Missions Support Question

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by El_Guero, Aug 7, 2006.

  1. El_Guero

    El_Guero
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    I saw an interesting CP (cooperative program) quote.

    Hence, this missionary support question: Do independent missionaries see that mailing costs cost as much money as the support?

    I.e., if the supporting church gives you $10 dollars per month, does it cost them and you $10 per month for mailing costs. . .

    I would expect that John or other missionaries would have real world experience. And yes, I suspect it might actually cost independents more 'administrative costs' in raising their support, but do 'administrative costs' come close to the actual dollar amount raised?

    Experience is great. And I look forward to hearing what you experienced. But if you could, I would prefer something that I could actually quote - like one would find in an article or book. Can I quote you? ;)
     
    #1 El_Guero, Aug 7, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 7, 2006
  2. RandR

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    In many cases, the sending agency helps with postage and mailing costs, or sends the updates on behalf of the missionary. In other cases, the missionaires don't mail updates but once or twice a year. (Is this the gist of your question?)

    Our family has supported missionaries with Mission Aviation Fellowship and received farily regular correspondence from MAF that is not that dissimilar to the montly bulletin inserts a church can purchase from IMB and NAMB. The correspondence wasn't specific to the missionary, but neither are "our" publicity pieces. The missys themselves sent a letter once a year or so.

    Rafiki foundation is another that sends general updates, etc.

    I'm not an m and these are only anecdotal, so they probalby won't help your research terribly.
     
  3. RandR

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    I just realized you might be referring to the cost of mailing the support. Yes? No? My experience is that monthly support checks go to the sending agency or persoanl account in the U.S. and don't involve overseas postage.
     
  4. John of Japan

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    Real world experience, yes indeedy! We had a church once that supported us $10 a month. This was one of those "We support many many missionaries all over the world" churches, of course. :tongue3:

    The $10 actually did cover mailing costs, but here is the deal. Do they actually expect us to visit them on furlough? If we take a furlough after four years, that is a total of around $480 of support in that time. Subtract the cost of flying home for furlough (divide ab. $3000 for the family among 50 chuches), corresponding (or calling) with the pastor long distance about visiting them, taking the actual trip (gas, wear and tear on the car, meals, possible motel on the way) and there is not much left of their great investment. :smilewinkgrin:

    But hey, it's our duty, so we visited them. Fortuntately we could schedule other churches in the area so their great investment in our ministry was not that much harmed.:laugh:

    Having said that, there are some of those little investors that are precious to us because they are doing their best. We used to get $10/month from Miss Dotty Reichal, a handicapped lady whose story I told on the "Unsung Soul Winners" thread. We currently get $15/month, I believe it is, from a tiny SBC country church with a pastor who is dying with a crippling disease but who sits in a wheel chair and preaches every Sunday. This kind of supporter is precious because of the encouragement they are to us.
     
  5. John of Japan

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    I just noticed you wanted something quotable, El_Guero. I was a little flippant in my last post, so let me doctor it up and add a little. And yes you may quote me.


    We had a church once that supported us $10 a month. Their goal of course was to be able to support manymissionaries all over the world.

    The $10 actually did cover mailing costs, but the problem occurs if they wish us to visit them on furlough. If we take a furlough after four years, that is a total of around $480 of support in that time. Subtract the cost of flying home for furlough (divide ab. $3000 for our family in those days among 50 chuches), corresponding (or calling) with the pastor long distance about visiting them, taking the actual trip (gas, wear and tear on the car, meals, possible motel on the way) and there is not much left of their investment.

    However, we visited them as is our duty. Fortunately we could schedule other churches in the area so their investment in our ministry was not that much harmed.

    Having said that, there are some of those little investors that are precious to us because they are doing their best. We used to get $10/month from Miss Dotty Reichal, a handicapped lady whose story I told on the "Unsung Soul Winners" thread. We currently get $15/month, I believe it is, from a tiny SBC country church with a pastor who is dying with a crippling disease but who sits in a wheel chair and preaches every Sunday. This kind of supporter is precious because of the encouragement they are to us.
     
  6. El_Guero

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    John & R&R,

    Thanks!

