Missionaries who visit our church are taking part in a process called deputation. Deputation is generally a two year process where missionaries will visit a different church every Sunday or service. During these meetings, they will present the ministry that God has called them to. Churches then decide whether or not to financially back these missionaries. You may wonder why it takes an entire two years to go and raise financial support. It is because missions takes money!
Church work takes money. We understand that. The power bill needs to be paid, there are material needs, there are ministry needs. Everything takes time and money. The money for this ministry comes from the people of a giving church.
The problem on the mission field is there are no people! Therefore, for a church to get started, outside investment must be made.. Eventually, the goal is that the church will grow and be able to support itself as well as support a pastor.
This is where things get funky. A missionary is not necessarily a pastor. They will often function as a pastor for a period of time as the church is getting started and men are being trained to lead the ministry. However, the goal of the missionary is NOT to stay and pastor a church. If that were the case then we would be able to cease supporting the missionary once the church was established.
The missionary however has a much larger vision. Their vision is to reach a country with the Gospel. Each church is important, however the more important thing is training the men who will lead the church and plant more churches. Therefore the missionary needs continued support to train men to start and lead churches throughout their country.
Some people may ask why missionaries do not do tent making, or get a job? In many countries around the world that is not even an option due to the unemployment rate being so high. Others may choose to get a job, however, in general, those who are most effective do not. Here’s why:
A missionary needs to spend a solid work week 50-60 hours working to reach, disciple, and train people. In addition to these things there are messages to be prepared, building construction to be overseen, letters to write, and money to be raised for the ministry. If a man spends 40-50 hours working a normal job, he is then unable to devote the necessary time and more importantly attention and energy to the ministry. Some may do this successfully, but they would be the rare exception. Most people cannot essentially work two full time jobs and reach a country with the Gospel.
This is why outside funds are needed so that the missionary can focus their time, energy, and attention on the work and thereby see greater things come from the ministry instead.
The amount of money a missionary will raise depends on the cost to live in their country as well as the funds needed to do ministry in the country.
Hard working missionaries are well worth financial investment because they will diligently work to see the Gospel preached in their country and leaders raised to carry on the work of the ministry long after they are gone. Investing in the right missionaries has the potential to bring great heavenly dividends for those involved in supporting them.