MOBILIZING MISSIONARIES FOR PIONEER CHURCH PLANTING
“How will I make it?” is quickly becoming our most frequently asked question from otherwise-eager missionary recruits. There seems to be an enthusiastic push towards volunteering in our island ministry and being trained for further cross-cultural ministry…until the issue of finances comes up. It’s partly because we’re not looking for secondary school dropouts or jobless young people who have nothing better to do. The demands of discipling the remainder of Africa’s unreached peoples requires educated young singles and new families who have a lifetime of service to offer their Savior upon these unoccupied fields. We want people of great potential that might use their godly character in a great calling under God’s covering. Young men and women who must prove faithful, fruitful, and yes, are funded.
But there’s that issue again – “How will we survive financially?” The inquiry comes from individuals who have put life-long emphasis on expensive education in hopes that one day a well-paying job will not only provide personal opportunity, but possibly lift the extended family to new levels of prosperity. It’s a tough sell for young people with successful academic careers and bright futures to opt for lives of sacrificial service in a foreign land, uncertain of the provision at their disposal. But that is the call of every missionary and the prospect that all potential laborers must face.
Few and far between are traditional employment opportunities for cross-cultural ministry service. It’s extremely rare to find an organization willing or able to pay workers to preach the Gospel or establish churches, and the very nature of such an arrangement would not only be unsustainable, but could potentially muddy-up motivation & undermine dependency upon God.
The good news is that God Himself has provided means for His workers to be paid. Not only a faithful Father, but also an excellent Employer, He never abandons those He calls to serve Him. But here’s the catch: accessing God’s provision requires faith. Just like any other element of God’s grace (salvation, healing, deliverance, victory, and more), the link to the mighty outstretched hand of God is an upstretched hand of confident certainty. When you are utterly convinced that God will do what He said He would do, that assurance is enough to shift your entire life and family and future to the otherwise unknown frontiers of the Gospel.
This position of contract-less employment on a faith mission adds strange pressure to missionary life. This is already an overwhelmingly difficult occupation but adding in supernatural funding from an invisible boss can seem like asking Manna from the sky. We ought to know. In ten years without active fundraising, our family has laid daily needs before the Father and watched in wonder as He has spoken to individuals to give generously to our lives and work in East Africa. Because of our reluctance to share even pressing needs, we’ve endured extremely lean seasons as well as times of great abundance, but all this decade we have never missed a meal or had to cancel ministry for a lack of funds. Whatever inspired dreams we’ve pursued have had the backing of heaven and have been accomplished in due season.
So if you’re someone who longs to see Jesus worshipped among people who have not yet heard of His fame or seen His glory, why not throw your life at His feet and just see how many he might reach through your years of active duty? If money is the restricting issue, I challenge you to stretch your faith to grab hold of God’s abundance, “…for those who fear Him will have all they need” (Psalm 34:9b, NLT).