20 November 2008

Jeff’s Economic Stimulus Plan... for churches that plan to hack their mission's budgets...

I have entered fantasyland… any missionary would love to be involved in spending money for US churches… I would begin by quoting Glenn Schwartz from “When Charity Destroys Dignity” page 48… “Congregations should consider providing full missionary support for the people that God calls from among them”

But fantasyland does not exist today… and churches across the country are slashing their budgets… so here is Jeff’s Economic Stimulus Plan… for churches that plan to hack their mission’s budgets…

1. Generate Income

IDEA #1: Ask the accountants in your church to volunteer their time to do everyone’s taxes for free… on the condition that the people give as many write-offs as they can to the church or ministries that the church supports… too many people don’t understand that they can give more and it won’t effect their personal finances… the problem is they don’t know how much they can give… teach them!

IDEA #2: Have all of your bible studies and home groups go through a stewardship class… money and the economy are on people’s minds… along with all their bad investments and debts… help them get out of debt, learn to save and to practice giving… the church budget will improve…

Teaching people to give and helping them through their own financial crisis could keep you from ever needing to go to step 2…

2. Reduce Expense

IDEA #1: Cut out all meals covered by the church… appreciation lunches, pastors lunches, discipleship meetings, doughnuts… go back to good old fashion potlucks!

The rest of the ideas are for the mission’s budget:

IDEA #2: The easiest place for churches to cut is directly from the money given to support the missionaries… because it won’t affect the attendance on Sunday (sad, but that is what many have said) … if you are going to do it – which I don’t believe you should… cut only 5-10% but ask them to charge a fee to all US visitors and short-term teams who stay in their home… you will quickly find out who really wants to be a blessing to the missionary and who just wants a free place to stay before they head out for safari…

IDEA #3: Cut out all short-term missions that do not involve… emergency counseling for a missionary on the field, a prospective missionary traveling to the country that they believe God is calling them to or a specific invitation from the national church asking for someone to come and provide training that they cannot provide for themselves… humanitourism (my name word for Christian Angelina Jolies) is robbing many missionaries of their on-going support…

IDEA #4: Put time limits on overseas humanitarian projects… humanitarian project that needs the same amount of money or more money in 3-5 years will never be self-sustaining and will handicap the recipients… encourage nationals to move towards sustainability by incrementally cutting back your support…

IDEA #5: Don’t cut from your missions budget at all… seldom do I… in my independent research… hear of churches pulling out of a financial crisis when they cut back on missions… God’s heart is for all nations so I doubt that he would sign-off on cutting your budget for the nations…

1 comment:

John said...

The first tenant of your economic stimulus plan, could also point all people to first recognize that God has promised to care for all who place their trust in Him. So the fist thing to do is not deny God's ability to provide. He calls for us to continue to honor Him.(not our own fleshly desire to control)
Second, pray and thank God for His past blessings and His great mercy and grace that was on us in times of plenty.
Trust God and be a giver when it doesn't make sense in our own circumstance to give. We have been told that we cannot outdo God. He wants us to trust with our hearts and not our wallets.
Second,humble ourselves to see our missionaries as our own family and not deny them what we give to every other member of our immediate family. Missionaries are not subcontractors, but members of our family.
How about thinking about a substituion day. The congregation eat and work as if they were in the country where the missionary lived.Perhaps be extreme and fast for a day. In exchange, give to the church the money that was not spent that day. Eating rice and beans for a day instead of a double tall soy latte, a double-double and a large deep dish pizza would result in a significant gift that could be place into the missionary account.
Who is my brother? What can I do to share in the work of my brother? Thanks for motivating us to think.