The Wake Up Call! What is your money accomplishing?

(Reprinted with permission from the Christian Family Journal, 2004)
Doug Perry,

In the last issue I urged Christians to support each other economically and use our collective wealth to accomplish more than just an accumulation of stuff.  I'm thrilled to announce that God has moved in some really remarkable ways and a lot has happened since then.

The first thing that happened was that people began to drop into my path to minister to me – to lead me to make the connections between where we are now and what could be – and they convicted me about what we're doing versus what God wants us to be doing.  In intensive conversations, research and quiet time with God, I've gained a much larger vision of how we might be able to affect the world for Christ.  Through this process, my focus has tightened down to the one absolute, irrevocable command that should be directing all we do individually and collectively as Christians – the Great Commission – the final instruction of Jesus to go into all the world and tell them about him.

Then I learned some really shocking – and embarassingly sad – statistics.  According to the U.S. Center for World Mission, only one-half of one percent of our church budgets in this country is used to preach Christ to the 3.8 billion unreached people of the world. More than 95 percent of our church budgets are spent at home.  Of the 5 percent that is sent overseas for missions, 4.5 percent goes for social work or building projects of some kind.  At the same time, I read about Evangelical churches in the U.S. with $100,000 chandeliers and $50,000 per week mortgages!

Americans are blessed with more than 1.5 million ordained ministers, 600,000 churches, 6,100 Christian bookstores and over 4,000 Christian radio and television stations.  While only 6 percent of the Christians in the world live in North America, 95 percent of available Christian resources are being spent here.  We have countless Christian schools, colleges and seminaries.  We have hundreds of commentaries on just the book of Acts!  While only eight percent of the world's population speaks English, more than 90 percent of all Christian ministry is conducted in the English Language.  Yet, for all of that, there is very little movement toward Christ in this country compared with what's happening elsewhere.

Here in America, a tiny slice of the world's population is getting stuffed with the Gospel over and over while most of the world is still waiting for the first bite.  There are over 4,300 language groups in the world which still do not have a Bible translated into their own tongue.  There are MILLIONS who have never once heard the name “Jesus.”  Many of them in places where Westerners are no longer allowed to go.

There is an exciting and massive movement of God-called native missionaries that are unconcerned about insurance, health care, retirement, living conditions or even personal safety.  These brothers and sisters need no visas, they know the language and customs, they live at the level of the people to whom they minister and will stay on the field without furloughs or sabaticals until they succeed – or they die.  Since many countries in the world have an average per capita income of less than $1 per day, these brave souls can require as little as $1000 per year to support their families and provide the materials and equipment they need to spread the Gospel (compared to $50,000 or more to send an American family).  In China more than 10,000 people accept Jesus every day.  Churches in China and Africa are already sending missionaries to Europe and the Middle East.  I pray that revival will come to America before they have to start sending missionaries here!

The fields are ripe for harvest and Christian brothers and sisters are going to do the work – but many aren't Americans. But there aren't enough resources to support them without our help.  As I began to learn more and more about what's happening out there, it became clear that we could do something to help.  God has taught us how to run a business that works and that model can be used to help fund evangelism and to create self-sufficiency in target countries.

If we can't free up more than one half of one percent of Christian giving, then we'll find some money elsewhere – through retail sales of high quality products from impoverished peoples and mission groups, with all profits going back to evangelism in the target countries.  That's the point of our exciting new business and website – – which was only a vague idea when the last issue went to press.  The argument is simple (though a little sad), if we can't get American Christians to sacrifice and DONATE more to missions – maybe we can tap their consumerism and at least have them BUY something that will directly support missions.

My prayer is that American Christians will live boldly and proclaim Christ all round them, but also that we will sacrifice some of our great material blessing to participate anywhere we see God moving.  We need to re-read Matthew 25:14-30 and Luke 12:48 before making any decision about money and decide whether or not that use of our resources will bring us eternal reward or just comfort.  There will be a reconciling of the books at the final judgement – will you have made wise decisions with that which was entrusted to you?

As always, I'd love to hear from you. Whether this offended or encouraged, let's talk about it.

Copyright Doug Perry 2004. Use with permission only and without changes. Link preferred.

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