This entry is part 2 of 12 in the series Funding Multiethnic Mission

“If you see a fish go belly up in a lake, you try to find out what was wrong with the fish. You see a thousand fish go belly up in a lake and you better take a look at the lake.” – Unknown

The personal support raising model1 used by parachurch ministries and mission agencies around the world raises more money for ministry than ever before. But, despite this apparent success, the model is deeply flawed. In this post I will share how the personal support raising model is broken: its structural and cultural flaws produce systemic funding inequities for ethnic minorities that serve to keep parachurch ministries White.

Deeply Flawed: Support Raising Isn’t Working for Ethnic Minorities

Ethnic minorities, specifically Latinos and African Americans, have long voiced concern that the personal support raising model used by American parachurch ministries since the 1950’s doesn’t work as well in their communities. While there are obviously many ethnic minority individuals who have been able to raise full support and join staff, I want to take a broader look at the pond. It has been, and continues to be, difficult for many ethnic minority staff members to raise all of their support and join the full-time staff of parachurch ministries.

My first experience with this came in 2008 when I began working with the Latino ministry division of a large parachurch organization. My wife and I soon noticed that none of the full-time Hispanic staff in the ministry were fully funded. They were either getting second jobs or supplementing their support raising deficits through temporary grants from ministry leadership. As an Anglo American who had grown up in the Bible Belt, I had seen individuals struggle with support raising in the past, but this was my first personal experience with an entire group of people struggling to fit in the current model. The more I began to listen to and learn from my ethnic minority brothers and sisters in Christ the more I heard how the current system of support raising wasn’t serving them. It was then I began to realize that there might be systemic issues at play.

Why Support Raising Doesn’t Work As Well for Ethnic Minorities: Structural And Cultural Barriers2

The personal support raising model is built on the idea that each missionary has a social network they can leverage to pray for them, give financially to fund the ministry, and provide them referrals to expand the network. As opposed to denominations or large non-profits who usually have a centralized funding system or specialized fundraising department, in most Protestant ministries each missionary is responsible to raise the full amount of their funding. The organization provides no other mechanism to provide financially for the staff member. If the potential missionary is unable to raise their full financial support, they cannot join staff with the organization.

Many mission leaders view this as an equitable, just system and have been hesitant to making changes. Often their rationale sounds something like, “Everyone needs to start from the same place, to raise their own support. It wouldn’t be fair to give some an advantage.” But there’s a major flaw in that logic: we don’t all start from the same place.

Ethnic minorities start from a place that presents two barriers that often prove insurmountable in their fundraising efforts that White ministers (as a group) don’t face: structural disadvantages and cultural barriers.

Structural Disadvantages to Support Raising
African American and Latino ministers face significant structural barriers that prevent them from raising full support. The Personal Support Raising model is predicated on your social network connecting you with people who have disposable income they can give on a regular basis. By assuming all staff start from the same place in their support raising, the model fails to take into account the disparity of wealth in this country.

The Pew Research Center published a study in 2011 entitled, Wealth Gaps Rise to Record Highs Between White, Blacks, Hispanics. The report analyzed data from the U.S. government and found that “the median wealth of white households is 20 times that of black households and 18 times that of Hispanic households…the typical black household had just $5,677 in wealth (assets minus debts) in 2009; the typical Hispanic household had $6,325 in wealth; and the typical white household had $113,149.”

While there are obviously many individual exceptions to the report, this means that when an African-American or Latino minister enters the average home of someone in their community to raise support, the person they meet with will likely have 20 times less wealth than the average person a White minister meets with from their community. So even if the donor from the African-American or Latino church has a heart for missions and is compelled to give financially, they are not starting from the same place as the average White donor.

Staff members from lower income backgrounds (whether white or ethnic minority) face an additional structural barrier in support raising. When a parachurch minister first begins to raise their support they don’t have enough donations coming in for them to receive a paycheck. Until they reach that tipping point they are essentially working without pay. For someone like myself who was fortunate enough to have parents who could provide for me financially for 3 months while I worked without pay, this wasn’t a problem. But for ministers from low socio-economic backgrounds they often don’t have the ability to work for an extended time without a paycheck. This often causes them to get a part-time job to supplement their income (which slows down their support raising progress) or they simply decide not to join staff.

