How do some missionaries keep donors for their entire career, while others lose them in a year?
It is a question of why do some friendships last while others fade.
Acts 4:32-35 speaks of the friendships of the first Church:
“Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; Neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, But they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
And great grace was upon them all.
Nor was there anyone among them who lacked;
for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them,
And brought the proceeds of the things that were sold,
And laid them at the apostles feet;
And they distributed to each as anyone had need.”
Pastors to congregants,
Congregants to congregants,
Churches to missionaries,
Missionaries to donors,
They had “all things in common” and gave to any who had need.
“All things in Common” is a unique word in the Bible.
It is often translated fellowship, contribution, distribution, partners.
G. Campbell Morgan defines “all things in common” like this – Fellowship means what is mine is at your disposal. And what is yours is at my disposal.
What a godly community! What an ideal partnership! What a heavenly relationship from one person to another!
But bringing heaven to earth always cost something.
So how do we build friendships that last?
To know this is to know how missionaries keep donors for their entire
In speaking of community, Winkie Pratney states there are 4 variables for
People must have a common purpose
There is a reason soldiers who shared bunkers while fighting for freedom have longer friendships then teenagers who shared high schools while fighting for state championships. The greater the purpose, the greater the partnership. There is a difference between telling a donor “I need X more a month to be fully funded” versus telling a donor, “Will you help me save the world?”
If missionaries are to keep their donors, the two must share the greatest purpose possible. Never forget, the purpose is no less then fulfilling the Great Commission of discipleship to evoke the return of Jesus.
People must have a common understanding
Asking for money is not default understood. A missionary who does not believe God built support raising into the fabric of history will be history. A donor who does not believe God built support raising will either not return your call or use dishonoring words to diminish it. Furthermore, if the missionary ever believes the donor is just a dollar sign, or the donor believes the missionary is a second class minister when compared to the pastor – The loss of dignity will always result in a loss of partnership.
If missionaries are to keep their donors, the 2 must share the clearest understanding possible. The image of God on a soul is more valuable then the image of a president on a bill.
People must have constant unselfishness
Remember, “all things in common” also known as fellowship or partnership or contribution means “what is mine is at your disposal and what is yours is at my disposal” We quickly forget the greatest stories in the Bible begin with unselfish exchanges.
Moses exchanged his present palace for a promised land. Jonathan exchanged his right to the throne for a shepherd boy to become a man after God’s own heart. The Son of God exchanged His innocence for our guilt so rebels could become worshippers. If missionaries are to keep their donors, the 2 must be constantly unselfish for as long as possible.
Nothing kills missions like “Me first”
People must have constant forgiveness
Do you know why Jesus broke bread and served wine to His friends while
saying “Do this in remembrance of Me?” Because the all knowing God knew we would forget Him. If we can forget the friendship of our Perfect God, we will forget the friendships of our fellow, imperfect people. The missionary may not send newsletters every month. The donor may miss a donation or two. The missionary may forget to update addresses. The donor may forget to return calls.If missionaries are to keep their donors, the 2 must be constantly forgiving each other when they inevitably forget each other. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.