Why Give to Missions?
By Robert Conley
I know it’s difficult to tell now, but I used to have the fullest head of reddish-orange hair you could imagine. And, boy, was I the classic redhead—stubborn, quick-tempered, and non-stop energy. I remember several “encounters” with my parents when they would use the proper “motivation” to curb my activities and behavior (if you know what I mean). Sometimes, the motivation was a simple “because I said so.” Other times, that motivation was of the “or else” variety. As I grew older and more mature, my motivation grew out of spiritual maturity, calling me to a higher place, or a deeper walk with Christ. Our Christian walk is often similar. Specifically, our support for missions mirrors my childhood “encounters.” Why should we pray for and financially support missions?
“Because I said so”
Tithing and giving is commanded in the Old Testament and affirmed in the New Testament. The tithe or tenth was a requirement of Mosaic Law, but Christ offers us freedom from the law to do more than is required. So, if you are wondering if you should give to support your local church and missions, the simple answer is, “Yes, because God said so.” Here at IM, our theme continues to be “Except They Be Sent” (Romans 10:15). We must send those who carry the voice of truth.
This takes a more negative tone. But let’s be real: when God’s people don’t support God’s work, negative consequences occur. Budgets are reduced, salaries are cut, personnel are reduced, and ministry is scaled back. In his report to the National Association this past summer, IM General Director Clint Morgan cited a detailed analysis of our financial status. Between 2010 and 2015, it is estimated that IM “lost” about $7.6 million dollars in donations not given, based on trends prior to 2010. That is $7.6 million dollars of ministry that did not happen through IM. We hope the ministry we were unable to do happened somewhere, but we shudder to think what those resources might have done. What souls weren’t reached? Whose lives weren’t changed? What marriages were lost? Which believers weren’t discipled? What churches remain unplanted because we, as believers, didn’t consider the “or else?”
Another thing to consider in the “or else” category is the closing window of opportunity for this enterprise of missions. Are forces at play in the world that could hinder, limit, or completely forbid missionary activity, or at least hinder it from a United States-based entity? We must go forward now, while the opportunity is still available.
“Spiritual Maturity/Higher Place”
I think we, as believers, are all somewhere along the path of spiritual growth. As part of that learning process, sometimes (even as a mature believer) I need to give and do things simply because God said so. Other times, I need to consider the “or else.” But, at some point, we should begin to resonate with God’s heart for the world. God’s love for the world was absolute. He devised a plan to die in our place. He determined to sacrifice His only Son for us. He values us so deeply and longs for that relationship with us.
Oh, that we as His people would have the same depth of commitment and yearning to see souls saved, lives changed, believers discipled, and churches planted so they can see souls saved, lives changed, believers discipled, and churches planted so they can see souls saved.
So, why should we give sacrificially to missions? Because God said so…or else…until we find ourselves in rhythm with the very heartbeat of God to see a lost world find true meaning and purpose as believers, followers, and sold-out disciples of Christ.
About the Writer: Rob Conley is director of financial operations at Free Will Baptist International Missions.
To learn more about how you can get involved, visit www.FWBGO.com.