How Should We Decide Where to Give?
So you want to be a sender? Great. But how do you decide where to give? Here are a few guidelines for choosing where your money goes.
Invest in eternal work, not just temporal work:
There are hundreds of organizations out there who do disaster relief work, end human trafficking, dig wells, etc.. It is good and biblical to address these kinds of earthly needs, but as Christians we should also go one step further and address people’s eternal need for the gospel. As pastor and theologian John Piper says, “Biblical Christians care about all suffering, especially eternal suffering.” If an organization helps a girl get out of the sex trafficking industry, but then doesn’t also give her a chance to hear and respond to the gospel, she is still destined for hell. So make sure that the person or organization you give to addresses the spiritual needs of the people they’re reaching, as well as the physical ones.
If possible, invest in relationships close to you:
There’s a difference between giving to an organization you find on the internet, and giving to your freshman-year roommate who is headed overseas right after graduation. The connection is (obviously) tighter with your roommate. When your connection is tighter, you are more likely to be a committed sender (i.e. not just sending a check, but also praying for his ministry, shooting an email to encourage him, etc.). So pick a missionary from your home church, someone from your Bible study who’s going on a short-term trip, or an organization you’ve served with and trust—anything or anyone you have a personal connection with.
If possible, invest in work you get excited about:
Do you love sports? Consider giving to an organization who shares the gospel through sport camps. Are you a linguistics or foreign language major? Consider giving to someone who is translating the Bible in a remote tribe. Do you love kids? Consider sponsoring a child. Do you nerd out over doctrine and theology? Consider supporting pastoral training for those who work among unreached people. Just like when you invest in people you know personally, you are a more committed sender when you are excited about the work you are supporting.
Invest in the unreached:
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, invest in people and organizations that are working among people who have never heard the gospel and wouldn’t even have the chance to hear it if they wanted to (i.e. unreached people). Only about 4 out of every 100 missionaries work among 97% of the world’s least reached people. But before you think it’s the missionaries who have a problem, read this: For every $100,000 Christians make, they only give $1 to the unreached.* Now this doesn’t mean that we have to give all of our money to the unreached—it’s good to give to the local church and invest in local ministries. But there’s no denying that there is a major imbalance of where we invest our money, and we should want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
*For more missions statistics, click here.