Mission Agencies Worldwide Are Being Forced to Downsize – What Is God Up to?
Funding for missions is beginning to dry up all across North America and Western Europe, and sending agencies everywhere have taken notice. This downward shift has come about at a time when the church can easily access the current status of the world Christian movement, which allows them to clearly see where the need for the Gospel is the greatest.
All it takes is a quick glance at the numbers to see how trends have changed in recent times, and the report is hardly inspiring. The International Mission Board (IMB) is predicting a $21 million budget shortfall for this year, following on the heels of several financially disappointing years. As well, one of the oldest mission agencies in Europe is losing millions of euros annually, having lost government funding for its aid work division. This has necessitated a heavy overhaul of the entire organization in order to accommodate for the decrease in budget.
Mission agencies are being forced to downsize, merge, and even shut down due to lack of funding; meanwhile, the world’s Christian community as a whole is more wealthy than ever before. Considering these two diverging trends, is it fair for us to ask What is God up to?
And yet, some say, we can envision the completion of the missionary task in this generation.
RE-PURPOSING MISSION AGENCIES
It has been my observation that traditional mission agencies can do tentmaking and do it well, but it requires a serious paradigm shift in their recruiting, training and maintaining of these professionals who love Jesus enough to go where He opens the doors that are closed to supported missionaries.
Global Opportunities and TENT have been helping mission agencies for over a decade to develop their tentmaking programs, and in some cases to start new divisions within their present structures. The vast majority of those who have yet to hear the Gospel live in countries that, at best, do not issue missionary visas, and, at worst, give death sentences to anyone caught proselytizing.
Yet, these same countries desperately need the expertise that professionals and companies can bring them to help them develop and train their local people. We call Christians who take these jobs, and then intentionally desire to make Jesus known, tentmakers. Some call them Kingdom Professionals. There are many definitions, but that is not the main story here.
Is your mission agency facing challenges in raising funds? Are you reducing the numbers of new missionaries being sent? Are you pulling active missionaries from the field due to lack of support?
Your valuable missionaries are already familiar with the difficulties, the local language(s), and the processes of making disciples and planting churches in foreign countries; as well, they have solid relationships with sending churches.
They have prepared well for the challenges of crossing into other cultures and their mission agencies have spent a lot of effort getting them there and keeping them there.
Have you considered re-purposing these missionaries? For most, becoming self supported tentmakers is not a huge stretch, though for others in the minority it may be a challenge. Your agency needs a plan, process and vision. For this we are here to help. Contact us!
RE-POSITIONING THE MISSION?
What is God doing then? Perhaps He is re-positioning the mission of the church to the unreached areas, where the need for the Gospel is the greatest.