Missionary Support Raising, part 2: Why?

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Why raise support? Why don't you get a job?

We have heard these questions so many times over the years. It is often from well-intended friends and acquaintances who don't understand why missionaries raise support.

In the last post, we outlined that support is the dominant means of financial income for missionaries.

But WHY raise support? Why not get a job in the location of service?

There are some locations in the world that are closed to Christians and do not allow for any missionary or church activity. Getting a job and living among the people is a great option - and sometimes the only option.

  1. More time to devote to the mission and ministry

The missionary's main job is the mission.

If the missionary has a family, it can be difficult to divide time between family, work, and ministering to the community. Raising financial support allows the missionary to focus his attention on the ministry task he was sent to do and that which God has called him to do without being distracted or burdened to meet financial ends to support himself and his family.

Life and ministry overseas is hard. Working a secular job overseas is hard. Learning a new language and culture is hard.

Learning the language and culture is vital for fruitful life and ministry.

Raising financial support removes one of these hardships.

The Mission is the work of the missionary.

2. Challenges of legally working in another country

Working in a new country and culture has lots of added challenges. Language and culture barriers are real challenges. Acquiring the correct work visa can prove difficult to nearly impossible in some countries. (A visa is a legal document that allows one to enter, live, or conduct business in another country.)

Missionaries can often enter other countries easier when they can prove that they have the financial backing to support themselves and do not need to "work" to receive an income.

Consider France, for example. To get a job in France, the employer must prove to the government that they couldn't find a Frenchperson to do the job. Then the position must be extended to the European Union. The employed must prove that they couldn't find first a French national, then an E.U. citizen, before offering the position to Third-Country Nationals (TCN), such as Americans. Then the employer must submit the proper legal paperwork, and the TCN must apply for the work-visa from the U.S.

What about remote work?

Continuing with our France example: Remotely working for a company in another country is not legally permissible. The company must have a France-based office for the employee to transfer to. Working, whether in-person or remote, while on French soil is considered "working in France." Being a long-term legal resident in France, one cannot be a "digital nomad" and work remotely for a foreign company legally.

3. Support Raising is more than Money

When a missionary is a team of individuals and churches financially supporting them, they also have a team of people who are praying for them, encouraging them, and caring for them.

Leaving friends and family to serve God overseas can be a lonely endeavor. But having a team of partners who love and care for you is a game-changer.

  • Some missionaries have partners that will send care packages to show their love.
  • Some have partners who will love and pray for their children specifically, remember their birthdays, etc.
  • Some have pastors from home or sending churches who will regularly meet with them via video-call to check in on their spiritual health, to ensure that they are still being pastored.
  • Some missionaries have a group of intercessors to call on for prayer when challenges or situations come up.

Many full-time missionaries who live 100% on support have personally told me that if they could be paid without raising support, they wouldn't do it. The partnership with people is too important. The prayer support is too important. The friendship is too important.

Not raising support would mean a huge lack of emotional, spiritual, and prayer support.

Missions supporters are vital to the ministry!

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