Sending is not just about giving money to a missionary. It includes other aspects, such as logistics, prayer coordination, communications, research, finances, or re-entry coordinator.
Take a minute and evaluate your strength as a sender. A sender is someone who is financially and emotionally holding the ropes of a missionary. The missionary has to have funding, so they raise financial support either from churches, individuals or both. However, a sender can also be one who is emotionally supporting a missionary. They can do this through visiting the missionary on the field, sending care packages, praying or even emailing.
To give you a glimpse of how the church is doing in the role of sending, check out these numbers on the income and spending of the Church worldwide.
Global Income of Christians in US Dollars: $42 Trillion
Given to Christian Causes (2% of total income): $700 Billion
Given to Foreign Missions (only 6% of the 2% giving to Christian causes): $45 Billion
Of all the Money Given to Foreign Missions:
87% goes for work among those already Christian.
12% goes for work among already evangelized non-Christians.
1% goes for work among people groups in the Unevangelized or Unreached category ($450 Million)*
*In 2001 only 1% of giving to "Missions" went to unreached - if that trend holds true today it would be $450 million. The estimated $450 million going toward UPG's is only .001% of the $42 trillion Income of Christians. For every $100,000 that Christians make, they give $1 to the unreached
(Taken from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. http://www.gcts.edu)
That means that for every dollar earned by a Christian 1/100,000th goes to the unreached. Do you think that the Lord’s resources are being used strategically? If 88% of the World’s unreached peoples live in the 10/40 Window and so little money goes to the work there, what will it take to complete the Great Commission?
Take a look again at Romans 10:13-15. What does it mean in light of the role of sending? Can you see how important the sender is to the task of Global Evangelization?
Check out this verse from the Old Testament: “For the share of the man who goes down to battle shall be the same as the man who stays by the supplies; they both shall share alike” (1 Samuel 30:24). In this verse, David declared that men who stayed behind to protect the belongings of those who go to war should receive the same reward as those who fought the battle. The actions of a sender are just as important as those of a goer. By understanding the Biblical importance of sending, we can fully engage in it knowing that the Lord will be pleased.
Listed below are some suggestions of simple ways you can begin to develop a strategic habit of giving:
Each month, give up a few (or more!) of your trips to Starbucks, and send that money to a missionary. Even just giving up three lattes at a coffee shop each month can allow you to support someone for about $10 a month.
Skip lunch once a week and use this time to pray for a missionary.
You could also set aside the money that you would have spent on lunch and send this to a missionary.
Make it a point to send snail mail to a missionary you support at least once a month. You could just send a letter of encouragement on a note-card or stationary, or you could include some gifts. Ask them what kind of food they can’t buy in the country they are working in, or include a a small gift or book for them (Make sure to check any postal restrictions before sending packages).
“Adopt” a missionary from your own church. Research the missionaries your church supports, and choose one to pray for. Be sure to pray for their financial, emotional and physical needs.
Research mission agencies online or on our website and contact the one that looks most interesting to you. Ask them ways you can support missionaries, and if you do not have a missionary that you are supporting, ask them who you can support.
As friends return from overseas, whether long term or short term, ask them out for coffee or lunch (even consider treating them as a way of blessing them), and ask them to share with you. Be a learner and a listener to them, because not many people take the time to really let them share about their trip.
If you are gifted in administrative or logistical tasks, ask friends who are headed overseas if you can help them research the area they are living in, or help them find the cheapest plane ticket, or even go along with them (if they are going long term) to help support and encourage them as they are first settling in.
Check out more resources on our website about sending.
Sometimes, when looking at supporting a missionary, it may be necessary to look at your own budget. What are some things that you could cut out to help spread the gospel to the ends of the earth? Make sure your goal is above and beyond what you “think” you can do. Take a moment to evaluate your strengths in sending. After looking at these suggestions, pray through two new suggestions that you could begin to put into practice.
Here are just a few stories of students who are choosing to SEND in creative and sacrificial ways:
“When I decided I would financially support people, I loved knowing my money was all over the world. I led a missions class where our group prayed for missionaries among a people group in Western Africa that we had adopted. I committed to pray for others on the mission field and when missionaries arrive back home, I love asking them to tell me stories. I am now in the process of raising my own support for campus ministry, but still support others however I can. It is so exciting to do so!” —Jessica
Katherine and Amanda supported a friend by playing music in their home city. After just two times of going out and singing and playing guitar on a busy tourist street, they had raised over $100 for their friend.
Steven was in college when he began roofing houses during the summer. The small business took off much further than he ever expected and dollars started rolling in! Some may have taken the wealth for themselves, but Steven decided to use his resources to impact God’s kingdom around the world. He used the profits of his business to fund missionaries and to help spread the vision of God’s heart for the world. He made a great impact on the nations from small town mid-America.