Blog

Before we came to Nicaragua, we prayed that God would reveal Himself and the work He was doing there. I think I can speak for the group when I say that God exceeded our expectations. 

June 21, 2016 1 0 comments
Blog

I don’t think that any of us knew that the moment we stepped outside the airport in Nicaragua, we would fall in love. And I’m not talking about falling in love with another person, or even the country of Nicaragua. 

June 20, 2016 1 0 comments
Blog

Growing up as a missionary kid, I observed and helped host many short-term mission teams. From this experience I learned a few things about being well prepared, which I want to share with you!

June 16, 2016 3 4 comments
Blog

For most of the morning, half of the youth group had been planting cannabis, aka marijuana. The leaders from both churches were mortified and the experience taught everyone an important lesson. 

June 13, 2016 1 0 comments
Blog

As more and more Christians rub shoulders with their Muslim neighbors, one cannot but help but ask about what might motivate Christians to bear witness to them to the fact that Jesus is Lord. Is it guilt, fear, the threat of hell, or something else? Let us examine a few options and conclude that...

June 9, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

Short-term mission trips are difficult. They can also be rich and rewarding, with the potential for long-term impact. To equip your team, check out the new, free, downloadable resource called Changed for Life. 

June 7, 2016 2 5 comments
Blog

As the CRCNA faces the changing winds of doctrine, one might wonder if a bit of contextualization theory might help it to ascertain the big picture behind some of the issues of the day?

May 26, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

The Global Food Security Act will benefit women and children during the critical first 1,000 days. Proper nutrition during this period will have enduring positive effects. Learn how to get involved! 

April 11, 2016 1 0 comments
Blog

In this piece we will examine two ways that a Muslim, who otherwise completely lacks the assurance of Jesus' words "Today you will be with me in paradise" seeks to gain this assurance.

March 23, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

Sometimes when we teach, it’s easy to forget that students also have knowledge to offer to us.

March 10, 2016 1 0 comments
Blog

Around the world, March 8 is celebrated as International Women's Day. I have spent the week looking at women in the Gospels, to have a stronger understanding about the Biblical view of women

March 8, 2016 1 0 comments
Resource, Video

Christian Reformed Home Missions brings you John's full story of his mission with the Third Ward in the new video, "On Earth as it is in Heaven."

February 24, 2016 2 0 comments
Discussion Topic

Over the last 4 months, a team from Home Missions and World Missions worked closely with Calvin Social Resource (CSR) developing a presentation and a survey process to engage stakeholders.

February 17, 2016 0 9 comments
Blog

"God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life." Just what is and is not being said is critical as it appears that we are mixing the concepts of the benevolence of God and his covenant love.

February 3, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

They go by many names: Global Outreach teams, missions councils, missions teams... But the result seems to be the same when a church appoints missions-minded people to promote and direct the church’s role in missions—a more proactive approach to missions. 

February 2, 2016 0 0 comments
Resource, Checklist

Now is a great time to make sure your missions communications are up to date! Here's a handy checklist for a communications audit.

January 20, 2016 1 0 comments
Blog

Choose words that convey ownership. They show that your church is playing an active role on the global mission field, not just giving financial support towards one of many causes. 

December 18, 2015 0 0 comments
Resource, Article

Check out this warmly engaging article by Edmund Clowney that sketches out three factors giving fuel to Reformed missions. 

December 15, 2015 0 1 comments
Blog

With an increased number of offerings under Faith Promise, people are sensing a more personal connection to their own role in missions, even if it’s on the other side of the world.

December 1, 2015 0 1 comments
Resource, Article

Are you ever frustrated at work? Does it sometimes feel like a waste of time? As leaders, it is worth remembering how Jesus’s presence can transform situations. 

October 12, 2015 0 0 comments
Resource, Article

From the Christian Aid Mission (Oct. 1, 2015) check out this storyof courage in the face of death, and of a man liberated by Jesus who was on a mission to bring death: Christian Workers in Syria Crucified, Beheaded. 

Revelation 12: 7-12

7 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his...

