January 19, 2013

Send 1 Missionary or 72 More Missionaries?

Let me explain...

The average American missionary family requires about $70,000 USD a year.
The average native missionary in the unreached world requires about $2,000 USD a year.

If instead of supporting the 1 American missionary, you decided to support native missionaries, you could support 35 missionaries.  That allows you to support 34 MORE MISSIONARIES FOR THE SAME COST.  But let's not stop there.

Now that the 1 American missionary has come home from the mission field, he will find a nice job in the US.  The median US household earns around $50,000 a year.  Let's say this missionary is so sold out to the cause of the Great Commission that he is willing to live off $24,000 a year and give the rest to missions.  The $26,000 will support 13 more missionaries.  We are now up to the possibility of supporting 47 MORE MISSIONARIES.  Still not done.

This former American missionary has decided not only to give his money, but also his time.  Let's say, he's decided to become a volunteer representative for a mission organization like Empart.  By representing at Christian events one weekend a month and speaking at a church once or twice a year, he could easily raise enough support for 15 more missionaries.  Now, we see the possibility of sending 62 more missionaries to the mission field.  One more step.

In addition to raising financial support, let's say that each year this former missionary also recruits others to join the effort.  He might recruit another volunteer, or intern or staff for Empart.  Using a low ball estimate, that recruit is good for an additional 10 missionaries per year that can be sent to the mission field.  When you add all this up, we are talking about the possibility of SUPPORTING 73 MISSIONARIES INSTEAD OF JUST 1 MISSIONARY.

By the way, those 73 missionaries already know the language of the people they are reaching.  They already know the culture.  They don't need visas or a front.  They don't have to return home on furlough.  They will live at the same economic level as the people they are reaching.

Obviously, God is not bound mathematics and statistics.  He is sovereign and does what He will.  Certainly, He calls some people to be a foreign missionary.  However, given the facts that up to half of all foreign missionaries don't return to the mission field after their first furlough, only 3% of their time is spent doing evangelism, and 90% of pioneer church planting is not done by foreign missionaries, do you really believe that God has called all our current American missionaries to a foreign mission field?  Is sending one American missionary more important than sending 73 native missionaries?  Is your goal to send out your own friends, because you know them, or is your goal to see the world be saved?  Please don't let tradition be a barrier to releasing the Gospel in all the earth.