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Missions 101

Posts Tagged: Money

Thursday Statistics

Oct. 30, 2014By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

Some interesting statistics from chapter 1 of Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How to Reverse It)

  • Africa has recieved $1 trillion in benevolent aid in the last 50 year and per-capita income is now lower, life expectancy has stagnated and adult literacy is lower.
  • 85% of aid money flowing to African countries never reaches the targeted areas of need.
  • U.S. missions teams who rushed to Honduras to help rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Mitch spent on average $30K per home - homes locals could have built for $3K each.
  • The money spent by one campus ministry to cover the costs of their Central American mission trip to repaint an orphanage would have been enough to hire two local painters and two new full-time teachers and purchase new uniforms for every student in the school.

 

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Pro-Life Christian: Dump Some Ice Water on Your Head but Be Careful Where Your Money Goes

Aug. 22, 2014By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

The ALS ice-bucket challenge has taken the internet by storm. Most now agree it was started by Chris Kennedy, a professional golfer who took the challenge from a friend but then recorded a video, calling on three others to do it or donate. What started as an either/or proposition has turned into a both/and. People are dunking themselves – former Presidents, movie stars, sports teams and just about everyone I know on Facebook. Still waiting for some well-known preachers to join in….

Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), more widely known as Lou Gehrig’s disease affects everything from speaking to movement. My good friend’s mom died in 2008 of ALS. I watched her from beginning to end. She was a woman of great faith and her family and friends loved her to the end. It was terrible. Your body just slowly becomes unusable. It’s a slow death.  There are not too many words to share except to sit there with them and be with them through it. Right now 30,000 Americans suffer from it and countless more are impacted. It worthy of our attention. 

The ice bucket challenge has reportedly raised $40M. The ALS foundation received $19.4M last year, but in one month they have doubled last year’s total! It’s not just about the money either – there is new awareness, which could lead to more grants, more public sympathy and more government aid.

I will never donate to the ALS Association. Don’t get me wrong. I think ALS is terrible. The ice-bucket challenge has been a clever way of raising awareness. However, the ALS association, amongst the many other things it does, supports embryonic stem cell research. To support them would be like asking me to support Planned Parenthood, who provides many good services, but also helps women kill their unborn child.

Just by example, the ALS association gave a $500,000 grant that involved “stem cells…from the spinal cord of a single fetus electively aborted after 8 weeks gestation.” This was a child that had fingers, toes and a heart beat. You can read more about their view of stem cells here.

My point is not to win anyone over to the pro-life side, but instead that for those of you taking up the challenge and donating, you might want to consider a place like Team Gleason to send your money. Then, you will not only be participating in a great cause, but giving to a non-profit that doesn't operate against your convictions. 

 

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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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Helpful Small Group Studies on Poverty Relief

Mar. 6, 2014By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

The Chalmers Center, which is headed up by Brian Fikkert, who is one of the guys who wrote When Helping Hurts, has some helpful resources for small group studies on their website here. They cover:

Unit 1: Reconsidering the Meaning of Poverty

Unit 2: Seeing God at Work

Unit 3: Understanding Why Good Intentions are not Enough

Unit 4: Joining God's Work

Unit 5: Fostering Change

Listen below to Brian Fikkert talk about the implacations of how we define poverty.

How We Define Poverty from The Chalmers Center on Vimeo.

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Rules for Helping the Poor in Early America

Jan. 30, 2014By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

Charles Chauncy in 1752 speaking to the Society of Encouraging Industry and Employing the Poor:

We are restrained as to the Distrinbution of Charity; not being allowed to dispense it promiscuously, but obliged to tae due Care to find out suitable Obkects; distinguishing properly between those needy People who are albe and those whoare unable to employ themselves in Labour...The Command in my Text is plainly a Statute of Heaven, tying up your hands from charitable distributions to the slothful ppor. And, so far as appears to me, it would be an evident Breach of Law of the Gospel, as well as of Nature, to bestow upon those the Bread of Charity, who might earn and eat their own Bread, if they did not shamefully idle away their time.

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