October 5, 2015 0 0 comments
Resource, Newsletter or Periodical

It’s that time of year again! Missionaries and field staff are making their rounds to supporting churches. How can churches and missionaries open doors for better transparency and benefit?

September 9, 2015 2 0 comments
Blog

When a missionary retires, churches face the difficult task of how to use the newly-freed funds. Oftentimes, this decision ends up being made subjectively. Try these questions to make objective decisions. 

September 1, 2015 0 1 comments
Blog

During the fall, most churches set aside time to celebrate international missions. Check out these helpful tips to help you get more people involved in your church’s celebration!

August 19, 2015 0 0 comments
Blog

Missionary newsletters have been around since Paul. Are they still relevant today?

August 3, 2015 1 7 comments

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Thank you for the article and for sharing this great resource.  However, I think the links are broken.  But I was able to find the website online still.  Maybe the links just need to be tweaked.

posted in: Missions Tourism

Joel, teams should be mainly used to handle specific problems. “Teams” as ongoing workgroups tend to breed bureaucracy.   If your mission and strategy are clearly stated the leader(s) in the organization should be able to carry out the mandates. That is why I was happy you folks spent a lot of time on this. But also unhappy that you did not show how the work to achieve the mission would be organized.

I am assuming that CRCNA staff is probably 95% CRC. The diversity of opinions/beliefs (and this is particularly true in church organizations) could be problematic.  We have seen this at work (both positive and negative) in the structure of the CRCNA and how it governs itself.

Having spent 7 years on one of the church Boards what struck me was that the key leaders in the 6 main ministries (HM, WM, BTGMI, CC, CS and WR) were not a team.

Thanks, Fronse, for your comments.   The question of how we best can walk alongside of churches and classes is one we will need to answer together as we go forward.  This is why we want to emphasize the posture of listening.  Your point on wise use of social media is a good one and we do need to become much better at that.   I like your emphasis on reciprocal relationships with the global church.  We do intend to embed this in all our strategies and it is already happening in places like Sierra Leone where we are working jointly with the Christian Reformed Church of Nigeria.

Thanks, Harry, for your comments.  We thought it important first to work on our mission, vision, values first precisely because we are developing a flatter, more geographically dispersed structure. But you are correct that organizational framework to which you are responding just represents the initial stage of the structure we will be presenting.  I do agree entirely with you that ultimately it will depend on the people we put in place.  I would like to explore further with you why you see the word "teams" as "ominous."  Could you elaborate on that more?

Thank you for this very informative article laying out the Christians role in caring for undocumented and documented immigrants.

 

An interesting conceptual word document.

Church and Classis are mentioned, yet who, what and how will the NMA blend information and recommendations into the structures of church and Classis?

Often I respect denomination presentations, only six months or a year later the communicated 'help' is time consuming.

Targeted use of email, messaging, Facebook is very effective and saves time.

I continue to not see reference to the 19th and 20th century planted churches as co-participants WITH our North American body of Christ.

I pray this New Paradigm will represent ALL of the global Reformed Body of Christ.

Respectfully Fronse

Thanks to the authors for putting this frame work together. It is hard work. Would like to make the following observations:

The use of undefined terms like: a) catalyzing 2) contextual missions 3) incarnational missions. Having just visited a couple of Buddhist countries, the last term is very interesting.

Your vision and mission statements are presumptuous as the CRCNA still has BTGMI very involved in “International” (meaning both home and world missions).

The list of “shifts” is interesting. f) to me this is only made worse by what you are trying to do; g) I have seen a lot of evidence in my extensive world travels of this, so nothing new.

Be careful using Addington’s “Sandbox Strategy”.  It sounds childish to me.  When I first got wind of the possible amalgamation I suggested in this space that CRCNA hire McKinsey. The church needs a real good look at what it is all about. These folks, while very expensive, would give it an effective outside view. Besides, they have probably never been asked to do a church!

The framework is too wordy. With no organization charts it lacks clarity. None of the words you have used will work without people in place. The word “teams” look ominous to me.

