Trust God OR Salesmen Method 193

There is a great divide amongst missionaries and the topic of support raising. Some missionaries claim the “George Muller” method and say that they will never talk about money or ask for money. They are simply going to pray and trust God. Or they fall onto the other side and are nothing more them a secular salesmen with a Biblical ministry. Every hand that they shake is a potential donor if handled correctly. Both of these extremes have good and bad points which I would like to highlight here.

The Salesmen Method

There is a book that we recommend called “Funding Your Ministry” which is an extremely helpful book full of good points. However, it borderlines the extreme Salesmen Method and takes secular sales strategies (which are not inherently wrong) and applies them to ministry fundraising. I have met individual missionaries and engaged in organizations that deploy this style of fund raising and ironically they are all usually extremely successful. However, there is a danger here. One organization, that if I named you would be know, even went so far to encourage their missionaries to only attend a church for no more then 3 years because by that time you have exhausted the potential donor base there and you need to move on to “fresh ground.” Not only is this way outside of New Testament example it is all together unbiblical. God has called the local church to be engaged in mission and has placed pastors as shepherd over His flocks. These are the men that you (the missionary) are called to be in submission to. These men and their flocks are not your potential donor base. If you start viewing your fellow church memberĀ as dollar signs and not partner in the Great Commission you should step down from being a missionary.

But can we glean good practices from this method? Absolutely! Some of these strategies and methods of communication and networking are needed in a missionaries repertoire. Honestly, most missionaries are not the best communicators or networkers and need to grow and polish this skill. That is why we recommend reading these types of books so that you can really think through these things and grow (appropriately).


Trust God Method

It is hard to say that this method is wrong simply because the title is Biblically accurate. However, missionaries often take this to the extreme and believe that they have no part, role or responsibility in support raising. That they can sit on the couch and trust that God will bring in the finances. They also quote George Muller and say (falsely), “how he never asked for money and God would always provide.” Why it is false is because George Muller was a phenomenal communicated. Even through he never asked for a specific amount he was faithful to communicate what was going on in the ministry and from that God prompted people to give. Or they will share the examples of the single mom sitter her kids down for dinner and giving thanks knowing that there was no food in the kitchen only to hear the doorbell ring and finding a pile of groceries on the front porch. Now these are all amazing testimonies of how God can and will provide. However, I think they are the exception and not necessarily the rule. God has giving us the ability to communicate and stir people up for the Great Commission and how God has placed an individual call on our lives.

The bottom line is that we should always walk by faith AND at the same time put that faith to action. We need to strike a balance that springs through our faith and trust in God to our communicating effectively and Biblically with people about our call to the mission field. Remember we are not calling people to support “our ministry” because it does not belong to us. We are calling peopleĀ to be engaged in what God is doing around the world and to giving them an opportunity to obey what God is calling them. Like John Piper says, “Go, send or disobey.”

God Bless,

Pastor Mike Thiemann