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A partnership between God and man

By Tshepang Basupi

Talk to African missionaries and they will tell you that their biggest stress is money. I know several missionaries who left this vocation due to many years of lack. Shouldn’t African missionaries enjoy the blessings of sufficient support like missionaries from other parts of the world do? Is God not supposed to provide for these faithful servants? Why are missionaries lacking money when they are in the centre of God’s calling? The answer is probably because for many years we never saw ourselves as missionaries. Now that African missionaries have emerged, churches across the continent don’t know how to support them. I have been asked by church leaders, “Why should we pay you to work for another organization?” Fair question, but it demonstrates a lack of understanding of what their role should be.

Scripture has many examples of God’s divine provision.

A matter of trust

When I felt God calling me as a missionary, I prepared ahead. I wanted to learn to trust God because being a missionary would require lots of it. One day, I asked God for an equivalent of $20. I said if he provided it miraculously, I would know he was calling me as a missionary. That evening, a brother who knew nothing of my prayer gave me the exact amount. He said God told him to give me that money. That began my journey of trusting and seeing God provide in similar fashion over the last 15 years. In these cases, I shared the need only with God and somehow, he whispered to one of his children to meet it. Scripture has many examples of God’s divine provision. In Exodus 16, God provided manna and quail for the Israelites in the wilderness. In 1 Kings 17, God sent ravens to deliver bread and meat to Elijah. Is this sufficient? Is prayer all that is needed? Should we do more than pray?

Sharing information

I also pray and share my needs through newsletters and conversations with people, and then God prompts them to give as they get informed. I have experienced God’s amazing provision through this means. The Bible records instances where Paul writes letters to different churches and shares his need. To the church in Rome he writes, “I am planning to go to Spain, and when I do, I will stop off in Rome. And after I have enjoyed your fellowship for a little while, you can provide for my journey” (Romans 15:24).

Friends, family, and vocations

Missionaries also solicit support from friends and family for their intended mission, and they in turn send the missionary some funds. This method depends heavily on having a community endowed with resources for this endeavour. The community must also have a clear picture of what missions is about and be convinced it is worth their investment. I have been actively raising support for many years and those who have partnered with us had a thorough understanding of missions and wanted to be part of what God was doing through us.

Many missionaries use their vocations and get paid while they serve. Others who are gifted in business leverage that as a platform for ministry and provision for their families. The  methods are varied, but it is important to do what works in a given context.

Giving is a privilege

The ultimate provider of money to do missions is God. The mission belongs to him, and it is therefore his responsibility to provide for those who go. God wants all believers to partake in this holy and wonderful task of supporting his mission. It is the job of both the rich and poor alike. For those who support, it is a privilege to partner with God in his global mission. As missionaries, we need to actively teach and share about missions in our communities.

Every opportunity to raise money is an avenue to communicate God’s purpose to reconcile men back to himself. When people know and can resonate with what God is doing through you, then they will likely support.

Tshepang Basupi serves as the Southern Region Executive Director with Africa Inland Mission International. He is married to Queen, and they have two children. They are currently based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He can be reached at tshepang.basupi@aimint.org

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