The Church in Africa is poised to become a powerful missionary sending force. There are churches embracing the missionary vision of Acts! These churches are still the minority but they are healthy churches on the leading edge of an African movement.The goal of our gospel advance must be “the gospel to every village, town and city across Africa.” African missionaries must be prepared and they must be sent from Africa to Africa and other strategic mission points around the world.
One of several challenges faced by the church in Africa is the funding of the indigenous missionary movement. Let us not assume that we cannot fund gospel advance. The problem is not so much a lack of resources as it is a lack of gospel vision and faith.
Kafah Nkanjoh Mekwi is a Cameroonian evangelist and Campus Crusades Ministry Partner Development Director for Francophone Africa. In a helpful chapter in “The God Ask” Mekwi offers advice for raising missionary support in Africa:
- Everybody can give, and most people are willing to give something, but for consistent and long-term giving, focus on Christians with significant positions and salaries who can do a bank draft that automatically goes through each month.
- Probably 80% of your partners will be ordinary Christians who have a normal job. Their support may fluctuate, but you will have to educate them, and put in place a good mechanism to collect their support. Asking them to give 1 to 5% of their salary is wisest, giving them a more realistic chance of following through each month with their commitment.
- In some countries where the economy and monetary transactions are shaky, missionaries have established a material-based support system, where they challenge agricultural workers to support them with their food crops. If the missionary receives more food stuff than they need, they can take it to market and exchange it for money. Each Christian worker needs to determine what type of support system is appropriate for their locality: a money-based or material-based support system…or a combination.
- Africans are generally oral in their culture, and will be excited to hear about your vision and the ministry stories of what God has been doing, rather than try to read materials about it. Establish credibility with them by being clear who you are, your family and background, and where you currently live and minister so they wont think you’re trying to scam them!
- You have to be crystal clear with each supporter what amount and frequency they are committing to, how long they will be giving, and exactly how they will get their gift to you each month.
- Because they are so busy, and asked for money a lot, and have tight budgets at home, etc…regularly collecting the support they committed to is a challenge. If you can get them to set up a regular mobile money transfer, electronic money transfer, or bank draft is ideal. Some Christian workers have even contracted with a courier service to go each month and personally collect the gifts.
- Since such mechanisms are not as available, its even more important for the missionary to continually communicate with their supporters. Consistently reminding them of what and why they are investing keeps the supporter motivated and faithful. If there are not strong relationships with your donors, and if youre not reporting regularly through newsletters and calls, most will soon drop off your team.
- You must constantly be focused on expanding your network of potential supporters knowing that economic conditions are rough, and supporters will drop off due to lack of ability or follow through.
Join the discussion! We would like to hear your suggestions and comments on this article! May God empower us by His Holy Spirit to own and fulfill His Commission to the ends of the earth!