Various denominations have different ways of raising support. Some have funding from the Organization but if you are an Independent Baptist, you are pretty much on your own.
After eight years of pondering, (I am sometimes slow to grasp concepts) I believe I have come up with some answers to the way it should be done.
It is obvious that when one is called to the mission field it will require funding but from where?
Most Baptists have a plan called deputation in which the intended Missionary will call and set up appointments with as many Pastors as he can so that he can go and present the case for his work.
Once at the target appointment the Missionary will present the work, usually by a slide or dvd .
There may be a question and answer or some preaching and the Church will give a love gift, perhaps take him out to dinner and hopefully, sometime in the future he will contact you and say that they will pick you up for so much $ per month.
What is the Goal?
Well the goal is usually put on the Missionary by his Church or a Mission Agency. (This is not Biblical)
I have heard Missionaries to the Philippines who were told unless they have at least $4000 per month support, don’t go.
If that was the case I would not be in the field writing this right now.
We as rational people should do some planning as to how we will live, budget, housing…The goal would be reaching that which you have set as to what it will take for you to go to the field.
We need to believe that if this is God’s mission, He will pay the bills. How much should the missionary be doing is the question. I heard one man say, “Don’t set a dollar amount, set the time”
With any decision we make I must emphasize that you must have the will of God in all things. This is not an instructional, step 1, 2 ,3… as to how to reach the field. This is what I have found and it is to open your mind and your awareness of God speaking to you no matter how He does that.
Making a date (With no feeling of opposition from God) is just like Gideon with his fleece. God does not oppose fleeces as long as it is an inquiry as to His will in your life.
We made a date. Let me tell you, unless you have the money to go your date means nothing so unless God has approved your date you will not be going.
God Approved Our Date
How do we know God approved the date? Well, we had no money for the airfare for the four of us (wife and 2 children)
God provided a donor who was not a Christian, Lived in Dubai and saw our website. A little aside here. A website lets people know your plans, your accomplishments and your needs and God uses your best efforts that He has inspired you to do. Many people criticized our website as not being God’s will.
Today many of them have the same type of websites.
So we received the funding for the air fare and to ship some books. Then we had a free house offered for our use, near the Church. It was fully furnished and we used it for 3 &1/2 years. Praise God!
We did some deputation but although we were promised much, in actuality the promises were not fulfilled.
There were many who said one thing but did another and much of deputation (except for a few wonderful experiences) was bogus for us. Looking back I see it was not important. We did what God told us to do. It did not depend on our presentation or the Pastor of the church. If we were going to be supported, God would move those He chose to do it. Whoever refused would not be blessed and those who obeyed God would be blessed.
uses your best efforts that He has inspired you to do. Many people criticized our website as not being God’s will.
Knowing When It’s Time
This is the easy part. When the date you set is near and you have your plane tickets and know where you will be staying, you then have positive knowledge of the time.
We raised $550 per month and that was to pay all the expenses of our family as well as running a Church.
Ridiculous eh? We have seen a lot of people return to the States because they could not make it financially. All of them had more than us. So what is the secret?
Don’t look to man. We would look one way for money and it would come from another. It never came when we thought but many times it came before we thought. This all verifies the fact that God pays His bills.
Does that mean people should not give because God will take care of us? Of course not. If God has motivated you to give and you refuse you will not get the blessing He had for you. I did learn that not everyone would be motivated. This too is God’s plan for our lives.
I also learned that God sometimes holds back His blessing to let us learn to depend on Him more. This is His will and you will just need to endure it.
Lastly, What kind of ministry will you have?
I believe I would have enjoyed a ministry down at the beach with palm trees swaying and holding services in the sand. Unfortunately, God called me to Payatas one of the poorest places in the Philippines. Do you know what? Even there are no palm trees or beaches and money is always tight, there is no better place for us because God put us here and sustains us.
Preaching the Gospel. Teaching the children, watching the various ministries build up the community, is all the blessing we need.