    The reason that I ask is that the CP has advertised that their method (mine by default as an SBC'er) saves a significant amount of money as opposed to the other methods of supporting missionaries. 2% versus 50% is the comparison. The advertisement actually claimed that you would use 50% of your support in postage . . .

    And I thunk, "What!? That has to be completely out of the ball park."

    I think it is outta the ball park.

     
  7. El_Guero

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    John,

    From what you indicated, $10 a month gifts do not have an inherrent 50% cost loading. And I would think that many of the givers give more than that.

    As I get mature, I begin to wonder if maybe SBC churches shouldn't support some missionaries directly. I think a little competition might be good for the missionary community . . . not in a negative competition, but in a positive competition manner.

    Just a tho't . . .
     
  8. John of Japan

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    Here are a couple more factoids for you.

    A missionary in an independent faith mission such as ours typically pays an administration fee. Along with support from churches directly to the board, this pays for the mission headquarters, equipment, salaries of office employees, etc. Our various area representatives typically raise their own support, so this keeps our fee low. Our board may have the lowest fee of all the IFB boards at $225/month. Personally, I think this is quite reasonable for what the mission board does for our ministry.

    This fee in our board's case does not cover our prayer letter. We have a prayer letter service that sends out over 200 prayer letters for us five or six times a year at the price per mailing of about $160.

    Looked at this way, the church supporting us for $10 a month doesn't do a whole lot for us. Here is the good news, though. Our average support per church in 2002 was $90.34. So churches in the $10-20 range are very rare anymore.
     
  9. El_Guero

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    So the CP advertising is pretty much a good human version of marketing hype, but not representative of all of the missions agencies?

    ;)
     
  10. John of Japan

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    RandR, I'm glad to read of your burden for missions. Good for you!

    If MAF is a typcial faith mission board, the missionaries probably pay an administration fee to the board from their support like we do. Also, most boards have a requirement for the missionaries concerning reporting to the supporters via prayer letters. In our case, our board requires a minimum of 4 letters per year, though we try to send 5-6, so I'm somewhat surprised at the one letter a year or so that you mentioned.
     
  11. John of Japan

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    Well, without seeing the original quote, I can't say for sure, but.... :smilewinkgrin:
     
  12. El_Guero

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    John

    My cousins were MAF related and I think that 1 or 2 a year was what they were sending out then - not positive. They are YWAM last I heard and they are sending out about 2 a year.

    I am looking more and more at raising support, as SBC is not as serious about church planting as we once were. Such is life - between bi-vocational and raising support, I think this will be a good way to start churches her in the THIRD largest mission field in the world.

    At the present decline of churches in the USA - our missionaries will face a serious support problem in 15 - 20 years . . .

    ;)

    Someone needs to burn some roman candles here for you guys over there.

    :thumbs:
     
  13. El_Guero

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    John,

    I may have made a typo, but I think that I proof read that one pretty good . . . ;)

     
  14. El_Guero

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    Who is your sending agency?
     
  15. John of Japan

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    www.baptistworldmission.org

    I'd be happy to answer by PM any questions you have after looking at the doctrinal statement, etc.:wavey:
     
  16. El_Guero

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    http://www.ggbtscp.org/cp_effectiveness.asp

    I pray that this is encouragement and not discouragement.

    God bless

    Wayne

     
  17. John of Japan

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    Wayne, a good deal of that is hype with a small basis in fact. I'd like to see the "studies" they are quoting about independent missionaries, unless by this they mean IFB missionaries sent out from a local church, and even then it is misleading!

    The fact is, an IFB missionary may go on deputation for one to four years, then take a furlough every four to six years (this is changing due to shorter furloughs more often). However, only a small part of furlough is raising funds, and then only if you need more support, so that part of the quote falls through. What they are calling "promoting," we consider to be raising the burden for missions in the local church and recruiting new missionaries. That is a different ball game than the secular word, "promoting," I think you will agree.

    As for "handling funds," that is way off, too. A missionary with his home church as his sending agency has the church handle his funds, and a missionary under a board has the board handle his funds. What I do is handle funds for my church on the field (until we can get a believer to do it), have an accountant do my taxes, and do an expense report to the board every month. This all takes only a little bit of time.
     
