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A letter to the African Church

By Apostle Sampson Dorkunor

If missions is God’s heartbeat, then his Church’s budget must reflect same in the allocation of funds. However, this is not the usual case, especially in Africa.

Doing missions cross-culturally has major cost components such as living expenses, administrative expenses, structural development expenses, and incidentals. An important but often neglected component for the African context is pensions for missionaries.

Let us consider the cost of living for a typical four-member missionary family serving in Africa. Some mission organizations from the Asian context require a monthly income of $2,300 to $2,500. With this amount, the missionary will live with some savings if assigned to a rural community. However, in a city environment, they may live at a survival level. How does this compare with an indigenous African missionary serving cross-culturally?

Inquiries reveal that a Ghanaian missionary leader, for example, receives between $300 and $500, whilst some field missionaries receive between $100 and $200 per month. Others receive as close to nothing as $50 per month. Additionally, the typical African has responsibility covering aged parents and other needy members. The Scriptures ask a rhetorical question: who goes to war at his own expense (1 Cor 9:7-10)?

While some think that mission funding for Africa must come from external sources, there are adequate and biblical reasons to believe that God makes provision for his work in Africa.

Though God sees the local church as the seed-bed and support of missions, there seems to be a wedge between para-church organizations and local churches. Often, the unasked question is: “Why should I, the local church leader, support you, the para-church leader’s work?” We seem to forget that the Kingdom of God is the ultimate in missionary endeavour (Matt 24:14).

Undoubtedly, denominations and local churches have plans to evangelize the world, but in reality, the parachurch agencies are more active in the frontlines of missionary work.

A call to the African Church
We have a stewardship responsibility to support the funding of God’s mission in Africa and beyond. The Church in Africa is rich in manpower, missionary knowhow, and finances. The issue is how to partner and raise the money.

• The African Church must mobilize right from the children’s department through missions awareness creation. Let us send children to missions camps to learn the practices of praying, giving, sending, and going. Our mission has practiced this for over 20 years and we see results of young people becoming interested in supporting missionary work.

• Intensify the mobilization of university students and graduates for mission outreaches. A strong component is intentional discipleship– preparing the younger generation to launch into the deep at anytime.

• African Christian youth in the diaspora are responsible for huge remittances back to Africa. This resource needs to be explored in the support of missionary endeavour.

• African Christian businesses that are doing well must be empowered to use their businesses as channels for raising and releasing disciples and disciple-makers. They double as gospel financiers and will refer their friends and partners if they find fulfilment in sponsoring missions.

• Adhering to standards of accountability for funds received and applied is key. Transparency and faithfulness are crucial in God-given partnerships.

For the African Church to reach these goals, consistent pulpit preaching on both the Great Commission and the stewardship of members towards unreached people groups (UPGs) is key. This helps in raising prayer, empowering Christians to go, to give, and also to send missionaries. We must not give up on talking about these open doors for partnering with God.

Apostle Sampson Dorkunor is the General Overseer of Living Bread Missions and  Director of Reaching the Unreached

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