Harry Boessenkool

We do a regular blog, so a lot of people read most of our blog posts.  But a good number of our supporters don't have the time or interest (we understand and aren't bothered by that!) to read every post.  So many of them just read the quarterly newsletters, and some supporters make a point to tell us that they don't read the blog but read the quarterly prayer letters.  Because of this we use our blog for the more detailed posts, and the prayer letter usually doesn't have anything new that is not in the blog, but it will be a sort of summary of everything we've been doing and need prayer for.

Good post.  Mission trips can be done well.  I have critiqued them a lot, and rightly so.  But on the other hand, they were formative in my own life, and they can be formative for the communities as well if done well.  I hope that the Western churches can plan half as many or less short mission trips, but then those that they do could be done with very good preparation, a good strategy, and done with real partnership of the community.

When I consider the three outcomes, I appreciate the focus of deepening, growing and connecting. Particularly, for outcome 1, I am wrestling if “invite” is more fitting than introduce. We want Jesus to encounter people and come home in hearts and cultures to awaken and make life full. There is an amiss if we stay at the level of introductions. Our desire is to have Jesus enter in and host the feast.

Hi Steve...as one of the authors of the Framework document, just wanted you to know that WM/HM staff are using the next few months leading to April board meetings to begin to give clarity about what the new agency will look like.  This will certainly get us into more of the nuts and bolts of how we will be equipped to come alongside of congregations and partners.

And yes, although the framework does seem quite conceptual and the process perhaps a bit slow - it reflects a lot of input and feedback from staff and stakeholders over the last five months.   Having buy in and clarity about vision, values, postures etc. will go a long way towards shaping a new organizational culture and living into a new way to serve congregations and leaders as we step into mission together.  

We share your passion to see all of this translate into becoming an agency that learns to come alongside our congregations and leaders to do 'kingdom building' work!  Thanks for your comments as we work towards this.

The document is not an easy read. Not to say that it's not understandable-- in fact, it's quite well written and thoughtful, and speaks to many realities of an evolving mission environment. But my frank side leaves me wondering after reading the document, "And?" Perhaps this arises from my desire to see what the practical application of the framework looks like. Or perhaps it's because it's being manifested from the proverbial ivory tower of the CRC. We love that stuff-- we really do. And it's important. But if you're looking to capture the energy and excitement of an organizational transition, perhaps reduce the scope, be more succinct, and provide a clear answer to how this framework will support the future mission agency and why that's something to get excited about.

I echo Chad's sentiments. Relate this back to our Gospel call to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ in our communities, and how we translate the NMA to 'Kingdom-Building' work.

Certainly there was a great deal of thought in putting this together - thank you!  Our landscape has certainly changed and the need for de-centralization has become apparent.  So thanks for those considerations.  One glaring omission, in my opinion, is that the name of Jesus Christ is not mentioned in the grounding vision and mission statements.  The vagueness of just using the term "God" leaves it too open ended.  Our intention is to proclaim Christ to the nations - He should be front and center.

I support missionaries because they do stuff that I don't want to do. I am not a Type 1 personality. More like a 3 or 4.

Thanks for sharing this resource.

Were the people tithing before the program began? 

What to start with? As for me a key to a good missionary newsletter is it to be written by a person who truly cares about the issue he/she is addresses to you with and if it is personalized. People do not want to see bare information but thoughts, feelings, and experience (like in this source). I would like also to add that despite paper letters recalls warm feelings I still prefer emails: in this case you won't harm nature as no trees will be cut to make paper. Here is only one tiny nuance: be careful them not to be recognized by a system like spam.

World Renew is also available to help churches prioritize their missions support.

In the US: Wendy Hammond whammond@worldrenew.net

In Canada: Rhonda Elgersma relgersma@crcna.org

The writer should make plain if she means any type of Newsletter (printed or digital) or just the printed newsletter when she types Newsletter. Obviously the answers will be different.

Hi Wendy, As someone just returning to overseas missions and who is working on a prayer letter this morning, I am very interested in responses to your article.  I am planning to send most prayer letters via email and have a Facebook group as well.  To me, the biggest question is whether churches are actually distributing the letters to congregations.

I love reading missionary newsletters, but I'm also very involved on a missions team, so that might explain my high level of interest. Photos and stories that give cultural context are the most interesting.  Stories of people's lives being changed by the gospel are essential, but harder to come by.  