  18. RandR

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    El,

    Good luck in your church planting efforts. What a blessing to read of a local church with a vision to reproduce itself! (What happens if the oak never drops any acorns?)

    I don't know if any of this info will help or not, but here are some things I've discovered along the way.

    NAMB CP money for church planting, except in cases of Strategic Focus cities and pioneer areas, is kicked back to the state convention to allocate and distribute. If your church wants to start a new work, the SBTC or BGCT will probably be one of your primary sources of funding.

    You probably know from experience that NAMB doesn't fully support church plants or planters (With the possible exceptions of Strategic Focus cities and pioneer areas) the way IMB missionaries are supported. Most SBC church planters receive some CP funding, but still must raise direct support.

    Maybe you already knew all of that....

    My initial reaction to the system was one of frustration. It does seem a bit disingenuous to tout the benefits of CP over direct involvement and to claim however many thousand "home missionaries" when so many of them are raising some or all of their own support.

    But now that I've had a while to digest it. I think I like it. I see two potential negative consnequences to full funding. One, a church and planter could become comfortable being "institutionalized" and might not feel any urgency to get out and do the work. Two, if a denomination fully funds its plants, some denominational beureaucrats might assume a certain amount of control over the who, what, where, why, and HOW...instead of leaving that to the local leaders and the Holy Spirit. The more I think about it, the less I like the idea of being fully-funded by the denomination.

    I think the main reason I'm excited to hear about your passion, and the main reason I'm now comfortable with NAMB's system (even if I still think they aren't totally honest in their CP marketing) is because I have come to realize that the local church itself is God's mission sending agent by design. I long for the day when more local congregations stop seeing other churches as "competition" and instead begin to see the lostness around them. There is a reason that North America is the only continent where the church isn't growing. There is a reason why the U.S. had more churches per capita in 1906, than in 2006. There is a reason why the number of churches grew by 50% in the 20th century while the U.S. population was growing by 300%.

    -Too many Christians fail to understand that they are missionaries.
    -Too many churches fail to understand that they are a misison sending enterprise.
    -It is easy to "farm out" our mandate to denominatioal boards and para-church agencies.
    -Too many churches, large and small, have become internally focused. The small might realize it and can't do anything about it because they're in "survival" mode. The large ones don't realize it because they're growing and they have "outreach" events.

    We aren't going to "baptize one million" because we hang a banner, blow a horn, and push for a return to "visitation night". We will only baptize one million as more churches (like yours!) begin to see the lostness around them and realize that Kingdom bulding is more important than kingdom building.

    All that to say...I think the CP marketing you referenced isn't totally honest. Beyond that...I don't think the CP is the answer to the lostness in North America. I think reproducing churches ARE the answer, even if a church has to raise funds in addition to CP or use funds that might have otherwise gone to CP. May God bless you as you lead your church to fulfill its biblical calling.
     
  19. El_Guero

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    John

    I thought you would love that article.

    ;)

    My guess is they must be worrying about competing mission boards taking away their dollars. I think I would worry if I were them also. When you become the 800 lb gorilla, you gotta keep your banana trees hidden from the nimble competitors.

    Wayne
     
  20. John of Japan

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    I didn't know this! So how do they do it, go on deputation to individual SBC churches?

    My Dad was planting SBC churches in Kansas when I was born in 1951, so I was born in the Baptist hospital in Miami, OK, just across the border. Anyway, we were poor as church mice in those days, so I guess not much has changed. I believe Dad was supported by the Kansas convention, but did not have any individual church support, so maybe that explains our church mouse status.
    Amen and amen! We IFB missionaries are invariably considered by our boards to be sent from our home church through the board (never sent by the board per se). Thus, for example, matters of discipline are usually referred to the local church, though the board may take certain steps of its own.

    My own home church bought an old printing press last year, and we plan to have them print up our Christmas tract this year at minimal cost. I believe this type of cooperation of the home church in the missionary enterprise is the Biblical way.
     

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