During my years of ministry in Melbourne the Lord has taught me many lessons about missions and serving Him within a foreign culture. Recently God led me to start sharing some of those truths so that other missionaries wouldn’t have to learn them the hard way like I usually did. This is done by writing letters to myself…or letters that I wish someone would have sent to me during my early years in ministry.
Last week the first letter was written to Missions Trip John who was flying back to Los Angeles after spending almost a month in Melbourne and unfortunately believed that missions work would always be filled with those exciting experiences. This weeks letter is for Deputation John who about a month after getting back from that missions trip is frustrated over the lack of financial support for his ministry.
Dear Deputation John,
Wow what a difference a few weeks can make. In early March you got back from that amazing trip to Melbourne ready to take on the world for the Gospel of Christ, today you’re laying awake in bed frustrated about the financial support not coming in.
Last Sunday you had the opportunity to share that burden God placed on your heart for Melbourne with another Church. Once again you saw people moved to come along and help in your ministry, another dozen for your prayer list, more fantastic conversations about the need in Australia. And it ended the way every other meeting did..with the pastor telling you they weren’t able to support anyone financially at this time.
It’s not that the conversations, prayers, and interest in your ministry aren’t important; but you can’t help but be discouraged as Church after Church says they can’t help.
The frustration isn’t just about those Pastors though is it? Instead your animosity is towards the ministry phase of deputation as a whole.
About a month ago you flew back from Melbourne…a place you now refer to as home….hoping to return in one to two years. That strong desire to go back makes meetings and support raising an annoyance, something you have to do so get it finished as soon as possible so the real ministry can begin. Well I have bad news for you mate, this “annoyance” as you call it will last just under three years as you come back to Melbourne on January 10, 2007.
At this point your probably asking God why three years will be wasted before the true missions work can begin. But ministry isn’t all about those exciting missions trip experiences, there’s a lot of boring, long, and yes annoying parts, such as calling pastors and traveling to meetings. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t part of ministry…in fact they are absolutely crucial.
You don’t know this now but in 2010 the U.S. economy will go through a huge crisis that affects the Australian dollar. Suddenly for the first time in fifteen years the Aussie dollar will be higher than the American and you will lose money each month.
There have been countless times since then that I wished I could get involved in the “boring and annoying” phase of support raising again. You see without a solid foundation of financial support ministries cannot survive or excel in the way God wants them too.
So do me a favor. Get out of bed, stop feeling sorry for yourself, and start planning out your calling list for tomorrow morning. Doesn’t matter if your annoyed by it mate, you will thank me later.
Grace and Peace,