When a missionary resigns or retires, churches or their mission committees often face the difficult task of deciding where to use the newly-freed funds. Oftentimes, this decision ends up being made subjectively or, as the saying goes, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.”
These questions will help your church make an objective decision about your church’s budget for missions.
- Do your goals match? First and foremost, you need to look at your own church’s mission/vision statements. This way you can ask yourself how supporting a new missionary or project aligns with your own values. Answering this question will also guide you as you answer the other questions below. Does your church emphasize an urban focus in its ministry? Consider supporting a missionary who serves in a big city.
- With which agency does the missionary serve? Keeping your church’s mission statement in mind, look at the mission and vision statements of the sending mission agency. Do you share similar values? Some other questions to ask of the sending agency: What kind of missionary care do they provide? How are missionaries and the agency held accountable? Do they value the voice and priorities of the local community leaders where they are working? You can find a full list of organizations that are approved by synod in the 2015 Acts of Synod on pages 697-99.
- How many missionaries should your church support? Sometimes when you are looking at your church’s support for missions the question should be shifted from “who else should we support?” to “who should we support more?” It is always better to choose quality over quantity when supporting missionaries. When missionaries have fewer but deeper relationships with churches they will have more time to focus on these relationships while on home service. Review your current expectations for partnership with your missionary and ask if you are currently meeting those expectations.
- How long of a commitment are you making? Does your church want to become a long-time partner with a new missionary, or would you rather make a shorter commitment (1-5 years)? Also, consider when you want to reassess your commitment. Would you reevaluate your giving if the missionary changed location, ministry focus, or sending organization?
Christian Reformed World Missions will help your church prioritize your commitment to missions. For more information contact Trish DeJong (Canada) at firstname.lastname@example.org or Marcea Holtrop (United States) at email@example.com.