Cultural Barriers to Support Raising3
Statistically, Asian Americans are just as likely to raise full support as their White counterparts. While they don’t face the same structural disadvantages as Latinos and African-Americans, they are confronted with cultural barriers. Asian Americans are 2.5 times more likely to report that their families are embarrassed of them because of support raising.4 Because Asian cultures tend to be more indirect, personal support raising training can offend members of the Asian American community because of it’s white, western way of direct asking. This can be perceived as valuing money over relationship and highlights the white cultural context the model was created and honed in.

Latinos and African American ministers also face cultural barriers in the support raising process. The personal support raising model is largely foreign to their communities, making it harder to convince people to give. A number of other cultural barriers contribute to a startling statistic from one research survey: 71% of Latinos’ and 74% of African Americans’ funding came from individuals outside their racial group.5 Because of the structural and cultural barriers, Latinos and African Americans are forced to raise support cross-culturally, further contributing to their difficulty in obtaining full funding. As one Latino staff member as put it when told to join a White church so he could more quickly finish raising support, “We have to leave our community to save our community”.

It is not just ethnic minorities or myself who have noticed these systemic inequities in the personal support raising model. Some of the most popular leaders in Evangelicalism have voiced their concerns.

Listen to Tim Keller:

…The evangelical world is based on raising your own support… you go out and you raise support from amongst your friends. This, of course, is systemic; it excludes, it marginalizes people who aren’t white. Because what happens is.. white people that don’t think of themselves as very well off can do it, they can raise their own support. And not just black, Hispanic, Asian people.. (and most people think of Asian people as very prosperous).. Asian people have trouble raising support for various cultural reasons, that whole model privileges white people… privilege cultures in which that kind of volunteerism works; it certainly doesn’t privilege Black [or] Hispanic people who don’t have lots of well off friends. And yet the system assumes that everyone who goes out there has equal social power and they don’t. Now I would call that a systemic problem, a big systemic problem…

… very often, these organizations, huge parachurch organizations, that you have to raise your support, and you come up in the power structure, having raised your support, then you kind of go on staff, and you move on your way up. Now I know about InterVarsity and plenty of places understand this, and they’re trying to do everything they can to recognize the fact that people don’t start with the same amount of social power. And therefore we can’t, we say it’s a level playing field, we’re meritocratic, we’re individualistic, that is to say, everybody has an equal chance, we’re not giving anybody an extra leg up in any way, and of course what that immediately does is destroy the people who already don’t have a leg up… Maybe somebody is offended by what I just said… The system.. it doesn’t mean, for example, that everybody in a ministry in which everybody has to raise their support is deliberately, intentionally, trying to marginalize people, but, nevertheless, the system is worse than the individuals in the system. And just by being a part of it, you’re participating in this… white people have got to learn how to have those kind of spectacles, is what I was trying to say, they have to be thinking about that… – Tim Keller, Watch the full video

Implicit Acknowledgement of a Broken System
Campus Crusade for Christ (now known as Cru) and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, two of the largest American parachurch ministries, both have programs in place that implicitly acknowledge the support raising model doesn’t work as well for ethnic minorities.6 Cru has the Ethnic Minority Assistance Fund, whereby staff in the organization voluntarily give towards a central fund that supplements ethnic minorities in their support raising (only 25% of their goals and only for the first two years on staff. After that minorities are expected to raise 100%.). InterVarsity has the “Multiethnic 1%”, whereby 1% of all donations are directed to a central fund that is then dispersed to ethnic minorities based on a variety of factors. While these represent improvements, many would say they fall short of achieving equity because they leave the fundamental model unchanged.7

How Support Raising Keeps Parachurch Ministries White

Samuel Perry, a Dallas Theological Seminary graduate and Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at the University of Chicago, published an article in 2011 that changed my perspective forever: Diversity, Donations, and Disadvantage: The Implications of Personal Fundraising for Racial Diversity in Evangelical Outreach Ministries. In the article Perry explained how not only did the current support raising model fail to work as well for ethnic minorities, but it also served to keep the parachurch ministries White.

