The average amount WorldVenture workers raise is around $80,000 per year, a number that garners a few questioning eyebrows in both Christian and non-Christian circles. Why does it cost so much to live in a developing country? Isn’t everything cheaper there? Isn’t it embarrassing for missionaries to beg all their friends and family for money?
WorldVenture firmly believes in the support raising process for workers desiring to do cross-cultural ministry, and we offer thorough training on how to develop a partner network in a way that glorifies God. Here are six reasons why our missionaries raise support:
1) Raising support is biblical.
There are many verses that illustrate the correlation between a person’s heart toward money and a person’s heart toward God. Jesus addresses how we should treat our possessions almost more than any other subject. 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 is a beautiful exposition on generous giving and its results. 1 Chronicles 29:9 also tells of the joyful process that giving can be: “The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord. David the king also rejoiced greatly.” In this way, missionaries who are raising support are providing a way for others to experience the joy of heartfelt generosity.
3 John 5-8 also offers instruction in giving to workers of God:
“Dear friend, you are being faithful to God when you care for the traveling teachers who pass through, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church here of your loving friendship. Please continue providing for such teachers in a manner that pleases God. For they are traveling for the Lord, and they accept nothing from people who are not believers. So we ourselves should support them so that we can be their partners as they teach the truth.”[Hear it from one of our own missionaries: 50 Reasons Why I would Raise Support All Over Again]
2) Raising support offers people a way to invest in God’s Kingdom.
Missionaries operate in a similar way to business entrepreneurs. They have a vision and mission, but they need the investors and funding to bring their great ideas to reality. Missionaries aren’t begging for money; they are inviting their networks to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Those who give of their hard-earned money are quite literally investing in the growth of God’s kingdom, through missionaries working to spread the light of the gospel to all corners of the world.
3) Raising support holds the missionary accountable to their work.
Missionaries will often go to a country independent of an organization and/or lacking a network of supporters. They don’t report to anyone, and no one is keeping them on track to accomplish what they set out to do. But when a missionary is backed by dozens of individuals, families, and churches, it is a beautiful picture of the body of Christ working together. The accountability and regular encouragement that comes from ministry partners helps missionaries stay the course—especially in long-term endeavors. This is not just a business relationship, where money changes hands each month. The relationships that form between missionaries and their partners are some of the most meaningful because of the sacrifice and partnership they represent. Financial partners are also (hopefully) the fiercest prayer warriors, because of their deep desire to see all people come to know Christ.
4) Raising support prepares missionaries for long-term ministry.
For the majority of missionaries, the partner development journey is one that is often marked by disappointment, frustration, and periods of inactivity. However, partner development can also bring incredible joy and encouragement from seeing God’s faithfulness in very tangible ways. In reality, this season of ups and downs is just a taste of what normal life looks like overseas. Throw in language acquisition and cultural adaptation on top of raising a family and doing ministry, and you start to realize why learning perseverance and trust in God during this time is crucial to long-term success on the field.
5) Raising support is a ministry in and of itself.
Not only does raising support strengthen missionaries’ resilience, but they are also given opportunities to minister to people with whom they meet. Sometimes this means encouraging them to step out in faith and give generously; other times, it is simply offering a listening ear or prayer. Partner development is a two-way street: it is not solely about the missionary and what they plan to do overseas. Henri Nouwen said, “We do not need to worry about the money. Rather, we need to worry about whether, through the invitation we offer them and the relationship we develop with them, they will come closer to God.”
6) Raising support results in lasting fruit.
The amount WorldVenture missionaries raise may seem excessive, but keep in mind that the overall goal is to keep missionaries thriving for the long haul. Our support packages focus on long-term health: retirement plans, education savings, health and evacuation insurance, vehicle funds, housing expenses, and more. A larger support package allows missionaries to have a plan in place for them to stay long-term, instead of being forced to return because of financial stress. The more others are involved in supporting missionaries on a spiritual and financial level, the more likely these workers are to stay on the field, and become a more effective witness for the gospel each day.
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(Photo credit: Flickr/Glenn3095)