I print them out to be picked up by church members, but the paper copies are rarely taken home.  Most are recycled. I take excerpts,and photos from them and put them in our church newsletter as updates. That may catch the most readers.

I haven't put the newsletters on our church website, but it may be worth a try. Only some of them would want their writing available for the rest of the world to read.  To me (older generation) that brings with it a serious lack of privacy.

We get newsletters from all our missionaries by email. You can sign up to receive them yourself. They do get photocopied and put in members mail slots. It works well saving a lot of time and money for the missionaries. Dispersing the newsletters among our members is an easy way to support the missionaries.

I like newsletters that tell about the things that the missionary is doing as well as a bit about daily life. I like learning about the countries they are serving in. Pictures are nice too. Mostly I want to hear how the missionaries and the family is doing, things to praise God for and things to continue to pray about. 

I think I need to be more invested by communicating with them more. Email is so easy and a note now and them would probably be very welcome. 

Good questions, Wendy. Like you, I also enjoy reading. Updates from missionaries were always exciting to find in the church mailbox. I appreciate images (the more the better!) and stories of daily life. I also like to hear of specific needs and ways to get involved. 

As far as format, I think it makes sense to send the newsletters digitally. That being said, there are still so many things that I enjoy reading hard copy (magazines and the newspaper) so maybe the newsletter is worth keeping around :) 

Hi Salaam, I’m a little late (several months) noticing your posted article.  I think you post some challenging questions.  But I doubt that other religious adherents feel challenged by Christianity any more than Christians feel challenged by other religions.  They all propose different pathways to God and are not meant to be stepping stones to anything except to God.  In fact, most religions are mutually exclusive, therefor not stepping stones at all.  Few religions try to accommodate any other religion.  For example Christians claim there is no way other than Christ to win God’s favor and acceptance.  As Christians, we don’t see any other religion as a stepping stone to Christ or God.

Another important question that needs answering, is who is to say that other religions are false and only Christianity is true?  That seems to be the assumption that you are working with.  We might claim that only the Bible is the inspired word of God and therefor completely true and trustworthy, and therefor lays out the only valid pathway to God.  But that is also what every other religion claims, as well.  What makes the Bible true and not the God inspired writings of other religions?  Or is that just a matter of opinion?  Is there anything that validates one religion over another, Christianity over all other religions?  

Why are the claims of other religions false and not our claims?  As Christians, we may assert that the claims of other religions are not logical, are nonsense.  But is the Christian assertion that Jesus is God and has come down to earth from heaven and taken on a human nature, lived a perfect life, was crucified but rose from the dead and has now returned to heaven from which he will return one day to earth in all power and glory, is this any more realistic or logical?  Other religions likely say that our Christian claims make little, if any sense.  So what is the basis of us saying our religion makes sense but other religions don’t, therefor we are the only true religion?

And now for the crux of G. Anderson’s concern, winning Christian converts from within other religious beliefs.  Of course that points to the exclusivity of the Christian religion.  If Christians believed that there are many paths to God, they wouldn’t be concerned to pull Muslims, Hindus or Mormons away from their own religions to make them adherents of Christianity. But of course Christians are quite willing to see a Muslim convert suffer the anguishes of hell on earth (persecution) and to rejoice that they have become a Christian.  That’s exclusivity at any and all costs.  And that exclusive attitude by Christians is because our understanding of salvation is directly opposed to the teachings of all other religions.  Other religions are hardly a stepping stone to Christianity.

Much more could be said, but I’ve gone on for too long already.  Thanks for sharing your concerns.  I think they are valid, but not easily answered.

We will miss you, Abby! We hope you can still give us some guest posts about your experiences this summer.

Abigail, thank you so much for sharing your experience and insight. You've been a blessing to this community and I look forward to "seeing" you around still!  

Thanks Salaam for adding more material from Luther. Very interesting that he was worried about losing people to Islam because they were "disposed to much less splendid errors," and that he advocated fortifying the people with more sturdy arguments.