His survey of 716 staff members from 7 Evangelical Outreach Ministries(EOMs), primarily Protestant parachurch organizations, revealed:

“…White dominance is reproduced with the funding structure of EOMs through two primary means: (1) the individualistic fundraising model of EOMs naturally advantages whites over economically disadvantaged minorities, thereby reproducing whites’ structural dominance. And (2) the fundraising strategies of EOMs embody white cultural preferences that become normalized, requiring minorities to sacrifice their own preferences and adapt. The EOM funding structure thus becomes a mechanism for reproducing white dominance and ultimately fortifying racial divisions and perpetuating racial homogeneity within EOMs.[Emphasis added]”(p. 397)

Perry found that “for objective fundraising outcomes, the odds of raising one’s full support were 66% lower for African Americans and Latinos relative to whites…[and] the odds that they had to pick up a second job to supplement their income were twice that of white staff.”8 Simply put, because of the structural and cultural barriers mentioned earlier in this post, it is far less likely that an African-American or Latino staff member will be able to raise their full support.

Over time, this means that there will be fewer ethnic minorities who are able to raise all of their funding. The few who are able are less likely to be able to maintain full funding over a period of years, much less decades. As a result, they are unable to stay in the organization long enough to rise to positions of power to make changes to the system. White cultural values become normalized within the organization and are unchallenged because of the dearth of ethnic minorities present in senior leadership positions. This cycle ensures that no matter their commitment to diversity, parachurch ministries and mission agencies will probably stay White.

Samuel Perry makes it clear, and I want to affirm as well, that this structural inequity built into the personal support raising model is inadvertent. No mission executive desired to create a system where ethnic minorities would be disadvantaged. But it is present nonetheless, therefore the system is not exempt from critique or the need to be changed. Support Raising is an unjust model of ministry funding that keeps our organizations White, despite our best intentions otherwise.

Answering Objections
(Part of the reason this post is so long is that when ethnic minorities have raised these issues in the past, they concerns have often been met with skepticism and been dismissed. Rather than attempt to answer them now and further lengthen this post, I will address them in a future post.)

“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

It’s time to change the support raising model

Over time I came to the conclusion that no matter how much I or other majority culture staff members ministered among ethnic minority college students we would never see the ministry become fully multiethnic without changing our funding model. It’s time to change the model.

Start a Conversation
I don’t presume to speak for the thousands of Latino and African American brothers and sisters in Christ who, like the Hellenistic Widows in Acts 6, have repeatedly expressed that the structures developed by the Church are not working for their communities. I also have not written this post out of a desire to harm or disparage any Evangelical Outreach Ministry. I have spent my entire ministry career raising support and have seen God use the model to send thousands of ministers around the world.

But I can no longer sit idly by and participate blindly in a system that disadvantages members of the Body of Christ. The system was developed for my context, and it works well for me. But I cannot get Paul’s words out of my mind: “If one part suffers, they all suffer”. The ethnic minority members of our body are suffering, we can’t ignore them anymore.

Equitable ministry structures were a source of pain in the early church and, in different forms, remain so today. My desire is that this series, Funding Multiethnic Ministry, would spark a conversation about inequity present in our funding structures. I pray that we would listen to our ethnic minority members and would seek to be led by them to develop funding models that are more just and equitable.

How Should We Respond?
For many of you, this post will be the first time you are confronted with the reality that support raising is an unjust model that disadvantages ethnic minorities. This new knowledge has the potential to stir a lot of emotions in you and raise many questions. In future posts I will attempt to explore how those of us who are privileged by the current system should respond.

