I remember speaking to a missions committee of another church while I was seeking their financial support.
It was looking good, and the church already supported my supervisor, and so I knew that they liked the missionary work I would be joining.
It didn’t seem like everybody on the missions committee wanted to support my family and me. My supervisor is several years older than me, and so somebody pointed out that once my supervisor retires, then they should be supporting the next generation of missionaries who could carry on the work.
He was touching on something bigger than just allocating dollars.
There is a bigger question
Does your church missions budget have an emphasis on raising up missionaries – the next generation?
The final relevant factor for a missions budget suggested at 9marks we are discussing is:
Consider using part of your budget to help send your own members on short-term trips with the goal of ultimately sending some of them out long-term.
This shows great foresight in raising up missionaries for the future. It also says something great about the purpose of short-term missions. They are not vacations with a spiritual bent.
If a church wants to have a truly global impact, they should definitely be supporting missionaries who are currently serving. However, if they also invest in short-term trips with the prayer that God would call them into the harvest field overseas in the future for the long term, then their global impact will be multiplied.
Some churches have a goal of getting everybody to go on a short-term trip. I heard one pastor call it the “mormofication” of his church!
Having said that short-term trips have a strategic value in raising up more missionaries, I also want to guard against an over-emphasis on short-term trips.
Since the 9marks article only mentions short-term trips in this last point, I don’t think that there is an imbalance in the article. However, in practice, in many peoples’ minds there is an imbalance, and it looks like this.
In the imbalanced view, long-term missionaries have a primary task of repeatedly hosting the short-term trips. In this view, the long-term missionaries really exist so that short-termers can exist.
Looking at relevant factor #7, a better view is that short-term missionaries exist so that long-termers can continue to exist.
Does your church missions budget have a focus on short-term trips? If so, is it imbalanced?
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