Thank you Greg for this enlightening article. I think you an I would agree with Luther that it is important to understand Islam. :

       Alongside of your article, I read Sarah Henrich and James L. Boyce, "Martin Luther—Translations of Two Prefaces on Islam: Preface to the Libellus de ritu et moribus Turcorum (1530), and Preface to Bibliander’s Edition of the Qur’an (1543)" in  Word & World , Volume XVI, Number 2, Spring 1996. It can be found on-line.

    These two Lutheran scholars translated two of Luther's works from Latin into English, and I thought they might give your readers a more nuanced view of the fact that Luther was not entirely enamoured with religiosity or papist--and made a critical distinction between someone who worships a generic Creator, and someone who worships the Trinity.   Here are a few excerpts from their document:

[at times I have put the word "Turks" in brackets as that is how he referred to the Muslims of his time]

 

II. LUTHER’S 1530 PREFACE TO THE TRACT ON THE RELIGION AND CUSTOMS OF THE TURKS

p. 259 

"Nevertheless, they  [i.e. the Turks] continue to deny and ardently persecute Christ,

p. 260  

.." these evils [i.e. of the Turks] are concealed by such a beautiful, effective, and robust show of ceremonies, good works, and false miracles..... the religion of Christ is something other than ceremonies and customs and that faith in Christ has absolutely nothing to do with discerning what ceremonies, customs, or laws are better or worse, but declares that all of them squeezed together into one mass are not enough for justification nor are they a work for them to perform. Unless we learn this, there is danger that many of our people will become Turks, disposed as they are to much less splendid errors.

p. 261-261

These defenses are the articles about Christ, namely, that Christ is the son of God, that he died for our sins, that he was raised for our life, that justified by faith in him our sins are forgiven and we are saved, etc. These are the thunder that destroys not only Muhammad but even the gates of hell. For Muhammad denies that Christ is the son of God, denies that he died for our sins, denies that he arose for our life, denies that by faith in him our sins are forgiven and we are justified, denies that he will come as judge of the living and the dead (though he does believe in the resurrection of the dead and the day of judgment), denies the Holy Spirit, and denies the gifts of the Spirit. By these and similar articles of faith consciences must be fortified against the ceremonies of Muhammad. With these weapons his Qur’an must be refuted.

 

III. PREFACE TO THE QUR’AN OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER, PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY AND PASTOR OF THE CHURCH AT WITTENBERG

 

p. 264

Muhammad acknowledges, however, that he is devising a new belief that dissents from the prophets and apostles. Therefore, as you firmly repudiate the beliefs of the Egyptians who worshipped cats and of the Arabians who worshipped dogs, so you shall denounce the new creation of Muhammad, because he himself openly admits that he does not embrace the teaching of the prophets and apostles.

 

p. 264-5

But since this punishment is already in sight, may it warn us, as I have already said, to separate ourselves in prayer from the Turks, from the Jews, and from the other nations, and to invoke the eternal and true God, the creator of all things, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was crucified for our sake and raised from the dead.

 

p. 266

The following corollary assertions provide a source of great encouragement: Just as the church of God is eternal, so it is fitting that the church’s teachings be eternal; yet this book witnesses that this creation of Muhammad is a new thing. The church of God by necessity embraces the prophets and apostles; Muhammad rejects their teaching. In the church of God from the very beginning this voice of the gospel has always been handed on: that the eternal Father willed that the Son of God become a sacrifice for sins; Muhammad scorns this sacrifice and propitiation.

Therefore, it is of value for the learned to read the writings of the enemy in order to refute them more keenly, to cut them to pieces and to overturn them, in order that they might be able to bring some to safety, or certainly to fortify our people with more sturdy
arguments.

 

 

Thanks for the information, Julia! 

Apparently, Canadian donations received by Candian charities (World Renew in Canada should qualify) before May 25 and earmarked for the Nepal Relief will be matched 1:1 by the Canadian government.

Kim--Thanks for your comment and pointing out 2 Cor. 12:9--love that verse! So encouraging for us when we face discomfort. 

Thanks so much for sharing this and giving us all something to reflect on. It reminds me of 2 Cor. 12:9.

