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Featured A list of mission boards that do not meddle

Discussion in 'Evangelism, Missions & Witnessing' started by ErikJon, Mar 27, 2020.

  1. ErikJon

    ErikJon New Member

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    Hello, friends.

    I've been working for years as a missionary to Latin America, and never had the backing of any missions agency, but just the help of my home church in Atlanta.

    I started out when I was single, and no IFB churches seemed interested in helping me as a single man, and especially since I had no association with any missions agency. After about 30 presentations and another 50 telephone calls, I got discouraged, gave up, and left for Latin America without 20% of what I needed, and only my savings to live off of. My parents kept my bedroom intact, back home, and I could store whatever I wanted. They took care of the house while I was gone.

    In Latin America, I cut corners, lived in a poor neighborhood where the rent was low, found a room for rent in the house of a church family, paid about $40 a month, ate small meals, and survived. I even tried to get a part-time job, but no job paid more than about $2 an hour, so it was not even worth it. I had no car, no health insurance, and a few thousand in my own bank account, back home. I led about 600 people in a sinner's prayer, however, and got about 45 baptized converts, so it was still worth it.

    Gradually three churches that I had not even appealed to, in the U.S., began supporting me, back in Atlanta, in addition to my home church, and several random individuals, so suddenly I had some income, but never more than $950 on average. My home church started handling the donations for me, and depositing them to my account in the U.S. Funny thing, two of the churches were not even Baptist, and several of the individuals, either, but I sent them regular reports just like anyone else.

    The local economy got so bad in the country where I was living, that the local currency gradually lost value against the dollar, so my money started lasting longer, and prices went down, in general. I actually got to the point where I could even save about $200 a month, and then draw enough from my savings, once a year, to fly home for a visit to family and the three churches that were supporting me. I kept praying for about $2,000 a month in income, for years, but never got more than about $950 on average.

    Eventually I got married there, expecting to live there for the rest of my life anyway, as the ministry itself was wonderful, we had stable living conditions, the option to buy the whole house with all that was left in my savings account, and our financial needs did not really increase, to my surprise. Our doctor friend from church took care of most of our medical needs, for free. We still had $200 a month in surplus, to save.

    Each time I came home, I realized that the cost of living was quickly rising in the U.S., however, and especially healthcare, so the money that I thought I was making, was actually now inflated, compared to when I started. I also had some unexpected medical needs, and dipped into my savings time and again.

    Eventually we had to leave our mission field, because crime and politics got extremely bad. We were forced to leave and re-locate to another part of Latin America, but the cost of living was much higher there. People were equally open to the gospel, however, so I saw no reason to change our plan, after a three-month survey trip there, evangelizing five days a week, and leading 70 people to the Lord, and seeing about seven of them come to church, as well.

    Still, I realized that I would need MUCH more income, in the long run. No longer did I need $2,000 a month, but more like $3,000 to $4,000--and especially because of the rising cost of living in the U.S. Car repairs, gasoline, healthcare, health insurance, government fees, and other things were continually working against me, eating up all of my savings.

    Back home, my elderly parents became so ill with Alzheimer's disease, coincidentally at the same time, that they could no longer take care of their own house anymore, so my brother and sister stepped in, to help, but they were not as supportive of my career as my parents had been. I began to realize that, in the grand scheme of things, I would no longer have a place live with my parents, during our trips home, nor a place to store my things anymore, before long, nor a place to stay. I would need much more income, beginning soon.

    So, we finally started toying with the idea of joining a missions agency, as the standard IFB approach, albeit twenty years late.

    I had always heard bad stories about all of them, however, how controlling they were, demanding that we leave the country by a certain date, that we not return without a certain amount of financial pledges, forbidding me to preach at certain churches, or even forbidding me to receive money from certain groups, wanting to know my schedule, demanding a portion of my income, and so on. And, if I should dare get into an argument with them, they would send out vague letters to all my supporters, telling them that I was no longer fit for their agency, leading churches to believe that I had fallen into sin or something. I had also heard that some churches had preferences for certain agencies, and would even reject missionaries from certain other agencies.

    Nevertheless, being in desperate circumstances, I feel that I have little choice, but only because I will be contacting churches that do not know me or my home church, nor any of the churches that I have worked with so far. My letters of recommendation are only good when they know the author of the letters, apparently.

