Keeping mission vision alive and growing A quarterly publication of Mission Data International

Archive for the ‘Fundraising’ Category

Obstacles to Serving in Missions

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

“I have traveled the country speaking and meeting with college students from 150 colleges, teaching God’s heart for the world and challenging people to live missionally,” says Josh Cooper, author of the 2013 book Hold Fast: The Mission of God and the Obstacles of Man.

“Everyone has at least one good excuse why they shouldn’t live their life for the mission of God. Therefore, most people who live for God’s purpose won’t end up doing so accidentally. Out of the hundreds of thousands challenged to be missional Christians, only a small handful make it.”

Cooper recognizes nine obstacles which hold back today’s students and keep them from considering full-time missionary service as a reasonable option for their lives:

  1. A lack of awareness of God’s mission purposes
  2. A focus on needs closer to home
  3. Materialism
  4. Romantic relationships
  5. Family opposition
  6. Theological issues (e.g., pluralism)
  7. Uncertainty about their calling
  8. The burden of debt
  9. Concerns about raising support

Cooper shares stories of those who have overcome each struggle and provides encouragement to keep the reader moving forward.

» Know students or others who could use this book? Get copies for them and one for yourself, then read and discuss it together.

Interview: Our journey to the mission field

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

For this issue’s interview, we bring you a video from PreparingToGo.com. We’ve posted quite a few videos interviews to PreparingToGo.com this year. In the video below the young aspiring missionaries talk about their journey toward cross-cultural service. Links to three other brief videos with the couple are below.

Watch more videos from our conversation with the Olanders:
How did you raise support?
How to choose a mission agency
Dating and missions

Embracing your inner giver

Friday, December 12th, 2008

In missions we talk about goers and senders. Goers are people on the field planting churches, facilitating community development, training nationals or even working in administrative roles. Senders are people who pray, mobilize, work out logistics and give money so that the goers can stay gone and finish their work.

The purpose of this brief article is to encourage Christians to take ownership of the giving aspect of mission involvement. Giving money to missions may be less public, less glamorous, than actually going overseas, but it is no less important than physically being on the field.

Rarely are Christians discipled to be disciplined and intentional missional givers, whether that giving is directly to missionaries or through church mission committees. So, then, what can we do to train ourselves to take our role as givers seriously?

  • Begin by remembering that where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:21). With this in mind, think of how you can mold your heart to become more generous. Practice disciplines to align your heart with God’s.
  • Next, give regularly, whether that’s monthly, every other month or quarterly. Whether or not you believe the principal of a tithe carried over from the Old Testament to New Testament times, God still deserves our first-fruits.

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Davis Interview: Living intentionally

Friday, April 25th, 2008

by Paul Nielsen

This issue’s interview is with Chester and Amy Davis. I’ve known them both for more than ten years now. They presently live with their four young children in Lincoln, Nebraska while Chester works on a mechanical engineering degree.

They present some ideas here that are challenging and outside of the norm; I was hoping for this when I emailed them about doing an interview. In their own words, they are living intentionally. Their intention: To serve God in the area of missions that uses their gifts and fills a need. They are as dedicated as anyone I’ve personally known in living out this desire. While not everyone will agree with all of their observations or exhortations, the sacrifices they’ve made along the way are something every aspiring missionary needs to seriously consider.

This will be the first in a two-part series.

Propel: You’ve expressed concern about the amount of support required of missionaries by some mission organizations. Can you elaborate on this concern?

Chester: For some reason we, here in America, have bought into certain aspects of the “health and wealth” gospel, and it shows up in support raising. It’s simply un-Biblical to require that God provide exactly how we dictate in order for a person to be in full-time ministry. Secondly, it is outrageous to require that if God wants to use me in ministry that He must provide an income greater than that which be paid a worker in the most wealthy country in the universe.

Amy: It’s interesting to me that people in some vocations can make a lot more being a missionary than they could in the area of their training. For example, a degree in English or history or speech doesn’t generate high pay. But a missionary is paid not for his training or according to his skills, but what is considered a “reasonable living.” This seems (to me) to support a lifestyle roughly equivalent to $60-$70K USD annually. Also, a missionary’s wages increase with the number of dependants. What other field does this? 

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Survey says . . .

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

by M-DAT executive director

In our last issue I requested your input to help shape M-DAT’s new web resource for aspiring missionaries. We have had an amazing response, 350 completed surveys to date! Wow. Thank you so much to all of you who took the time to give us your valuable input. I wanted to share with you some of the highlights from the survey.

First, the most encouraging tidbit of information: 98% of respondents said they planned on using the internet to find information to help them on their journey to becoming a missionary. This serves as confirmation to our staff of M-DAT’s mission “bringing people and missions together using internet technology.” (Now if we could just find a few more people to join our team and expand our capacity to provide great web resources!)

Respondents overwhelmingly affirmed that the video segments we described would be “helpful” or “very helpful.” 75 to 90% of people responded this way for each segment type. We take that to mean we are on the right track!

We learned that people have high speed internet and like to watch video clips. Almost 95% said they had high speed internet and 80% reported watching video clips on the internet everyday to a few times a month.

We learned it takes a long time to get to the mission field! Roughly 50% have had the desire to become a missionary for more than five years. 70% expect it will be at least another two years before they make it to the mission field as a full-time missionary.

We learned that the process of becoming a missionary is difficult. 90% said from their experience so far the process was “moderately” or “very difficult.”

More respondents than we expected indicated they had nailed down some specifics on the who, where, and what questions, but a significant number still had outstanding decisions to make. Roughly 40% said they either did not know or only somewhat knew what type of missionary work they wanted to do, what type of training they would need, or where in the world they would like to serve. 60% do not yet know what organization they want to serve with.

Finally, we had several hundred excellent responses to the open ended questions. Those responses are already influencing some of our decisions for the new web resource.

The survey exceeded our expectations of learning about the needs of aspiring missionaries. We are so grateful to all who participated!

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