Aaron--Thanks so much for your thoughts! I'm not sure that I quite understand your comment though--do you mean to say that the effort is there we just aren't doing things effectively?

awesome thoughts. i totally agree with them but i think its been my experience that people are trying to reach young people and not forgetting them. its almost a target demographic i feel that the CRC doesnt know how to reach

Thanks for this helpful resource, Staci! 

"Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus"  by Nabeel Quereshi is a very good book written by a former Muslim who came to Christ in his twenties.  The theological, cultural, family and philosophical struggles he had to go through are well explained and narrated in an easy to read story format.  Even the intellectual knowledge about the poverty of the koran, the contradictions of the prophet Mohammed, and the truth of Jesus, could not initially overcome his reluctance to accept it.  This reluctance was mostly because of the cost... the cost of family relationships, and  the built in fear of eternal death for believing in Jesus as God.  It is a very interesting and revealing book.  

I think Bill we have been living under the auspices of Constantine for 1700 years but that is less and less the case in a post-Christian society. Any advantages that we derived from Christendom are long gone and now we are entering a period where life will be more like the situation Christians faced in the pre-Constantinian environment in the Roman Empire. This will mean a change in thinking about how we approach the world. We will need a lot more humility.

 

It was a different world when Christianity was considered a Jewish sect by the Roman government. After 70 AD (?) "being" Jewish and/or Christian became a suicide pact. Then things calmed down for awhile until Constantine made Christianity the ruling religion and Judaism, again, became a suicide pact. It took the Jews 1500 years (?) to catch on. Is Christianity becoming a suicide pact? 

Thanks for the post - I think that this is more than a suggestion or a good idea, but is critical to the future of our denomination. We simply must learn to better relate to those who are different than ourselves. Thanks again.

Greetings Harry:

   I purposely put the quote from Accad at the beginning of the article as an introduction to his thinking.

As you read through the article, I show that I actually completely disagree with this line of thinking.

  A large problem with the view of other religions is that more often than not it is anthropocentric, or having humans as the starting point.

Might I refer you to a recent book entitled "For Their Rock is Not as Our Rock" by Daniel Strange.

He shows that any and all religions are at once a quest for God due to a God-shaped vacuum, and at the same time a rejection of God due to the fall causing humans to want to be the sovereign masters of their destiny. 

    Thank you for engaging.

Blessings in Christ

Shalom.

"Your view of Islam will affect your attitude to Muslims. Your attitude will, in turn influence your approach to Christian-Muslim interaction, and that approach will affect the ultimate outcome of your presence as a witness among Muslims."

Let's address this to the two main factions:

Your view of Sunni Muslim will affect your attitude to Shia Muslim. Your attitude will, in turn influence your approach to Sunni-Shia interaction and that approach will affect the ultimate outcome of your presence as witness among ourselves.

Would the template of interaction between Catholics and Protestants be something that could work in the Muslim world?

They need to find a solution to the violence among themselves.

thankyou for your clear thinking and writing on this.  

Along with the team from Strathroy East that you mentioned, quite a few other teams are visiting missionaries in Haiti too. Just reading a few of the missionary blogs, you can see the mutual benefit. 

1. Larry and Tracy Luth enjoyed a fresh perspective on Haiti after becoming accustomed to some of it's unusual sights and sounds.

2. John and Carol Vanderstoep especially appreciated a visit from Maranatha CRC, their sending church.

Thanks so much for that excellent and important question, Fronse! 

Susan Van Lopik is a staff person at World Renew and has multiple years of experience in community development overseas. Susan says,

"Not all communities do need or even want “outsiders”.  It is presumptive of international or local community development practitioners to assume that we can enter any and every community.

Personally I think of the community, its members and structures, to be the real change agents, not outsiders. So I agree with what I think you are suggesting here that the leadership comes from the community.

I do think outsiders can play a role within the community to grow their own vision, to strengthen their organizing, and support their mobilizing which are important ways to support community leadership.

In World Renew’s practice, we work with skilled local partners who are known by the community and who also know the community.

World Renew enters communities by invitation. Often that invitation comes from community leadership through a local partner that is already working in the community, and/or a local church in the community. Working through invitation by the community provides a certain amount of legitimacy for those coming from the outside. That legitimacy can only be maintained as long as the community is fully respected."

