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A shift in mission giving?

Author: Josias Conradie
Date: 12.07.2010
Category: Resource Mobilization

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I had been quite busy the past few months with arrangements for the sessions of the Resource Mobilisation Working Group (RMWG) at the Lausanne Congress. It was not easy to put a program together for the sessions. However, the more I had been involved in the RMWG program, the more excited I became with what God is doing around resource mobilization around the world. To give you a taster of the RMWG’s main session on Tuesday 19 October: 9 people from 8 different countries and 7 different Lausanne regions will each give a 5 minute presentation that will flow into the 90 minute session. I promise it is going to be excellent! I hope everybody reading this blog will attend the RMWG Multiplex Session and encourage others to come as well. You will miss something very special if you will not attend.

What is fascinating to me as I am working with the different speakers, is that we might start to see a shift in mission resourcing that will have a profound impact on mission in the years to come. A small indication of this shift is in the enthusiasm of the speakers to send their presentations. The first presentation that I received was not from the US but from Mali in Francophone West Africa! The second was from Brazil, the third from China and the fourth from Sri Lanka! I am still waiting for the 2 presentations from the US … What struck me in the presentations is the passion, vision and Biblical understanding of stewardship from the presenters to see more resources mobilized from within their own countries and regions. Without giving away too much, God is doing a remarkable work in China around giving for mission. The testimony from Mali nearly got me in tears. Compare that to the trend that we start to see in for example Europe and a possible trend in the USA. At a recent global mission conference in Edinburgh, the European mission leaders admitted that they are not able to support mission initiatives financially as much as in the past. During a recent visit to the US donor leaders shared that increased taxes in the US might have very serious consequences on mission giving. One leader told me straight forward that many mission agencies in the US will not survive the expected decline in mission giving.

If these trends are correct we need to rethink how mission will be resourced in the future. North America, Western Europe and Australasia will not be the main regions to support mission financially in the future. They will remain important, but increasingly financial support will come (and have to come) from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Eurasia and Asia. A change in financial support base will have an impact in other areas of mission engagement including mission influence. Often in the past I’ve seen how mission agencies and churches in the West used financial support to influence indigenous ministries in the Global South. If this kind of ‘passport funding’ will not be available anymore, could it mean that these ministries will be ‘freed’ from outside influence and become more involved in what God is really calling them to do? Will they be engaged in different approaches in mission than the ones they copy so often from the West? Will people in the Global South become more generous in their support for mission? Will donors in the West give differently in the future? How will we resource world evangelization in the future in view of these trends?

Keywords: resources, giving, global, funding, trends, stewardship, resource mobilization

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PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down padre_todd (0)
United States

Thank you for your article.  Your article reminds me of one of the problems found throughout the church...the influence of money.  In your article you wrote that, "mission agencies and churches in the West used financial support to influence indigenous ministries in the Global South."  From the local congregation to the mission field, it is sometimes money, not the Holy Spirit, that unfortunately guides ministries.  Perhaps this shift in missions giving will force the global church to do what it should have been doing all along... prayerfully working in partnership with one another in proclaiming the Gospel of Christ. 


07.12.2011
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Rapture7 (2)
United States

The United States use to be one  the forefront nations in missions, but the shift is that people like Africa, Latin America, and Asia are willingly to do more than they had in the past. It is good that they are able to do so. America and other western countries seemed to have to always be the one that lead the way in missions. America may need missions from overseas to help them out. Since these other countries are taking a great stand in missions, maybe they can develop their own style of Christian witnessing and worship as long as they put God first. America, Europe and other former leaders in missions can give in other ways beside money. They can give of their talents, skills, give of their prayers and give of their time. Even though it is a recession in America we can spend more time in prayer and prayer is a fundamental part  of missions. Giving does not always mean money. However, it does help. All countries and nations need to give what they can contribute because we still have to do the work of the "Great Commission."

Rachel


16.07.2011
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down v_lim (13)  
Singapore

Sas, thanks for the clarification. Giving to mission should not decrease if the gifts are given as first-fruits (not leftovers), sacrificially, generously and intentionally. In spite of higher taxes and tighter budgets, some local churches continue their support to missionaries and various outreach programs; a few have even increased their giving (like Andy’s church).

This shift in mission giving (more giving from local churches) is part of the changing paradigm of mission, as outlined by Eldon Porter in his article.

Resource stewardship, if taught and caught by local churches everywhere, could result in an abundant supply of resources for mission. Looking forward to the sessions by RMWG!     


