Rev. Istifanus and Jemima Bahago serve in Sierra Leone as missionaries with the Christian Reformed Church of Nigeria. In many ways, Bahago is an example of the new type of indigenous church leader receiving support from Christian Reformed World Missions (CRWM). He was born in Africa, received his call and training in Africa (partly under CRWM missionaries) and now works as a national leader and missionary in an African country.
Over the last few decades, CRWM has increasingly partnered with and given grants to leaders like Bahago. In addition to subsidizing evangelists’ salaries, the grants enable various leaders to receive further training for their roles. The grants also provide believers with Bibles, fund seminary scholarships, help provide Christian education for children, and much more. Through these efforts, CRWM deepens our ministry partners’ capacity for working in their own nations and beyond.
At the same time that CRWM is supporting grassroots efforts around the world, we remain convinced of the need to send North American missionaries. Christians in many countries are just starting to get a vision for applying God’s Word to life. Others are looking for Biblical training on leading effectively. Meanwhile, millions of people–most in predominately Muslim cultures–have yet to hear the Gospel.
CRWM is committed to sharing God’s Word worldwide. But to cover the cost of this work, CRWM has had to change our missionary support model.
The new model moves away from basing missionary support raising goals on a worldwide average to individualized budgets. These budgets, which don't include costs unique to families with children or those just beginning or completing their service, enable churches and individuals to know the direct costs of having missionaries in their ministry locations. As of July 1, 2013, CRWM career missionaries will see their support-raising goals gradually rise over several years to 90% of their individualized budgets. CRWM staff members, meanwhile, have redoubled their efforts to support and help missionaries reach their new support goals, through training, missionary support teams and the Johanna Veenstra Missionary Support Fund.
The new goals will enable CRWM to maintain current ministry initiatives, replace retiring missionaries, and send out new missionaries in response to urgent needs. In this video (also shown below), missionary Michael Essenburg explains the new goals and how they will impact both missionaries and their supporters. As they do now, Ministry Shares will cover a portion of CRWM’s missionary budgets and overall ministry initiatives, including grants to and training of indigenous leaders.
Through these missionary support changes, CRWM will be able to continue partnering with churches and leaders around the world to expand God’s Kingdom.