    Except for one possibility, and that is, that I find a well-known missions agency that could support me with its own seal-of-approval, based on my doctrine, work and references, but one would not get involved in my scheduling, after that. I guess they would need to know SOMETHING about my scheduling, in order to CONTINUE recommending me, years later, but what I mean is that I need an agency that stays way out of my business, if that is even possible.

    1. Can anyone recommend SEVERAL reputable IFB missions agencies that serve to approve missionaries, without getting involved in too much of their ministry afterward?

    2. Incidentally, how important is it, that the missions agency be well known? I cannot imagine that the average pastor has even HEARD of more than ten agencies out there.

    3. Are there any such agencies that do not even charge a monthly fee or percentage of income? With only $950 a month in come, I cannot afford to pay anything at all, right now.
     
  2. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    I was with Baptist World Mission for 36 1/2 years, and would highly recommend the board to most people. However, you have already put several stipulations in place that mean you would not be happy with BWM. For example, good luck in finding a board that does not have a monthly fee to operate, or that would not demand accountability in areas of doctrine and practice.

    What you apparently want is not a mission board per se, but simply an agency that will handle your funds for you--and that's all they do. There are organizations like that do that, but I can't recall any names right now. Maybe it will come to me.

    You might try All Points Baptist Mission at All Points Baptist Mission – A ministry with the world in it's view and the church in it's heart.. One of their missionaries recently told me that they don't demand much. They do have some good missionaries with them.

    By the way, don't fear doing some deputation to get more support. It is an awesome opportunity to meet pastors and learn from them, enlist prayer warriors for your ministry, etc.
     
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  3. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    May I ask a couple of first?

    1) Why did you not want to go under a mission board in the first place.
    2) The title of this thread is "A list of mission boards that do not meddle"
    It appears you want your cake and eat it too.
    So why are you so opposed to mission boards.


    -- There are scores of mission agys out there. And dont limit your search to to "totally" IFB. There are boards which in the past were "approved" by The GARBC. Though they are affiliated with an organization - they are still very much Independent churches and mission boards. A couple of those would be Baptist Mid Missions, and Association of Baptist for World Evangelism.
    I could recommend others -but really depends on your doctrine statement.
    You mentioned that 3 churches did support you - do those churches support a board approved missionary which could give you a recommendation?

    Why would you NOT want to be involved with the board.
    Suppose a person wants to join your church - but they will - provided they don't have to be involved??!!


    2. Incidentally, how important is it, that the missions agency be well known? I cannot imagine that the average pastor has even HEARD of more than ten agencies out there.[/QUOTE] I am very familiar with many, many mission boards- Granted, I have moved over 25 times in the past 50 years - (I was military for many years) - so first - it is not urgent a mission board be "well known".

    I am not familiar with how much that a mission board "charges" but it would be deducted from the amount that would be put into your account. First - a board can be a great help in many ways. - thus they should be entitled to financial assistance. Lets go back this that prospective member (I want to join but I don't want to be involved) Now that individaul states - well, with only 950 dollars a month - I cannot afford to give an offering?
    You have stated how the Lord has provided in many ways - would the Lord not bless you because affiliated with a mission board -

    I have never been a vocational missionary - but when I went to Germany (with the US Army) I was making 240 a month (back in 1971) was the youth director of my off base Baptist church. that entire time - the Lord provided.

    I find it interesting that you title this
     
  4. ErikJon

    ErikJon New Member

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    Thank you all, so much, for offering suggestions to an otherwise confused individual as I am. You are all a great blessing to me.

    You all have brought up some good points, which helped bring to mind some other issues which may be related to my quest for the right missions agency.

    One is the fact that my focus as a missionary is not church-planting.

    One pastor even told me that most missions agencies or churches did not approve of missionaries who did not have as their goal to start new churches, but I have yet to see whether that is true or mere heresay. It would be a whole lot easier to get funds if I did, but I just refused to be a pastor or plant churches if it was not my calling. I have had ample evidence for many years that I have the calling of an "evangelist," so I would rather not change ministerial careers for the sake of making more money. But when I say "evangelist," I mean in the sense of one who evangelizes, not one who just goes from church to church preaching sermons and collecting fees (although that practice is sounding increasingly enticing, these days, as you can imagine).

