I am excited to have Byron Johnson of Vision938 guest posting on the blog today. A 20 year veteran of campus ministry, Byron now leads Vision938 to help empower and equip ethnic minority missionaries. We talked on the phone a few weeks ago and Byron was gracious enough to jot down a few notes on solutions to the inequity present in the personal support raising model. His passion is to solve the issues I’ve been raising during this series and I’m thrilled to be able to share some of his thoughts and the practical steps he has already taken. Learn more and contact Byron at Vision938.org
Our primary solution at Vision938 is to supplement (bridge the gap) the current missionaries that are falling short in their monthly support by coming alongside them for 4 years. We raise funds and commit to giving to the missionary to help make up for the gap they are experiencing in their support. This is one person (or organization) making a commitment to go out and raise the necessary funds for something like this to take place.
The big issue for minority missionaries is the lack of a network of relationships. This being said, if we as Vision938 can come along them for 4 years, it will give them time prayerfully to consistently do ministry without being overly concerned about their support. It gives them 4 years to live in a community and connect with a local church with the hope that in that 4 year period, they will garner relationships in which to raise support. They could wean themselves off of the support we are giving. This would definitely look different for a new missionary just beginning to raise support. (See other solutions below) The long term goal is sustainability.
Other Potential Solutions
All non-minority staff raise an additional percentage (1-4%) above their goal to contribute to a minority fund for hiring and maintaining minority staff. As the minority missionary reach the fully-funded stage, they participate in the raising of additional percentage as well.
Creating an endowment ($1 million) of sort for the funding of minority missionaries; maybe using a sliding scale model.
Sliding scale model… 100% funded, year 1; 75%, year 2; 50%, year 3; 25%, year 4; Self-sustaining fully-funded in year 5. The percentages can be modified (100%, 67%, 33%, etc.). I don’t know if I really like this model because it could promote laziness in that first year in particular. i.e. “I’m fully-funded so I don’t have to be concerned about support.” When that second year rolls around, the minority missionary has not raised the necessary percentage.
Referral system… Non-minority staff introducing the minority staff to potential donors. Another idea along these lines, that as the non-minority is rolling off of staff or away from the mission field, he or she would challenge their donors to stay committed to the vision by transferring their support to the minority staff. This could include the non-minority staff introducing the minority staff to their donors and challenging them to continue give to the mission though the white staff is leaving the mission field.
Team Support Raising. Everyone raises support the traditional way but instead of having individual goals there is one team goal that everyone works towards.
NOTE: None of these solutions are created to alleviate the minority missionary from raising support. The missionary must take some responsibility. In all these solutions, there has to be some strong accountability along the way.
photo credit: cishore