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Posts Tagged: Missions

Religious Police Found in Nearly One-in-Ten Countries Worldwide

Apr. 22, 2014By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

Map_Religious_Police

 

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Raising Support: Should You Ask People To Pray But Not Financially Support You

Apr. 16, 2014By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

There are roughly three different fundraising philosophies Christians follow when they raise support. They are:

  • No information, no solicitation approach
  • Full information, no solicitation approach
  • Full information, full solicitation approach

George Muller made the first approach famous. He claimed that he never asked anyone for any money, though he did spend four decades telling stories of God's provision to crowds around the world. One may question Muller's style here. If you had a world-wide audience, where at the end of every message you ended with telling them you never asked anyone for money, what do you think would happen? Muller had so much money he had to give it away - much of which was given to Hudson Taylor!

Hudson Taylor and CT Studd made the second approach well known, and it dominated the majority how missionaries viewed the solicitation of funds in the modern missions movement. It was later called the "faith principle." Missionaries would go out, share prayer requests, but never say how much they actually needed. They just prayed and asked God to meet their needs. Lillias Trotter, founder of Algers Missions Board also took this approach. Read this letter for example to see how this played out.

The third way is seen most clearly in DL Moody, who would write and personally ask people to invest money into the work of Christ's Church. Today most missionaries and those who operate on support take this approach, though I believe many wish approach two worked better!

I would say that most missionaries today fall between approaches two and three. Many do not enjoy asking people for money directly, so they send out support letters with reply cards, but will not ask someone face to face to support them financially.

Here is the crux of the issue - why is it ok for pastors to preach on giving and churches to challenge their people to be generous, but not ok for a missionary to ask directly for people to be generous? Muller's approach was passive agressive. I am asking but not asking. Hudson Taylor and CT Studd were the same - here are our needs, pray about them, but we are not going to ask you to meet them. We are asking God.

The Bible never says that asking people to pray is good, but asking to give is not. It feels manipulative asking people to just pray when everyone knows full well I need financial support. Joining your support team (for whatever you are doing) is a chance for someone to invest in something with eternal consequence. Do you believe in the mission enough to have someone else invest. What better return on investment would you need in order to ask people to invest?

 

 

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Getting PhDs to the Mission Field

Jan. 14, 2014By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

Seminaries and graduate schools around the world are asking for PhD holders to come as missionaries and teach Bible and theology.  I know of one major seminary in Europe who posted their openings in a major evangelical magazine, only to find no takers.  Why is this and how can we help?

Why They Are Hard to Find

1.  God has not called them.  This is simple enough.  To go to another culture with your wife and kids usually requires God to uproot you in some way that is so clear that you believe God is leading you to the field.   

2.  Some think raising money is below their degree.  I only write this because I have heard it so often.  Raising support is for the M.Div. students, so I have been told.  It is for the staff of some campus ministry or for helping orphans and those on the margins of society. I know of many that would rather work at Starbucks or UPS than ask people for their support to go overseas. 

3.  It is a career killer, or maybe better an inhibitor.  You can't participate at ETS/SBL. Your library (if you have one) is more limited.  The education level of the students (in some cases) is at a much lower level then what you find in the US (though that seems to be changing for the worse here).  Their colleagues might not be as educated and able to provide them helpful feedback or sharpening of ones own skills.

4.  It may involve learning ANOTHER language.  Most PhD students have learned Greek, Hebrew, German and French and now we are asking them to potentially teach it all in another language.  This is a real challenge.  Who wants to spend 2-3 years trying to master Japanese in order to teach Greek when your mother tongue in English after having spent years toiling with participles?

5.  You don't have very many friends who can support you.  One reality that faces graduates is that in the last six years you have probably lived in three different locations, and in each locations you probably did not make a lot of friends.  You have spent a lot of time in libraries or have probably only gotten to know your fellow classmates.

6.  You can still teach modular classes overseas without leaving your job in the US. 

7.  Debt.  Plain and simple, going to school costs a lot of money.  Very few escape with a PhD and less than $45K of school loans from the various institutions they have attended (at least in my experience).

How The Church Can Help

1.  Pray God calls them (or me or you).  There is such a great need for well-trained, godly, pastoral cross-cultural teachers.  

2.  Challenge the belief that fundraising is not for them.  Have them read Steve Shadrach's Viewpoints.  It could be that one of the reasons people have a hard time asking for support is because they do not think the people around them are generous.  That is fair.  That means we should be even more open in our generosity and encourage them to go by pledging our support.  

3. Seminaries in the west must talk to students about the global Church and do so often.  It is not enough to talk about it in the Missions 101 class.  It should permeate all of our classes.  Maybe seminaries should offer some full rides to students interested in teaching in developing countries.

4.  Churches should talk about being missional not just in their community, but around the world.  They should also disciple these students and get them into small groups with people in the church who are not theology students, but serving the Lord in different career paths.   

5.  Create a way to get rid of the debt.  I have prayed that some donor would come to TLI or set up on their own a fund that would pay off the debt of PhD's if they committed to 5 years of service overseas. Medical doctors have a program like this.  I believe this incentive would unleash many into service. I am thankful for places like Eternity Bible College and Bethlehem College and Seminary that are focused on keeping the costs low.

I am sure there are many reasons people do not go and many more ways we can help them.  This is just a starting point.

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What Do Cross-Cultural Missionaries Cross Cultures For?

Jan. 2, 2014By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

A sermon by Michael Oh at the recent CROSS Conference.

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Advice from a Missionary in Stuffing Operation Christmas Child Boxes

Nov. 14, 2013By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

From a missionary serving in Africa:
  • Please do not fill a box with toys. While your child in America would love the latest Barbie, or matchbox car, children overseas do not need, want or know what to do with these toys. Most of your toys will end up in the garbage heap or as household decorations.
  • Focus on filling your shoe box with school supplies and hygiene items. I realize school supplies and hygiene items aren't very glamorous, however, they are actually needed and wanted. Combs, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, etc will go a long ways in helping to provide for a family. Children at least in Northern Ghana love blue and red Bic pens. 
  • Involve your children. Take your children along with you as you fill a box. Teach them about the importance of giving. Operation Christmas Child is a great way to teach your child about the Nations. Help them to realize that the world is bigger than their school, neighborhood, city, state and nation.
  • Fill your shoe box with a new shirt, hat (no Duke hats), and a pair of sunglasses. Remember most places overseas are closer to the equator and most children do not have adequate protection from the sun. Most children own their school uniform and one other shirt, an extra shirt even just a plain colored one will make a child’s day.
  • Write a note and provide a picture of your family in your shoe box. Most children who receive a shoe box have had very little interaction with white people. A note/picture will go a long way in making a child’s Christmas. Include in your note a prayer of blessing for the child and his/her family.
  • Follow the instructions when filling your shoe box. Instructions can be found on Samaritans purses's web site (How to fill your box). Do not think you know better than Samaritans Purse. They have been filling shoe boxes for a long time and have it down to a science; a lot of headache can be avoided if you follow their instructions.
  • Pray over your shoe box. Pray when filling your shoe box. Pray before going shopping for your shoe box. Pray while shopping for your shoe box. Pray when mailing your shoe box. Pray over your box.
  • Operation Christmas Child is a great way to open your eyes to the Nations and others who are less fortunate. Do not stop with only filling a shoe box. Consider purchasing a goat, mosquito nets, etc to help serve a family or a community this year. Here is a link to a site which will help you better impact others this Christmas (Baptist Global Response)
Read the whole thing here.

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