Are you making these three mistakes in your missions giving?
Mistake #1 Giving the wrong amount.
Ever wonder, “Do they really need my support?” Or think, “Oh, those big ministries have so much already?” Instead, ask yourself this question, “Where do I want to sow and reap?” The amount you give is not just to meet the need of the receiver, it’s also for you – the sower. Every ministry of integrity accomplishes as much as they can with the resources they receive. If they receive more, they can do more.** So as givers, let’s not give based on how much a ministry needs, but on how much we want to invest.
Mistake #2 Giving to the wrong need.
Our hearts are stirred to give when something offends our sense of justice: we see people starving, kids left homeless, caught in the sex trade, sweat shops, suffering persecution or natural disaster… there is more bad news than we can follow and we certainly can’t help everybody. The key is to partner with ministries that bring the long term-solution – the gospel of Christ that finds and raises disciples in those places and turns the tide of disaster into a flood of righteousness. We ought to invest where we see the highest rate of return for the people we are trying to help, that means investing through people we know.*** As in every other function of the gospel, proven relationships are for God’s purpose and are the way to blessing.
Mistake #3 Giving to projects.
Projects are the fastest way to raise donor money because they are easy to promote and require no ongoing commitment. They look like one-time solutions to difficult problems – we give, and feel we’ve done it. But neither life nor ministry stop at the end of a project. As it is at home, our sent ones in the field must also keep on working, and living. The Great Commission is not about simply giving to projects, but to send our people to make disciples of every other people. This is the Biblical pattern: supporting apostolic people to produce apostolic movements. The social world can do projects, and we can help, but our first Great Commission responsibility is to support the ongoing gospel that changes lives.
**In Canada you can check any registered charity on the CRA website to see if what they’re collecting is in the bank or has been put to work.
***Accountability is a donor’s responsibility. Ask questions.