So, a Christian recognizes his calling and decides to become a missionary, to commit his life serving the Lord by bringing the Word of God to the peoples. What is waiting for this person? Many would say: “An interesting and rich life”, and they are right, yet just partially. Not so many people know what kind of hardship a prospective missionary faces. While candidates for mission are fighting the barriers on the way to the “field”, the God’s harvest is lacking the laborers. Of course, it is good to make every effort to acquire new professional knowledge and skills. However, there is yet another side in preparation for missions, which is fund raising. It is inevitable, but it would be much easier to overcome it there was more understanding and practical aid from the rest of the Christian world.
From the 3rd to the 6th of June in the office of Wycliffe, in Saint Petersburg, there was a workshop “Raising funds for Ministry”. Its goal was to teach the missionaries to effectively conquer the obstacle to swell the ranks of the workers for the mission field, and to remain in service as long as possible.
While doing fund raising for ministry a person goes through good testing of his/her calling for missions.
On the other hand this may raise a barrier for potential workers. Just imagine what thoughts come to the beginner missionary who needs to do this task, what feelings he/she is filled with! There is a fear of rejection or condemnation, as well as discomfort, shame, and self-image as a beggar. Would you agree that it is a hard issue? On the other hand there is another dimension to it: when a missionary asks for financial support, he/she invites the people to share in the God’s work, offers to become a part in the ministry, which brings blessings to the world as well as to those who participate in it. A missionary asks not for own benefit (personally or for his/her family), but for God’s work – so that His will would be done and His goals would be achieved.
Mission work is not a solitary enterprise, it requires a team of friends-kindred spirits, who share goals and vision of the missionary, providing safe backup with prayers and resources, so that he/she would stay “an effective warrior on the “front line”.
The Scriptures suggests exactly this kind of the attitude. When Moses (Ex. 25:1-9; 35:4-29) got a commandment from God to build tabernacle, he called upon the people “to bring to the LORD an offering” (NIV), so that the Israel would have a place to worship God. He just passed on the will of God to the Israelites and called them to act practically. So the people responded to the call: “…and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved him came and brought an offering to the LORD…” (Ex.35.21). There was no one who would stand apart and would not do at least something little. Everybody had and was attracted by the same common goal – to participate in the work of God.
We can see another example of raising funds for the ministry in 1 Chron. 28:1-21 and 29:1-9. David wanted from the heart to build the Temple and he got a new vision: to prepare everything needed and to pass it on to his son Solomon. It is said “I’ve done my best to get everything together for building this house for my God”, and David collected both the building materials and other resources and showed a good example to the people. Then he appeals to the people: “And now, how about you? Who among you is ready and willing to join in the giving?” (1 Chron.29:5, MSG) Generosity of those who started to give as a response has produced a great joy in all of the people: “all that giving! And all given willingly, freely!”
When missionaries ask for financial support of their ministry they follow the Biblical example. This is God’s design that all of His people could participate in His work – some by their resources and prayers, and others – serving on the field.
Missionaries from Wycliffe are driven by one goal, one vision: to draw near the time, when every (even very little) nation on the Earth would have God’s Word in their own language, so that from every nation there would be disciples of Christ, who have complete Bible and everything needed for salvation, spiritual growth and ministry to Christ.
We thank you, dear friends and partners, for your practical support of the Good news in the world. Due to it the Wycliffe missionaries can work in the harvest of the Lord. We ask you to continue to serve God with the same virtue.
“God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done”. (2 Cor.9:8, MSG)
Also you, dear reader, whether you know well the ministry of Wycliffe or just are getting interested what it is all about, do not stand apart from the main work of God in the World and become a participant of the great ministry. You can support financially either a certain missionary or the mission as a whole. Even small yet regular gifts is able to bear a vast fruit in expanding the Kingdom of God. “You are familiar with the generosity of our Master, Jesus Christ. Rich as he was, he gave it all away for us—in one stroke he became poor and we became rich.” (2 Cor.8:9, MSG)
About the Author: Ruslan Goryaninov and his wife are missionaries to Ghana for Wycliffe Russia. His article “Who will support those, who will go?” first appeared in Wycliffe Russia’s magazine. He shared these thoughts in response to DAI’s “Fund-Raising for Ministry” workshop led by DAI staff from Russia and the UK. DAI is happy to partner with Wycliffe missionaries in this way.