    While I intend to do much more revival meetings in the future than I have done so far (maybe only ten, so far), initially I always made a point of avoiding ordinary pulpit preaching (unless it was a specifically evangelistic event), because I felt that my few supporters back home were more interested in my soul-winning and in getting my new converts firmly integrated into the fellowship of the local church, than any other activity that I was involved in. I did not want to lose my support by getting involved in too many other side issues. I did not want to take five afternoons of any given week, for example, just to prepare a sermon, when I had urgent follow-up visits to make, every day of the week, to the home of people who had just received the Lord, the previous week.

    Consequently, in my reports I never mentioned the fellowship activities, or my involvement as a music director sometimes, but would talk about how many we had led to the Lord, whom I was discipling, who was baptized, and other evidence of the new believer's maturing in the Lord, especially in the stage of teaching him how to evangelize and make follow-up visits, himself. I kept my reports down to one page each.

    Of course, looking back, I now regret that I did not accept more speaking engagements, because it is also an important skill for all areas of ministry, but, at the time, I did not know where my little personal-evangelism ministry was headed, so I did not see the long-term value of developing two skills at once: evangelism and preaching. I am now trying to compensate that error by doing much more preaching, but also knocking on doors with the host church, as I did last week in south Georgia.

    So, my work as a personal-evangelist, and nowadays my wife's, also, involves three areas only:

    1. Personal door-to-door evangelism, up to five days a week,

    2. Weekly follow-up visits to the home of every person that we lead to the Lord, whereby we sit in the livingroom or on the porch, and teach him doctrine, essentially discipling him in the home, while also taking him to church on Sundays.

    3. Conducting evangelism workshops from church to church. I teach evangelism technique as well as encourage and exhort the church to do more evangelism. The visitation program generally doubles in size from then on, even months after we finish.

    I teach on subjects such as:

    Why every local church should practice personal evangelism

    Common fears, excuses, and other obstacles to overcome when becoming a soul-winner

    The Plan of Salvation

    How to give punch and power to your presentation of the gospel, to see better results

    The eight essential stages of an effective evangelistic conversation

    How to develop an effective visitation program in your own church

    Common pitfalls in every visitation program

    A proven, effective, long-term follow-up strategy for new converts

    Common challenges encountered when making follow-up visits to disciple a new convert

    So, technically, our evangelism workshops discreetly includes the second stage of discipleship, or the importance of making follow-up visits, including the proposal that each soul-winner should take personal responsibility for discipling the very people that he leads to the Lord.

    But from now on, I think our ministry will also include some evangelistic preaching.


    ***************

    As for the question regarding why I did not want a mission board in the first place,

    1. I had always heard bad stories about all of them, how controlling they were,

    a. demanding that we leave the country by a certain date,
    b. that we not leave without a certain amount of financial pledges,
    c. forbidding me to preach at certain churches,
    d. forbidding me to collaborate with certain other missionaries, or even
    e. forbidding me to receive money from certain groups,
    f. wanting to know my schedule,
    g. demanding a portion of my income, and so on.

    Keep in mind that I have been dirt poor for twelve years now, so anytime some agency talks about taking a cut, I am apprehensive. I had heard that this money was previously used for postage, photocopies, mailings to my supporters, and similar things, decades ago, so it seemed that the fees were suddenly excessive.

    In fact, I have heard that some churches do not accept missionaries who use missions agencies, because they see that their own money is not even going to the missionary, to but to the agency.

    Yes, I understand that one can always contribute, even when he is earning very little himself, as we do with tithing, but the question was whether this was really an exorbitant expense merely to have someone's doctrinal seal-of-approval on his prayer card.

    Actually, the one thing that I do not necessarily need right now, thank God, is someone to handle donations, but I may need that in the future, so thanks for the tip about clearinghouses. I don't think it would serve my purpose, however, regarding the need for winning a pastor's confidence. He would not care which bank I used to save my money, nor which clearinghouse did the deposit for me, right?

    Yes, like I said, I am ignorant of the whole process, so if the fees cannot be avoided, I will simply choose the least meddlesome missions agency and pay its fee.

    As for "meddlesome" in the title, I am beginning to understand some of the principles of missions agencies, but I just did not want any agency that would pose any threat to the way I have handled things already for the past twenty years, such as forbidding me to come visit my elderly parents, once a year, or expelling me from their organization, only because I accepted an invitation from a pentecostal cell group to speak at their next meeting, after which they would end up sending me $100 a month for the next three years. Not exactly orthodox practices, perhaps, but I never compromised my Baptist doctrine for their sake, and they were happy to help a productive Baptist soul-winner, just the same.

