a thought on missionaries

This thought has been rolling round in my mind for a few months now. If you’re reading this blog, chances are good that you or someone you know (i.e. me) are currently or have been in a full time ministry or volunteer position. And let me be clear, my definition of missionary right now is one who works full time or part time for a specific organization with a specific job title and projects to complete. I’m not talking about the “you’re a missionary at your day job” type.

For the first time in my post-university adult life, I find myself not in full time or part time ministry. And I feel (slightly) less uncomfortable saying this. If you are making any sort of money, a portion of it should be going to your church and to the mission field. (If you don’t go to church or consider yourself religious, please keep reading.) I differentiate the two because the actual amount of money given by American church members to missions through the church is shockingly low. According to a study at Empty Tomb, Inc., church members were giving less than 3% of their total income in 2007. Depending on the denomination of your church anywhere from 1%-11% of that 3% will actually go to missions. It’s probably safe to assume that our churches are seeing even less financial giving in the last 5 years since the study. So all that is to say, don’t count on your church to support all the missionaries.

I don’t know how many times in the last 7 years I have thought to myself, “How nice would it be to wake up in the morning, go to work, and know that I’m going to get paid a set amount in each paycheck?”


“What’s it like to not have to ask for money so I can have a salary?”

Or all sorts of battles with “What will people think of me buying a pair of $100 jeans? Or me having a huge diamond engagement ring (okay not huge, but not terribly modest either)? Or what about our new tv? Just because we’re missionaries.”

I think I’m getting off topic there; that’s another issue of how people (myself included) think missionaries should live, earning next to nothing, only buying clothes at Goodwill, never owning a new car, etc. According to the Apostle Paul, being in the field is just as legit of a job title as someone being a teacher or banker or lawyer.

Maybe you don’t even go to church and none of this applies to you. But I bet you’re affected by other nonprofit organizations that rely on individuals’ financial gifts just to function. The Red Cross, the YMCA, PBS, the ASPCA, and countless cancer research and support foundations. If you believe in it, prove it. You don’t have to go walk dogs, just visit their website and give.

All I simply want to say is, don’t forget your missionaries and volunteers. They need your prayers and financial support, no matter how large or small.

Thank you.

[I feel like I’m closing a speech.]

I imagine this is how you might be feeling. Agreement/acquiescence or thought-provoked. Please talk to me about any of it.



6 thoughts on “a thought on missionaries

  1. I agree with Aaron! 🙂 Great thoughts and the picture definitely seals the deal. What is it that we used to say when we were on staff with The Traveling Team?… American’s spend more money on dog food than on missions. I’m sure there are a million other stats like that too…

    My additional soap box 😉 is that even the money that goes to missions from the American church usually ends up going to local outreach efforts or supporting members to go on short term trips. Which means even LESS goes to helping a missionary who is working full time to share the gospel. Always good to see how your missions committee divides their money.

  2. Very well written Becca! I’ve always believed that missonaries were overlooked and underpaid by the general public. I personally believe if i can’t go myself then it is my duty to support those who have willfully given their life to go and preach the gospel. I pray that God will lead and support you and your husband and all will be blessed and come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior!

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