Our church has its’ AGM next week, so I thought I’d jot down some interesting trends and reflections from its’ current mission funding strategy.
Right up front, when I mean “Mission Funding”, I am speaking of any funding that goes from the people of our church into some kind of mission enterprise, like a link missionary, or a mission activity (eg funding our church intentional urban mission), or mission organisation (eg CMS, BCA or Interserve, etc), or a complementary intervention (eg digging a well or funding a child survival program), or child sponsorship (eg Compassion Australia).
So here are some trends (and reflections) over the last year that areworth noting:
- Over the past year, we estimate that around $300 000 per year goes into mission funding. To do the rough calculations, our work with Compassion in Nairobi is about $180 000; link missionaries, mission organisations and mission activity directly from our church sees around $71 000 (we’ve got about $43 000 in reserves for emergencies, new projects and new missionaries in 2013); and complementary interventions like digging wells, Kibera card project and Love em Like Jesus would attract about $40 000 – $50 000. This is tremendously encouraging and reflects the growing heart of St Paul’s Castle Hill.
- Over the last year, I have noticed that St Paul’s gives to nearly 30 different mission groups. The relatively large number of groups receiving funding indicates that different mission activities interest different people in our church. However, I wonder if it is realistic that a church would be able to sufficiently sustain and even grow so many separate and often unrelated missions. As our mission heart and funding grows, it will be wise to make strategic decisions. However, we must also be willing to see some less attractive missions from an eternal perspective (ie bang for your buck mission funding is not the only indicator of an activity’s viability).
- Over the last year, I have noticed that the mission groups which are growing in interest from our members are the mission groups which work hard in engaging our church in both God’s word and the work they are doing. I have noticed that the days where our church writes blank cheques to organisations like CMS are now over. I have noticed that individual members want to be engaged in some meaningful way with the mission activity we are asking them to fund. For this reason organisations like Compassion Australia are tending to be much more appealing in today’s church.
- Over the last year, I have noticed a growth in our church’s desire to be meaningfully engaged in local/urban mission. I believe this reflects and also drives much of the growing in interest in local social justice. For our church to be authentic and truly honoring to Christ’s Great Commission, then we ought to be making a difference at home – not only in the nation, but especially in our local neighbourhood. This truly is exciting and will be the measure of whether our church is serious about mission or not.
- Over the past year, I have noticed that mission is no longer seen as an optional extra to the church. Mission is now integral to the heart of our church as we seek to bring glory to Christ in every single thing we do.
I chair the Mission Task Force of St Paul’s Castle Hill and would value your thoughts or reflections on mission funding (tweet or PM, whatever suits!) It is currently, in my opinion, a vital work and as far as I can see, is the one area where many different churches are truly working together for God’s kingdom and his glory.
Loves Jesus and loves telling people about Him.