    Please keep the suggestions coming, as I find them all helpful.
     
  5. ErikJon

    ErikJon New Member

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    Incidentally, I don't know exactly what you meant by accepting associations with missions agencies that were not Independent Fundamental Baptists. It seems that doing so would be an immediate turn-off to some pastors that might otherwise accept me.
     
  6. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    I find it interesting that you mention "Why every local church should practice personal evangelism" (bold - my emphasis)
    the
    It appears from post # 4 - that you desire to do everything yourself and that you want no accountability.

    First, let me mention this about a missionary I knew in Germany. The purpose of the mission board was to
    inititae Bible clubs for children. Germany is a very closed field for the Gospel. So it sounded like a very good
    reason to just reach children. Well, Dale did a great job with these kids - and eventually - these groups of kids
    along with parents ended forming local churches!
    You state that "You have heard" But have you investigated those situations?

    Keep in mind that for the most part the executives of those mission boards have been on the field for years
    And they understand the needs and pitfalls of serving on the field.

    Now back to not wanting to plant local churches. You state you only want to evangelize. - Well, as you mentioned -
    a local church is to do that. By planting churches -you will be discipling young men who also will be able to go out
    and evangelize. The missionary pastor who started our church later move about 70 miles away to plant another chruch
    While he was planting that church - he started Bible studies in two other areas. Thus three new churches were planted
    and now are evangelizing a good portion of Upstate New York.

    and now one last thing - you claim to be a Baptist - one of our core doctrines is the local church. Mind you- Evangelists have their place -
    but ministry should be done thru the local church.

    Would like to ask - one last question - How much Bible college education do you have?
     
  7. ErikJon

    ErikJon New Member

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    Thank you for the post, Salty.

    And for pointing out the gaps in my explanations.

    And I am honored that you took the time to read and share.

    To clarify, yes, I work only through the local church, and I certainly understand that no ministry should go on without the local church either supporting it or sending it or supervising it.

    My home church is in Atlanta, and I have been accountable to my home church for the past fifteen years that I have been a member there.

    But on the field, I chose a "local" home church, so to speak, in order to be accountable directly there, also, and have the benefit of counseling and guidance, as well. It turned out that the founder and pastor was a BIMI missionary, Tennessee Temple graduate, and he sort of took me under his wing, but did not make me a leader per se until after several years of testing. The church has about 1,000 members, one of the largest in the country, and has been there for 36 years, and also started about 25 other churches around the country.

    In fact, I had a decent soul-winning strategy of my own, when I arrived, but he helped me make it even better. I had no follow-up strategy whatsoever, and he introduced to me a good one, which is now the one that I currently use.

    I did all evangelism under the supervision of his local church, and channeled all new believers into his local church, and attended it myself, and participated in all of its activities as my only church on the field. I also met my future wife there.

    I simultaneously sent reports every two months, for fourteen years, to my home church in Atlanta, and supporters, and even made phone calls to the pastor and a couple of elders at that home church, regarding side issues that I did not feel necessary to include in the reports, such as any occasional schedule conflicts on the field, or advice for when I was courting my future wife.

    So, yes, I have worked entirely through the local church, wherever I go, as a bonafide member and attendee.

    In fact, as a college graduate, my wife and I enrolled in the local pastor's own Bible Institute, in Latin America, a four-year program of about 100 students from different IFB churches in the area. Courses in theology, doctrine, discipleship, evangelism, counseling, history of the church, music, missionology, etc. We coincidentally graduated best in class, albeit each in a different year. Meanwhile my wife graduated from a nursing college nearby, as well. So we have college degrees and Bible Institute diplomas, but not hardcore seminary degrees as such.

    Five years later, the pastor asked me to be a teacher at the same Bible Institute that we had graduated from, but only to teach Personal Evangelism, and later, to teach Personal Discipleship, and I did so for about eight years. I wrote about 500 pages of material to use as my own textbook for the two courses, containing about fity topics beyond what I mentioned above.

    I simultaneously developed our workshop, however, so that I could teach a condensed intensive course of both subjects, to take to churches around the country, under my local pastor's supervision, so that I would not only teach those Bible Institute students who were obviously already interested in the subjects, but now entire congregations who were partly uninterested and needed motivation. It seems to work, because first-time soul-winners end up getting involved at the host churches, and the visitation program doubles in size, even months after we are gone.

