In this passage of Scripture, we read a parable about stewardship. I have the incredible privilege of being the Missions Director of our church. Here are some thoughts that I use in regards to God’s money. I pray they will be a blessing to every Christian, including those who oversee the missions budget. The principles taught in this passage help me when considering the funds entrusted to my care.
We, like those in this parable, are simply servants, and we are entrusted with the Master’s goods. The Master gave to each of His servants according to the servant’s ability to get a return. Notice that the first two servants did not complain about what they were given. They got busy right away, getting a profit on the Master’s investment. However, the last servant was lazy. He also had the potential to get a return but did not take advantage of it. When the Master came back, he expected a return on his investment, and the two servants who invested wisely pleased their Master and were rewarded.
My role as Missions Director is similar to that of these servants. When given this responsibility, I looked at it as an opportunity to invest for eternity. I thought, “This is great! I get to help set a direction in our church that would enable us to win more souls.”
“Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.” Philippians 4:17
Having some control over the Missions Budget is an awesome responsibility. I must invest our members’ money so that they can have fruit that may abound to their account. Here are a few things I do when considering where the Missions funds go:
1. Read every prayer letter to see if our investments are working out well.
The prayer requests that are mentioned at times are enormous opportunities for our church to have a part in a huge harvest.
For example, I read a letter from a missionary who needed money for equipment for a radio station that reaches millions of people with the Gospel. I placed a note on the letter asking Pastor Trieber if he wanted to help. We did send a gift, and because of that, we can rightfully say that we have a part in every soul that gets saved from that radio ministry. We are continually looking for investment opportunities in the prayer letters we receive. We want the Mission’s money of our church to be spent wisely. There is no virtue in saying we gave $500,000 to Missions last year. I’m glad if that is the case, but what was the money spent for?
2. Take time before recommending a missionary for support.
When we get missionary information packets, I read them carefully and make sure they are in line with what we believe. I watch their video presentation to get an idea of who they are and pray for wisdom to know whom to consider. There are many great missionaries out there, but we cannot support them all. This is not being arrogant, but we must see if they measure up to our philosophy. I have been entrusted with a responsibility to invest money wisely. Our church members had to go to work so they could give to Missions. We owe it to them to do the job carefully. I literally want millions of people in Heaven as a result of our investments. I believe that glorifies God.
3. Approach this responsibility as an investment broker, except for eternal results.
We currently support around 200 missionaries here and abroad, and those ministries are costing us money to support. Like mentioned before, we don’t want to waste our people’s money. I want their money to work to its full potential.
4. There are two goals.
One is to have a missionary in every country, and the other is to see the most souls saved for the funds given. So, everything I do as the Missions Director ties into these two goals.
5. Believe it is a life or death matter.
This is why we must have wisdom to make the right choices for our church since we cannot support every missionary that comes along. However, I have to be careful not to base my decisions on appearance alone, though appearance does tell a lot about a person. However, you can’t rely on that all the time. We must be led by the Holy Spirit. For example, we love Bro. Rick Martin, and we have supported his work now for many years. If you have seen him, you know that he is a very unassuming man. It is hard to picture him as a missionary whose ministries reach about 10,000 people every Saturday and Sunday.
6. The responsibility of the Missions Director is both exciting and sobering.
I love the opportunity to be a part of reaching millions for Christ. One of the best opportunities we have right now is investing in national pastors and helping them start churches. They are less expensive to support. They already know the language, so they do not need language school. They know the culture, and they can adapt to the living conditions better than foreign missionaries because they already live that way. We still need foreign missionaries, but let’s not neglect this opportunity as well.
If you are in charge of the missions fund at your church, you are an investment broker. Invest well. It’s not your money. You want the most dividends for your people. Every Christian should also take the money God has entrusted to them and use it wisely in order to have the most significant impact on eternity.
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Tom Apusen is an Assistant Pastor at North Valley Baptist Church. He is the pastor of the Filipino Department, and he heads up the missions, security, and transportation ministries.