Have you ever wanted to go on a mission trip? Did you go, or did something stop you from fulfilling that call in your life? Did circumstances prevent you? Or was it the need to raise finances? Often, financial limitations keep both short-term and career missionaries from serving. What if you and your church could prepare to fund those who are called—even before they know they are called?
God calls all believers to help take the gospel to the ends of the earth. Of course, not everyone is called to be a career missionary on a foreign field, but everyone is a missionary in the local community. It takes believers everywhere being the hands and feet of Jesus to share the gospel effectively.
Should a church feel it necessary to make it financially possible for members of their congregation to participate in short-term missions? Research shows individuals interested in career missions often confirm their calling during a short-term missions experience. And whether or not they pursue a career, short-term trips make them more effective in local church ministry and in the communities where they live.
This is not to say a church should fully fund anyone and everyone without vetting them through a process. But what impact would it have on your local congregation if the church could reduce half of the costs for short-term missions? How many more trips could be taken? How many more would discover the calling to career missions? How many young people might be led to full-time missions or ministry after experiencing ETEAM or CMP (College Missions Program)?
Smart investing is an incredible tool to help churches and organizations increase their resources to share the gospel, both at home and around the world. The Institutional Investing Program through the Free Will Baptist Board of Retirement was established to facilitate ministry through assets management—allowing investments to help advance the gospel. Churches can invest funds and let the earnings from those investments help underwrite ETEAM participants, sponsor a group with The Hanna Project, or help a college student serve in a summer mission opportunity.
Leaving the country doesn’t have to be the goal. If your church doesn’t have individuals called to a foreign field, help a North American Ministries church plant. Send a group to a church plant to help them get established. They could be an encouragement to the church planters and show their community another church cared enough to travel and serve alongside them, letting people know about the hope found in Jesus Christ.
We all want to share the gospel with those who need it, but the reality is finances help make it happen. At the Board of Retirement, we want to make this possible on a regular basis. Through institutional investing, reduce or remove the financial barrier for those who feel the call to missions outreach. You will not only do your part to share the gospel, but you will discover it brings growth and depth in your own congregation.
This article was previously posted in the August/September 2022 edition of ONE Magazine.