    So, I don't mean to suggest in any way that I don't want accountability (although I can understand how my statement about "meddling" can easily be misconstrued as such, as I am not particularly eloquent in my choice of words), but I just meant that I wanted accountability from my own local church, from my own pastors and elders, and not from outsiders at a missions agency that did't really know me from Adam. I feared that some agency would inadvertently start to dictate things that would end up limiting the work or scheduling that my pastors, elders, and supporters had already thoroughly approved of.

    As for my calling, I just assumed that, in the days of the Early Church, God had distributed the task of carrying out the great commission, into five categories: church planting, preaching, evangelism, pastoring, and teaching (Eph 4.11) and that my particular calling was to evangelism (like Philip's work in Acts. 8, which included soul-winning, as in the case of the eunuch).

    But aside from evangelism, I have a tiny bit of talent for teaching, by the grace of God, but I have felt that God wants me to limit it mainly for teaching the subject of evangelism and any side issues related to it (such as teaching how to make follow-up visits). Judging from the results, and the comments from my pastors, the comments from host churches, and the guidance of the Bible and prayer, I cannot help but conclude that this is basically the scope of what God wants me to do, with the exception of a little more evangelistic pulpit-preaching, as I mentioned.

    So, after years of trying to finally discover my calling, as an evangelist, I did not think it wise to turn back and try to become a pastor or a church-planter, after twenty years, just for the sake of doing what many others were doing, although there is obviously some overlap.

    The church-planting missionary that you mentioned, apparently got up and started other churches because that is, according to my understanding, what church-planters are called to do; to set up the new church, win souls (there is the overlap), disciple (more overlap), organize fellowship activities (no overlap there), create Bible institutes (no overlap) train leaders, do administrative work such as renting buildings and remodeling (no overlap on my part), and then LEAVE the work, in the hands of someone that can become the permanent pastor of that new church, in order to repeat the missions cycle elsewhere, and then eventually go back to visit each of those churches from time to time, to make sure things were going well with the new pastor at each one.

    Ordinarily, as an evangelist, I would not have left the local church in Latin America where I was, except for the fact that there was an exceptional case, an ongoing national crisis with violent protests that are still going on for years now, hyperinflation, scarcity of all foods, daily power outages for hours at a time, no running water for days at a time, roadblocks in all major thoroughfares for three months in a row, kidnappings, the highest rate of crime in the western hemisphere, the death of the President, the rise of a new dictator in his place, who refuses to allow Americans to process visas, etc. The U.S. embassy closed also. After twenty years of enduring the worsening conditions, my wife and I concluded that it was finally time to move on to another field, which we did, but now we are in the U.S. only to raise support, do paperwork, acquire visas, get insurance, and decide what to do with my elderly parents who are slowly dying of Alzheimer's disease. In fact, they can no longer take care of the house, so we no longer have a safe place to store our things, nor a house of our own, nor a place to stay when we come to visit, from now on.

    Meanwhile we are attending my home church in Atlanta, as before, and winning souls weekly in the Hispanic communities of Atlanta. 88 decisions for Christ, so far.

    Thank you for your advice regarding not to trust the heresay too much, by the way.

    So, I am wondering if you all foresee any problem with missions agencies, taking into account that I have this unusual evangelism calling.

    By the way, does anyone know anything about this new missions agency at the link below, Mt Abarim Baptist Missions? How well would it go over if I were represented by this agency?

    Mount Abarim Baptist Mission International

    I would also be interested to get in touch with any missionaries who never used a missions agency, but did the work without them, to see how they did it, and pick up some good tips, just in case.
     
  8. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    I finally remembered. If you want no "meddling" and no mission board "accountability" then what you want is not a mission board but what is called a "clearing house." Here is the best known one: CMCMissions

    Be advised, though, they will probably take a fee. That is only reasonable. As has been said, there is no such thing as a free lunch. If you are willing to have their services, then you must be willing to pay. That's just a fact of life, even in God's work. I have had a church print Japanese tracts for free--and they did an awful job. You pay for what you get. Any church that opposes fees from clearing houses or mission boards simply is ignorant, in my humble but correct opinion (as my son likes to say).