For some of you, however, this information is not new. You’ve known for a long time that support raising was an inequitable and unjust model. I fall into this group. My question for us is, “Why haven’t we done more to change the support raising model?” In future posts I will explore what our unwillingness as an American missionary enterprise to change a system we know is unjust says about us and about the mission we are engaging in.

In coming posts I will also attempt to answer some of the common objections raised when these issues are brought up, explore theological and missiological reasons for equitable funding models, examine the history of support raising, take a closer look at its perceived Biblical Basis, and suggest next steps and possibilities for improving the model of mission funding to be equitable and just. Lord, may you bring equitable funding models quickly.

p.s. – If you are interested in exploring this topic more, I encourage you to read “Social Capital, Race, and Personal Fundraising in Evangelical Outreach Ministries” and “Racial Habitus, Moral Conflict, and White Moral Hegemony Within Interracial Evangelical Organizations”, both by Samuel Perry.

image credit: mor



Series Navigation<< American Missions’ Acts 6 MomentSupport Raising Is Not As Biblically Based As We Think It Is >>
  1. By “personal support raising” I am referring to the model whereby staff members are responsible to raise financial donations from their social networks. This model was popularized by Campus Crusade and has been used to fund tens of thousands of missionaries. This critique does not cover organizations like Young Life, who use a slightly different model (and one with which I am less familiar). []
  2. Much of the following is from “Diversity, Donations, and Disadvantage: The Implications of Personal Fundraising for Racial Diversity in Evangelical Outreach Ministries” by Samuel Perry. []
  3. ibid []
  4. ibid []
  5. ibid, p. 413 []
  6. I have worked for both in my ministry career, but any opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent either organization. []
  7. In recent years InterVarsity has begun to adjust their model to include features of a more community-based funding model used by Young Life. This willingness to make substantial changes to funding structures is most often the exception, rather than the rule, among parachurch ministries. []
  8. ibid, p. 406 []

44 thoughts on “How Support Raising Keeps Parachurch Ministries White

  1. Eric, Thank you so much for writing this.

    I can’t help but feel a little hopeless as I read this post though. I am an ethnic minority raising support in a foreing country, in a foreign language and after a year of hard work I am only at 48% of my goal. Sometimes I wonder If I should even keep doing this. If this system is not for me, why am I even trying so hard to fit in? I pray change comes quickly. Again, thanks for using your voice to help ethnic minorities.

    1. Diana,

      Thanks for commenting.

      We too pray that change comes quickly and that God will help the Church create models that will fully fit your story and empower the incredible potential we see in you. We are such big fans of you and are so proud of how you have worked hard for the sake of the gospel even in the midst of an inequitable system that doesn’t fit you. If that’s not sacrificial servant leadership, I don’t know what is.

  2. Interesting reading. My wife and I discussed a little this issue, and we think that this issue can be related more to people with low-income rather than strictly related to minorities. I can identify with the problem, as I have never had raised full support according to the current model. However, what I would really like to read is what are the other alternatives and solutions to this raised concern. Also, how are native ministries (of the same parachurch groups) handling support raising in their own cultures.

    1. Esdras,

      Thanks so much for commenting. I agree that the issue is related to socio-economic status as well as ethnicity. But it sounds like I would probably place more weight on the cultural factors at play than you would. I hope to expand more on this reasoning in future posts.

      I too would like to hear from other missionaries around the world and how they have adapted funding models to fit their countries (or if they are just importing a model from the US unchanged). Though I have lived overseas, this is not an area I am qualified to speak into.

      How have you adapted the model in your context?

    2. Hello Esdras,

      I’m unsure if you are asking about Native American/Native Alaskan/Native Hawaiian ministries or overseas ministries. I co-coordinate for a Native American/Hawaiian Alaskan division of a parachurch. As far as Native American fund development goes we are just at the beginning and relate strongly with what Eric has written. I have given much thought/emotional energy over the past year to trying to figure out how we will fund the first two Native American staff that have come up out of our ministry. Right at this moment they are at a fund development training learning the old model . . . and my heart breaks a bit. My starting point is with providing matching grants in hopes that they honor both the effort of these new staff as well as the gifts those in their communities are able to give. We are also exploring using more volunteers as part of a council to raise funds from the community. But I still feel far from the answer. The best I’ve heard, but feel unconvinced about after reading Eric’s article, is that it will require a sort of swiss army knife approach–we do some matching grants, grant writing, traditional model, donor sharing, bivocational, etc and hope that it all comes together.