14.07.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 1 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Sas_Conradie (4)    
United Kingdom
@ v_lim: Hi Valerie
 
I agree with you about the local churches giving more to mission. The problem is that many of these churches waste money through ineffective and not strategic mission giving. Churches in South Africa are very good examples of that. Thousands of dollars are raised for mission by a church and then they sent 20 young people on a short-term mission trip to well-evangelised Western Ukraine! There are many examples of that. Many people are now thinking of stop giving through churches and give more directly to mission initiatives. Apparently this is what happened in the US 20-30 years ago as well. People stopped giving through churches because they felt that the churches wasted their money. The way forward is definitely teaching resource stewardship in churches but also distributing information on what is happening in the mission world. I was shocked to hear how little ministers in South Africa understand and know what is happening in the Middle East, etc. On a recent visit to Oxford a minister in an important church in Pretoria asked where Burkina Faso is after a talk by somebody from the country. That despite that Burkina Fas is in West Africa! My conclusion is therefore that for churches to become better stewards of resources they need both teaching and information to give more strategically to mission.

Sas
 

15.07.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Asodestrom (1)
United States
@ Sas_Conradie:

You bring up an interesting issue on efficient giving.  My experience has been that people, particularly the younger generation is very interested in how their mission’s dollars are being spent.  They look for their information primarily through relationship.  I find that in the US, giving is going away from instutitions because they (the donor) are concerned about the amount spent on mission overhead.  They key point is givers are paying attention to how strategic and effective their giving is.  As you so clearly stated, the challenge is for mission initiatives, churches, and missionaries to be clear in communicating how the resources are being applied to the task at hand.


15.07.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 1 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Asodestrom (1)
United States

I am interested in the way missions funding is shifting not only from the perspective of agency leaders but also from local church leaders.

I am a Missions Pastor from a church with a long history of sending missionaries  from our own congregation.  The US in in the midst of a stagnant economy, but in our situation, we have not seen a dramatic drop in total missions giving.  What we are observing is a dramatic change in how missionaries relate to givers.  Those missionaries who focus on developing a personal relationship with their givers find their support levels increasing.  This is not just for US missionaries, but also indigenous missionaries that we partner with.

The use of technology and social media is an important part of a 2-way connection between missionary and giver.

We have a system where all missionary giving is channeled through the church.  Church members can choose which missionary they want to support and we pass the funds to their mission agency.  With this system I am able to observe the connection between how the missionary relates to the givers, and their response.

I could go on all day, but my main point is this.  The more the missionary is able to connect directly to the giver, the stronger the support levels are.  But the greatest benefit is the on-going prayer relationship and the friendship factor.

This is a great conversation and I would like to hear more from local church mission leaders.


14.07.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down v_lim (13)  
Singapore
@ Asodestrom:

Andy, thanks for sharing those insights. It is wonderful when members in the local church have developed personal relationships with their missionaries.


14.07.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 1 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Sas_Conradie (4)    
United Kingdom
@ v_lim:

Hi Andy


I totally agree with you about the need for personal relationships especially in supporting missionaries. CMS, the mission agency I am working with is very successful in this area. The area where I see change is in the area of grant funding from wealthy individuals, foundations and in some cases wealthy churches in the US and Europe. This kind of funding sustains Bible Schools (could be hundreds of Bible Schools), church structures, educational initiatives and expensive outreach programs in the Global South. Without grants from the West these programs will not be sustainable anymore and many might have to close down. To some extent I believe many of these programs and structures are in any case just adopted from the West and do not facilitate really indigenous mission. I think it is important to prepare those ’institutions’ for change and change our focus in giving now to be more strategic in God’s Kingdom.


Sas


14.07.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down v_lim (13)  
Singapore

Economists estimate that within four more decades the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China ("BRIC") would equal in size those of the G6 (US, Germany, Japan, UK, France and Italy). [“Dreaming with BRICs: The Path to 2050”, Jim O’Neill, 2003]

According to a report published last week (on 7 July 2010) by the European Council of Foreign Relations (a pan-European think tank), that shift is already happening. “In 2000, the BRIC countries accounted for a sixth of the world economy. They now account for a quarter (in equivalent buying power). While the US, Europe and Japan are in the doldrums, the BRICs continue growing. One third of world growth in the last decade has taken place in these countries.”


13.07.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down besoman (-2)
Nigeria

The RMWG is an interesting group and those of us who will NOT be in South Africa will hope to get all the papers. Permit me to say that one the issues you may have to deliberate on is how to cause the Church in the global south to face up - I mean see their global responsibility. Yes a lot of work has been done and remains undone but it seems to me as if most of us are yet to comprehend our global responsibility. As long as evangelisation remains a EuroAmerican responsibility, the problems with funds will deepen. The church must be mobilised and converts must be made to see the world from follow-up classes. Happy deliberations!


13.07.2010

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PhContributeBy Josias Conradie   
 
Location: Uckfield
Country: United Kingdom

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