Jesus gave the church a very clear command—evangelize the world. But each church cannot do this alone. The only way we can reach the world before the “night cometh when no man can work” is to support the work of pioneering missionaries.
There are different ways churches have supported missionaries. Some give because of an emotional appeal. Others give as part of their budgets. But one of the most effective, biblical means to support missions is through a method called faith missions giving.
I first learned about faith missions giving while preaching in a missionary conference at the Marquette Manor Baptist Church in Chicago. I had been a missionary to Japan for five years and even pastored before going to Japan, but I had never heard of faith missions giving. When I heard the pastor teach on the subject from 2 Corinthians 8 and 9, I was convinced that this was God’s plan for financing missions. When I returned to my sending church after the conference, I could not wait to tell my pastor what I had learned. We agreed to present this to our church at the next missions conference. I well remember taking a faith missions card at that conference in 1968 and committing to give $5 per week to missions. We have made forty faith missions commitments since then, and we have increased our giving every year. For many years now, the largest item in our budget has been faith missions giving.
God blesses faith. I have preached in over 1,300 missions conferences and taught on faith missions giving in most of those churches. Following are some of the reasons I have told them why they should consider giving by faith missions:
A Biblical Plan
Second Corinthians 8 and 9, two entire chapters in the Bible, are given to one subject—an offering. The offering was not for the church at Corinth. Instead, it was to be given for causes outside the church. When we think of our church financially supporting causes outside our own church, we naturally think of missions. It is an offering that is given through the church but not for the church.
God has a perfect plan for supporting missions with the offerings of the members. Paul points out that everyone should give: “Every man as he purposeth in his heart so let him give” (2 Corinthians 9:7). He makes it clear that this is an offering by grace (2 Corinthians 8:7). It is not something we have to do but something we get to do. He tells the believers that it is good for the giver: “This is expedient for you” (2 Corinthians 8:10). God’s provisions are promised to those who give. “He which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6). “God is able to make all grace abound toward you” (2 Corinthians 9:7). These are only a few of the great truths taught about faith missions giving in these two chapters.
A Simple Plan
With faith missions giving, once a year every member of the church is challenged to give something above his tithe and regular offering to his church for missions. This can be done during a missions Sunday, or, even better, a missions conference. When these commitments are collected and counted, the missions budget for the new year is established.
There is a place on most offering envelopes for missions giving as well as the tithe and other special offerings. Church members can write one check, and the funds are divided among the various projects. A separate account is set up for the missions giving, and from that account the missionaries and other missions projects are supported. For both legal and ethical reasons, it is very important that faith missions is used only for missions projects and missionaries.
An Effective Plan
Churches are able to give much more by this method than by just taking the missions money from their regular budget. Contrary to the thinking of many, the regular budget does not suffer because of the emphasis on missions giving. In nearly every church I have known, when people get involved in giving by faith to missions, their giving to the general fund of the church increases. Faith missions giving is good for the church; it is good for the giver; and it is good for the cause of worldwide evangelism.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of faith missions giving is that it teaches us to trust the Lord. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.” It works in any geographical location, and it works in any economical situation. God’s Word says, “Give and it shall be given unto you” (Luke 6:38).
Years ago I was teaching the leaders in a church about this method of giving to missions. The pastor was preparing the leaders before he presented it to the church. As I was enthusiastically teaching about the value of faith missions giving, a deacon raised his hand and asked, “Brother Sisk, do you mean to tell us that we have been giving to missions the wrong way all of these years?”
I thought for a minute and responded, “No, there is no wrong way to give to missions. Emotional giving is not bad. In fact, if you get emotional and give me $10,000 today, both of us will get emotional!” Budget giving is not bad. It is more consistent than emotional giving. I believe, however, that the best way to financially support missions is the faith missions method. Please study these two chapters in the Bible, and let God speak to your heart about giving to missions by faith.