    Again, let me urge that you take a year and do some deputation for more support. Otherwise, no pastor will have much sympathy for you saying you are poor. Deputation was very difficult for me; I would pray sometimes for hours in order to be able to call pastors for just one hour. But God blessed and I saw souls saved and Christians revived. And I never one time asked for support from any church, yet when we left for the very expensive field of Japan in 1981, we had full support through prayer--not "begging."

    One more thing: it is my impression that you have some gaps in your knowledge of missions and missiology in connection with the evangelist. May I recommend books for you? (Note that Evangelist Philip was involved in planting a church for the Samaritans, and my evangelist grandfather planted 11 churches.)

    The Evangelist, by John R. Rice (my grandfather)
    Missionary Methods: St. Paul's or Ours? by Roland Allen. This is a very important book in missiology that inspired revival on different fields.
     
  9. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    The president of this board, Dr. Bill Patterson, is a humble and good man of God, a greatly used missionary and Bible translator, and a wonderful friend. The board is not new but has been around awhile. It was started by Bill's father, I believe. Knowing Bill as I do, I would highly recommend any enterprise he leads.

    P. S. It doesn't matter in the slightest what a pastor thinks of this mission board. What matters is God's will. Simply spend some serious time in prayer, and God will lead to His will.
     
  10. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    John - I took a quick look at your link for CMC -and I happened to find a missionary that my home church used to support, thur EBM.!

    Sad part is that my home church no longer supports ANY missionary - they said they could no longer afford missions.
     
  11. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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  12. ErikJon

    ErikJon New Member

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    Thank you, all, for your valuable observations and suggestions.

    As for the importance of prayer, thanks for the reminder. For 20 years I have been praying and fasting, as well, but it is good to have a reminder.

    Incidentally, if you used to pray for hours before spending one hour on the telephone, and yet you never asked one church for financial support, what exactly did you ask for during those telephone calls each time, and what did you ask for when you visited those churches?

    As for the fees that missions agencies charge, this was not the biggest of issues to me, but just a side-issue, but, I will accept the fact of life that the fee is generally unavoidable, if you say so, and stop making an issue of it. As I said, I am new to the missions-agency issue, so I did not know if a third of the agencies charged flat fees, another third took a percentage, and another third offered their services free of charge, but if you mean to imply that 95% of them charge fees, I will accept the fact that it is not worth the trouble to look in to the 5% who do not. (although charging a fee already sounds more inexpensive to me than charging a percentage, so I will keep that in mind)

    Thank you for the opinion regarding Mount Abarim. Did you mean to say that his agency was just as reputable as any of the better-known agencies, or did you mean that it never mattered in any case which agency I chose, because God was with me, etc.? If my chief purpose in having a missions agency behind me is to have their "seal of approval," to pass along in conversation by telephone to churches that do not feel that they have enough time to check out my background and ministry, but who are willing to give me a try based on my association, then it would seem that having an unrecognized missions agency would not accomplish that purpose, and if Mount Abarim is not well recognized by the average pastor, it would be risky. On the other hand, if pastors don't really care, as long as I have some missions agency behind me, and will just give me the benefit of the doubt by telephone, thinking to look into that unrecognized missions agency at a later date, on their own, but will be happy to set up a meeting for me in the meantime, then I will not fret about whether the agency is well known or not.

    Lots of friends have tossed around the word "clearinghouse" in conversation with me lately--such as when I was looking for someone to help with my income taxes--but none of them has explained to me precisely what a clearinghouse is.

    In fact, CMC's website is even less helpful, as it lists only vague concepts (highlighed below in bold underlined text) that do not clearly state what service they actually provide:

    "Central Missionary Clearinghouse is a non-profit corporation organized to promote Christianity and its principles through evangelistic and missionary endeavors including the establishing of churches and schools, translating, printing and distributing Bibles and Christian literature, and the use of all media available to present acceptably the message of Christianity....Our Desire is to complement the work being done and the services being rendered by other organizations by providing for "those for whom nothing has been prepared." Nehemiah 8:10. "

    "Promotes?" "Complements"? What in the world are they talking about? Yes, I understand that they somehow do something that ends up, down the road, helping "evangelistic and missionary endeavors including the establishing of churches and schools, translating, printing and distributing Bibles and Christian literature," but they do not say what exactly it is that they do, in order to provide that help. Do they just manage finances alone? Do they arrange speaking engagements for missionaries? Do they do everything that ordinary missions agencies do?

