in this for the bucks and perks will bolt because as you noted, that era is over. So maybe it will be a bit easier to find the good stuff – though I predict that like cockroaches, Joel Osteen and the TBN Ministry crew will be around for a while.

  • I was reading that a couple of years ago Empty Tomb Inc did a study and found that church members giving in the United States was only 2.8 percent or so. They estimated that if giving went up to an average of 10 percent there would be an additional 160 Billion dollars. If sixty percent was used for overseas missions, we could do the evangelism needed and cover a lot of the social justice and poverty issues as well.
    Maybe we as believers need to take a serious look at ourselves.

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