10 Reasons Missionaries Struggle to Raise Support

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Jonathan Charles's picture

What a negative view of missionaries!  Missionaries struggle to raise support because some are overbearing, manipulative, lazy, complaining, worldly, have a critical spirit, have no vision, are slick and insincere.  I would think that if one was contacted by 200 missionaries in one year that a big reason missionaries struggle to raise support is because no church could take on that many missionaries in one year.  Most missionaries I have met seem honest, sincere, hard-working and godly.  A few may have struck me the way Jeremy has observed missionaries, but only a few, only about as many as I could count on one hand.  The reason missionaries struggle to raise support is because they are looking for a needle in a haystack, calling hundreds of churches to get a single meeting, and then visiting many churches to get a single supporting church.  I think the process is flawed, but I don't see any way to move tens of thousands of independent churches to doing the process differently.  It is a trial for the missionary, but maybe a worthwhile experience; if they can't endure deputation, maybe they shouldn't go to the field.  Two things churches could do to help missionaries are, first, only have missionaries in if there is a possibility of being able to support them.  I let missionaries know up front whether it looks like we will or won't be able to take on any missionaries in the time period of their deputation.  After making this clear, sometimes a missionary still desires to visit our church and we have the missionary in.  Second, churches could give more.  Giving statistics I have seen concerning Christians are horrible.  One recent statistic was that Christians give an average of 2.5% of their gross income.  If Christians would give generously and sacrificially, the local church would have its needs met, and missionaries would get to the field quicker.   

Jonathan Charles's picture

I don't think the 10 reasons apply to 9 out of 10 missionaries I have met.  The author needs to quantify "some," does he think that his observations apply to most missionaries he has met?  If so, then he has met a pretty lousy batch of missionaries.   

Jim's picture

Jonathan Charles wrote:

I don't think the 10 reasons apply to 9 out of 10 missionaries I have met.  The author needs to quantify "some," does he think that his observations apply to most missionaries he has met?  If so, then he has met a pretty lousy batch of missionaries.   

Has he not done this?

Author wrote: "I have talked with hundreds of missionaries. In fact, last year I was contacted by over 200 missionaries looking for financial support. Through these conversations I have made several observations about why some missionaries struggle."

Lee's picture

From just a surface reading of the article it certainly came across as more judging motive (character [?]) than making a discerning observation with the goal of problem solving in mind. 


Jonathan Charles's picture

I thought his first observation was right on.  Missionaries should contact churches that they are in philosophical harmony with; once they find a handful of such churches, network from those churches to find other philosophically like minded churches.  

Anne Sokol's picture

i probably know one missionary who was like this, maybe I don't know a lot of missionaries? Though I think I do ...

If you got 200 pastors calling you yearly, you'd probably get the same impressions Smile

But, as a missionary , I didn't take offense at his comments, really. It's true. if a missionary really is those things, it's hard. But sometimes they are taught to be those things by professional Christian fundraisers who are coaching them (and getting paid for it).  This irritates me, too, that people now have to pay money to "learn' how to raise money. It's insane.

Also, I mean this really sweetly. I'm not upset. Just not using flowery language. but I'll use smileys! Smile Smile Smile This logic really bugs me: that if the missionary can hack deputation, then he'll probably be able to hack it on the field, too.

Stop and think a bit. Do you know how many missionaries have raised full support and then quit the field before 4 years were over? And do you know how many missionaries do not have full support but stay on the mission field year after year? I could name a lot of those.

So, I will add to his list about the fundraising thing.

11. It really bothers some missionaries' consciences to be aggressive fundraisers.

12. It is distasteful spiritually to be persuaded to use so many business-world tactics in raising support.

13. Maybe your mission agency doesn't require you to raise full support, so you'd rather go undersupported for the above reasons.



Jim Welch's picture

I do agree with article.  These points are valid.  

I will make one more point, the well is drying up.  In other words because the base from which to get support is shrinking (you can supply any number of reasons for this), good missionaries are having a hard time getting to the field fully supported.