Giving to Missions
by Marsha Hubler
“But I can’t give to missions. I’m on an awfully tight budget and can barely tithe.”
Have you ever heard any of your Christian friends say that? Have you ever said that?
Do you believe God wants you, and will help you, to support your missionaries through the local church or support organizations that spread the gospel around the world?
No one need argue the fact that Jesus, before His ascension, challenged all of us to spread the good news that He is the Savior of the world. For some Christians, that mandate is a direct calling for them to dedicate their lives to full-time ministry, sharing the gospel with those who have never heard. For those of us who don’t become “official” missionaries, we have our Savior’s plea to support those who have put their lives on the front lines any way we can.
Giving to Missions
When you hear the phrase, “giving to missions,” what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Money? Right. I believe almost one hundred percent of those asked that question would respond the same way.
If you have the desire to help support missionaries, but you just can’t give beyond your tithe and other offerings, God knows your heart. He also knows your budget and whether you can give anything—a little or a lot.
However, if you have prayed about giving to missions and you’d really like to give, or you’d like to give more, realize there are other ways of “giving” to your missionaries.
Ways to Give to Missions
1. Faith Promise Giving – Many churches employ this method of supporting their missionaries by asking church members to pledge a certain amount of money each year toward the missions fund. Yes, we’re talking money here. However, the method of raising the funds is unique in that each member prays then pledges a certain amount of cash he feels God is going to provide throughout the year to pay the pledge. Some folks can only pledge $5 or $10 a month. Others pledge more according to their ability. My church, with an average Sunday morning attendance of 160, pledged $65,000 last year, and we have no millionaires in the congregation. I’ve participated in this ministry for years, and God’s always been faithful and the results often miraculous when the funds I pledged have come in.
What if the local church doesn’t employ Faith Promise Giving? An individual or family can choose to initiate its own Faith Promise and experience a unique blessing from the Lord. At the same time, the children in the home learn a valuable lesson in God’s faithfulness.
2. Host Missionaries in Your Home – When missionaries speak in your church, and you have a spacious home with two bathrooms and an extra bedroom or two, offer to house the missionaries overnight. This ministry costs the host family very little money and just a little bit of extra work to have your home in tip-top shape. Many missionaries enjoy getting to know church folks who support them, and they rarely eat much in a “bed and breakfast” atmosphere you might be able to offer.
3. Have a Church Group to Support Missionaries – Start a group of folks with the sole intent of providing gifts to the missionaries once or twice a year. The gifts can be hand-made or purchased then packaged by the group with the church carrying the brunt of the expense to purchase supplies and/or pay the shipping and handling. How about knitting/crocheting scarves or pairs of gloves for missionaries in countries with cold winters? For missionaries in tropical climates, how about toiletries, soaps, lotions, flip flops? For missionaries’ children anywhere, how about school supplies (many missionaries homeschool their children), Christian novels, devotionals, word puzzles, or small games?
One year our church group made beautiful Christmas card placemats (easy to make with recycled cards and clear contact paper) for every missionary family and mailed the mats in plenty of time so the families had them for Christmas.
Just a word of caution: It’s best not to give gifts to the missionaries when they’re visiting your church. When on deputation, they must travel light coming and going back to the field, especially if they must fly.
4. Write to Your Missionaries – Missionaries enjoy hearing from their supporting churches in the states, but many churches have no system of regular communication with the missionaries they support. Now with e-mail, sending encouraging notes to missionaries on a regular basis is easy, time efficient and costs nothing. It only takes one church member to assume this ministry and send a few words of encouragement with the latest church news once a week or once a month, and the missionaries will deeply appreciate it.
5. Pray – Practically every missionary who presents his ministry in our church asks for one thing, and it’s not money. It’s prayer. Missionaries value the prayers of God’s people more than any amount of money given to them. Collect the prayer cards or business cards of visiting missionaries, keep them with your Bible and daily devotional materials, and make it a habit to pray for several missionaries every day. Your faithful prayers will be a treasured gift that every missionary will appreciate from the depths of his soul as he labors far from home for the Lord Jesus Christ.
So, you want to give to missionaries, but you just can’t afford to reach for your wallet? Consider going to your Heavenly Father and asking Him specifically how He’d like you to give. When you follow His leading and give in the manner He suggests, you as well as your missionaries will be blessed beyond measure.
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