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

Archive for the ‘Missions and money’ Category

The Transformational Small Church

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Originally posted to Ed Stetzer’s blog, the following article by Nathan James — co-pastor of Epoch Church in Little Rock, Arkansas — looks at various aspects of being a Transformational Small Church.

At times it may seem that small churches can do little for the kingdom because of limited resources. But in reality we are all called to reach the nations, and every church is empowered by the gospel to make a global impact, regardless of size. Nathan is here today to address that very issue.

Mobilizing People For Missions

God can transform your life and show you his heart for the nations if you allow him. I had one of those experiences not long ago when our church took its first international mission trip. I had the chance to lead a team of twelve to serve the Lord in Haiti on July 4th, 2010. I had been on an international trip before, but this was the church’s first. I want to point out something I was starkly reminded of: When you are willing to follow the Lord’s mandate to reach the nations, then it is as if God pulls back the curtains and gives you a wider kingdom perspective. The way you pray changes. When you pray, Our Lord, it has a whole new meaning. The way you worship in song changes. When you sing, “How Great is Our God,” your worldview broadens. The way you see those around you changes. When someone is hurting, you have a keener sense of compassion. Are you willing to allow the Lord to broaden your kingdom perspective? (more…)

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.


Resource Highlight: Generous Giving conferences

Friday, December 12th, 2008

I’m highlighting Generous Giving again, following the theme of this issue. Generous Giving is aptly self-described. It contains an incredible wealth of information from stories to statistics. One of my favorite anecdotes on the site is a story about two doctors living in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The first time the IRS audited the couple it did so thinking that no one could give as much of their income away as the Finchers.

This time I’d also like to point out their upcoming conference in Arizona as well. Find more information about the spring event via this link.

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? 


Living on less to give more

Friday, April 25th, 2008

by M-DAT executive director

Ask an eighty year old about victory gardens and ration coupons and you will hear some interesting stories. These programs were instituted during World War I and II to limit consumption and free up materials needed for the war effort. Average citizens sacrificed to achieve victory.

A few years ago I took a mission course, that introduced me to something called the “wartime lifestyle.” It takes the concept mentioned above and applies it to the Great Commission. Jesus left the Church the task of taking the Gospel to all people. How can we limit our consumption to free up resources for the completion of the task?

First, you must find out where your money is currently going. You can not adjust your diet unless you know what you are eating. Track spending for a month, then make a plan. It is sobering to realize that over the next 20 years the average American household will have one million dollars pass through their hands. You need a plan in place to tell that money where to go. No plan, expect waste. College students and singles often think they are exempt from needing a plan. This is simply not true. They are often times the ones that are the most susceptible to waste. Getting a plan in place and sticking to it takes a lot of courage and discipline. But if you are serious about living on less to give more, you have got to do it. I recommend attending a Financial Peace Seminar or the Financial Peace University to help.


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