“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7
Do you have a plan for your missions giving? No, not “planned giving” or “legacy giving,” both pseudonyms for estate planning, but a real plan for how you give money to missions in the here and now. Have you ever taken the time considered your priorities and “plot” out your personal missions budget? There are thousands of missionaries, organizations, projects, and causes making appeals. Without prior planning, one tends to spend money on the strongest appeal, the most compelling letter, the slickest website, the most persuasive speaker, or in other words….the missionary agency that spent the most on its marketing campaign. We, also, give to projects that pull at our heart strings…like starving children. Sending money to help upgrade a mission agency’s email server or paying for a missionary to get legal advice from a national lawyer about how to set up an NGO (non-government organization) in a new country just doesn’t make us reach for our wallets. So sit down and take some time to evaluate and plan your missions giving.
You say, “That is all fine and good but where do I start? Do you have a model of what my mission’s giving should look like?” We are so glad you asked….
1. Be Broad in Location
Acts 1:8 says that “…you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Many Christians see this as a call to balance local ministry with global ministry and often identify Judea as their city/county, Judea as their state/region, Samaria as their country, and the ends of the earth as international missions. Some agencies only work in local areas like your town’s local homeless shelter, while other agencies have worldwide outreach like Samaritan’s Purse. Support various agencies so that your missions “portfolio” is well represented in all parts of the world!
2. Be Broad in Type of Ministry
Some people only donate to church planting or evangelism, while others only give to “humanitarian aid”. The Bible calls us to both. The key is to diversify and give to many different types of ministry. Some organizations specialize in “niche” ministries such as camps, medical missions or translation work, while other organizations operate in many arenas of ministry including disaster relief, church planting, evangelism, etc. Here again support individuals or organizations in a wide array of ministries.
The key is to determine your priorities and establish a plan to make sure your giving follows these priorities. To help you plan your missions giving in both location and type of ministry, we have provided the matrix below. The matrix shows various forms of ministry compared with geographic area. The percentages are just “examples” to get you thinking. Note: We are not advocating you pick 100 different agencies and send them each a dollar. Critical mass is also important. We are just pointing out the fact that our giving needs to be driven by priorities not whoever is hitting us up for a donation at the current time. So dig out a calculator and figure out where you want your missions dollars to go!