    I guess the best way to find out is to send them an e-mail, myself, since they cannot seem to explain clearly on their own website, what it is that they offer. Anyway, thank you for the lead, in the meantime.
     
  13. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    My problem was that I hated telephones (still do), so that's why I had to pray hard. I would say to the pastor, "Would you like me to present my ministry in Japan to your church?" If he said, "We can't support you," I'd ask if I could go anyway. You can always get prayer support out of a church even if they are broke. When we visited churches either on deputation or furlough, I simply talked about our ministry--souls saved, churches started, Bible school classes taught, other training, etc. I never, ever asked for support, and at least twice turned down support so a younger missionary or one in greater need could have it.

    My purpose in deputation and furlough was always to be a blessing and to get prayer support, never to obtain funds. We would always go straight to the Lord in prayer for funds, never to the churches.

    I got my principle on this from Hudson Taylor, who believed in never, ever asking for funds as a missionary. I don't believe it is a sin to do so, but it is certainly a step of faith not to do so,and God blessed us for our practice. in 36 1/2 years, 33 on the field, we were never in debt, and never even had a credit card until the last few years.

    Okey dokey.
    All I said and meant was that I know the president, he's a friend, and I would trust him implicitly. I did not say nor mean these other things.

    I see these reasons for going under a mission board:
    1. Help in handling funds and providing contacts.
    2. Accountability to supporting pastors who use the board for this purpose, and trust it.
    3. Accountability in both doctrine and ethics/morality, knowing the board, representing the supporting pastors, will call me home
    4. Accountability in service, knowing that I must be serving God or be called home. This eliminates laziness, which is a problem with some missionaries.
    5. Ability to cooperate on the field with other missionaries of like faith and practice.

    There are other reasons, but this should do for now.

    Years ago I had a friend who was kicked off a mission board for mismanagement of funds.He then went back to the field through a clearinghouse. All I know is that the only thing they do is handle finances for the missionary. Other than that, I have heard that they do not handle accountability issues, so a missionary may not be dropped for one of the reasons above: ethics doctrine, practice, etc.
    You are entirely welcome. :)
     
    #13 John of Japan, Mar 30, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2020
  14. ErikJon

    ErikJon New Member

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    Dear Brother John,

    Thank you for being so generous with your time, to respond to my peculiar questions.

    I just got a response from CMC, and they confirmed that they work only with financial issues, and they sent me an information packet. Consequently, I am assuming that the CMC seal-of-approval is not what pastors look for in a missionary, so, while it may help my financial needs, down the road, or even now, I will still have to seal the deal with a missions agency as such, apparently.

    I think I may have met you briefly, just before I left the country, twelve or thirteen years ago. Or maybe you have a brother, instead. It was at The Baptist Tabernacle in Covington, Georgia.

    I used to go soul-winning with that church and six others within a one-hour radius from my own church, all at the same time, for about six months in a row, in order to show them my enthusiasm for my soul-winning ministry, hoping that it would lead to a little financial support, when the time came to leave the country. Coincidentally each church had visitation on a different day of the week, so that is how I would participate at each church, without missing services at my home church. However, while we had great results, my gesture, itself, was all in vain, because none of those chuches ever agreed to support me, either because I had no missions agency backing, or else because I was single, but none of them ever told me the reason directly anyway, so it is only a guess. They even knew my own pastor, who has a good reputation, and had his recommendation letters, and saw my work, and heard my presentation, and yet it was still not good enough for any of those other pastors. Instead, they would end up just end up asking me to join their church someday. If that is not discouraging, nothing is.

    That is why I eventually left the country with 20% of what I needed, fully prepared mentally, to starve to death, if necessary, rather than continue to bear the burden for Hispanics in Latin America without ever finally doing anything about it. (It is harder to make decisions like leaving so desperately, now that I am married, and have to make sure the wife's needs are always met, and she does not ask much anyway, thank God.) By the time I settled in, I suffered greatly, but I survived, and the spiritual fulfillment was great.

    Now the suffering is increasing however, with dental bills that even health insurance won't cover, and the cost of living in the U.S., car repairs, etc.