 

Very insightful categorizations for folks considering ministry, mission in other places.

My wife Germaine and I value and are lifted up most knowing people are praying for us.

Good questions. 

Key question, does the community néed/want change agents from outside? If so are the agents aware/knowledgeable about community leadership structures?

 

 

 

Jack, 

Exactly! Asking for support can be incredibly humbling, which is perhaps why it is so difficult. It is also important for donors to have the mindset that their prayers and encouragement can be just as valuable as money, and refraining from donating monetarily should not be frowned up. 

Thanks for sharing!

Abigail,

Thank you for writing about a subject that a growing number of people are doing or preparing to do, i.e., raising support for the work to which God has called or is calling them.

Having done what is commonly called "fundraising" for many years and for various Christian causes, I know that many--and probably most--Christians are acutely uncomfortable with and hesitant to "ask" for financial support. (Even though I have been at it and even guided others along the way, I still get "sweaty palms" before I talk to somebody--often as a "follow up" to a letter I wrote.) I appreciate how you came to understand how important it is to view supporters as the essential partners that they are. It's important for me to remember that asking for support is or should be more about providing someone with an opportunity and invitation to support and participate in God's work than it is about supporting me and my work. Additionally, praying for and trusting God to guide the prospective donor in their decision helps me remember that my primary job is to present the opportunity . . . whether and/or how much someone gives is God's job.

Hi Harry,

Just to be clear, I wasn't aiming to calculate only foreign missions.  Instead I was counting budgeted amounts that go to ministry outside the local neighborhood.  So, that would include budgeted funding for a campus ministry or church plant in some other part of Canada or the US.  I was including Ministry Shares for Home Missions and Back to God as well as World Missions.  I also wasn't taking into account funds raised by offerings that are not budgeted, nor support for local benevolence, Christian education and the like. 

So, looking at the numbers you provided my guess would be that your denominational and classical Ministry Shares are about 40% missions so that would be 7% of your overall budget.  Adding your last category of "Church's own foreign" (8%) and World Renew (5%), I'm thinking your total is about 20%.  I'd say that is excellent.

I'm curious about your focus on travel costs.  They are significant of course, but by far the biggest cost of doing foreign missions are the salaries paid to personnel.  The travel costs are much smaller. 

About 27% of the world's people live in people groups where there are few or no Christians.  In those settings there aren't any indigenous people to do the mission work, of course.  Also, most missionaries do spend a substantial portion of their first term in language study, but we also have people come to us with significant language background before they start, especially Spanish.

posted in: Missions Priority

Hi Steve,

This is an interesting topic and I urge you on to dig deeper into this subject. For immediate feedback here is our church's result:

Ministry Shares /Classis  18%
Salaries                            35%
Local Ministries                17%
Property/Adm.                  12%
World Renew                     5%
Deacons                            4%
Church's own foreign         8%
                                       100%

To get to the total foreign content you need to add WR, WM share of Ministry Shares and the 8% we spend directly what we would call Foreign Missions. About 50%/60% of the amount goes to the Airline companies to get our folks to the local mission field.

I have asked this question before. How much does CRCNA HO (Burlington/Grand Rapids/Chicago) spend on travel in one year by employees of CRCNA who are stationed in these three location (and in Canada and USA) but travel to foreign mission and foreign aid sites?  If you then add to that the cost of transporting Missionaries on their bi-annual or tri-annual leave to their home countries we would get a the real costs of "doing" foreign missions.

Also with the influx of some 1.2 million people per year into North America from all over the world, maybe we should focus "World Missions" on those entering North America! That then becomes local evangelism or Home Missions.

As a general principle the CRCNA should  get to a position of having only indigenous people as missionaries on the ground in foreign fields (immigrants to NA who would be willing to return to their own country would of course qualify).

I believe many governments are now requiring immigrants to be proficient in English (or French for Quebec or other languages for other countries) in order to qualify to enter the country. The same rule should apply to "our" missionaries going to foreign countries.

posted in: Missions Priority

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