    And, of course, I have this ongoing guilt trip, because I knew families in Latin America that survived only $500 a month in total income, and here I am making $960. I couldn't even tell anyone, because naturally they would think I was rich by comparison. But practically speaking, even on $960 we cannot afford airline tickets, health insurance, car repairs, dental emergencies, storage rental fees, and other issues that those people did not even have down there. So, when living among them, I can survive as they do, but from the point of view of the bigger picture, traveling frequently, storing things in both countries at once, I need more like $3,000 for the two of us, especially since we are headed toward a different country now, where the cost of living is about 60% higher than the other, but still, the average citizen makes only $900 a month there, too.

    But I am impressed to hear your excellent testimony to the contrary, that prayer alone worked for you, and Hudson Taylor certainly seems to have set a good example of that.

    Although it is my understanding that he also went through trials like mine, where he felt for several years in a row, that he was called, and at the same time that God had stopped providing the means for him to continue fulfilling his calling. If so, that is certainly how I feel these days.

    By the way, I used to do as you suggested, in the old days, in that I went even to churches that had already told me up front that they could not help me, or that they could not guarantee any help. After my presentation, by the grace of God, they always had glowing remarks, such as, "We love what you are doing, and it is certainly very Biblical and impressive, and you certainly have lots of slides to show of the new converts and how they have come to grow in the Lord, but we will have to talk about it among ourselves, later this year, and let you know." That's what even the President of one of the biggest mission boards in the country told me, way back when he was just a local pastor in Georgia. But after that, I never heard from him or any of the other pastors who used to tell me the same thing.
     
  15. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Glad the Lord is leading you.

    I don't remember ever being at that church, but I have a 2nd or 3rd cousin Bob, with the same last name, who is a missionary to the deaf in the Philippines.

    Praise the Lord that you keep on keeping on, in spite of the difficulties and disappointments. We had some financial challenges too. When we went to Japan the exchange rate was 230 yen per dollar. When we left it was around 120 yen. But God always supplied, as I am sure He does for you.


    God certainly tests us in finances. I had emergency surgery in Dec., and now we owe 1000's of dollars. But I know as you certainly do that He will supply all of our needs, as He says so in the Word of God. And, "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread" (Ps. 37:25).

    My motives in such a case was to get prayer support and be a blessing in regards to the Great Commission. But I must admit I'd go twice and no more to a non-supporting church.
     
  16. ErikJon

    ErikJon New Member

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    Thank you, again, John.

    I thought the guy I met there in Covington introduced himself as John R. Rice's grandson. Founder of Sword of the Lord?
    Surely it wasn't your father, was it? He would be about 40 years old by now, whoever he was back in 2005-2006.

    By the way, I spent five years in Nagoya, also, which is where I became a Christian. I was on the JET program for the first two years and a half, and then started teaching English at Aeon for the remaining two and a half.

    What part of the country have you been working in, and for how long?
     
  17. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    It could have been a cousin. If he was a missionary to Japan, though, it was me. I just don't remember it, but then after being in 100's of churches at various times, who can remember?


    Dad has been in Heaven for many years. I'm 68 now, so in 2005 I would have been 53 or so.

    We were in Japan from 1981 to 2014, when we came here to the States where I teach missions, Greek, Bible translation, etc., in a Bible college. We started out in Saitama Prefecture while I went to Japanese language school in Tokyo for two years, then were in Yokohama for 13 years, then Asahikawa, Hokkaido, for the rest of the ye4ars.
     
  18. Marooncat79

    Marooncat79 Active Member
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    Just curious

    Why do you not see the need to plant churches w your new converts?

    TIA
     
  19. ErikJon

    ErikJon New Member

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    I see. Well, I must have just been confused about who it was that I met, because I would have remembered clearly had he mentioned anything at all about being in Japan. I apologize for the confusion.

    So you and I were there during the Golden Age, apparently--well, you, more than I. I was there from 1989 to 1994. What a cute little place to live, with very little crime, and fairly respectable people, albeit not too friendly to folks "outside their group," as you know. I never made it north of Nagano, nor south of Kobe.

    I dropped in to one of the Japanese churches in Atlanta here, about 15 years ago, and it was pastored by a veteran missionary, about 70 years old at the time. I don't remember his name, nor the part of town (maybe Norcross).

    Anyway, just a little small talk off the subject.

    Thanks again for the tips.
     
  20. ErikJon

    ErikJon New Member

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    Oops. I answered the previous post before I saw the last post, from Marooncat.... Give me a minute to answer...
     
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