      Thank you Eric for the work and thought and heart you have put into this. I am waiting with bated breath for your subsequent posts.

      1. Megan,

        Thank you so much for sharing. It is so encouraging to hear your heart, not just to see new models created, but also to shepherd the hearts of the staff whom you are serving.

        While I certainly don’t have all the answers, I think you are headed in some good directions as far as pursuing new models. We need more people experimenting and creating like you.

        I look forward to continuing the conversation.

  3. This is a great article, and brings up some really good points. I do think, one point to consider, is as much as this is about the “para-church” support raising model. I think the issue is not contained in just this sort of financial structure.

    When I talk to friends, even a current close friend, who is pursuing seminary, the reality is that much of the evangelical world (para-church or church) is made up of the white majority culture. There are huge discrepancies in terms of who large well resourced churches are hiring as well. I would suggest for many of the same “social capital” reasons that are true of the para-church reality.

    It’s not just an issue for the para-church. Even look through the staffing of a church like Tim Keller’s who can salary folks. How many African-Americans and Latinos make up the staff at Redeemer?

    If anything, this just adds fuel to the flames of figuring out what we can do to solve this issue. It is not right, it is not just, it needs to be looked at!

    Thanks for bringing this issue up in this way.

    I do look forward to hearing possible solutions you might have to what we should do!

    1. Thanks Ryan.

      I agree with you, the issues with the support raising model for parachurch ministries point to larger systemic problems in Evangelicalism in America in general. I hope to address more of these soon. I write mainly about the parachurch model as it is the one with which I have the most experience. I’d need someone more qualified to way in on how these dynamics are at play in churches (especially larger ones). I think if we begin to discuss those problems at the same time as seeking solutions to inequities in support raising that the result can be incredibly beautiful.

      I’ll be posting thoughts on solutions soon, I have a couple other posts scheduled first. I’m hoping the conversation results in some crowdsourced wisdom of what Spirit-filled leaders from around the world are experimenting with in their contexts.

  4. As a young African-American preparing to embark on a vocational journey with one of the referenced EOMs, this was a timely read and definitely something worth my prayers and thoughts.

    1. Thank you for commenting. I pray that leaders like you will help create a future where our funding models are more just.

  5. I know this response is long but I don’t know how to shorten it.
    Ryan – I agree with you. Even if the Church puts someone on staff most of the time it is someone just like them. They will say “We need to hire the most qualified” and many times that person is the most qualified because of “White Privilege” – And for those who don’t understand white privilege or believe it exists, I will not even try to address that, because that will take a whole semester – and not in the classroom but on the street.
    I’m the founder and executive director of a ministry called youth resources. Youth resources exist for the advancement of urban youth and organizations that serve them to reduce poverty, illiteracy, crime, and fatherlessness. I grew up in the city, often refer to myself as a hood rat. I’ve been working in urban youth ministry for about 37 years now. And it was in 1998 that my wife and I came up with the vision for youth resources. We understand that the urban youth worker has a very significant mountain to overcome to be successful in their ministry. A few years ago I was praying about doing a fundraiser, and the Lord said you are going to do one but it’s not for you. So we do a fundraiser for urban youth ministries. It’s a very typical fundraiser. We have a nice place, nice dinner, good entertainment, great speaker, and ask for money. But the differences every table is a different ministry. That ministry invites their own donors to the table, and when they give, they give to the table host that invited them, not to us. Last year I was the one making the appeal to the donors to give. This is the last half of my speech.

    “Youth Resources focus is on Urban Youth Ministry – We focus on this because In spite of years of desire and effort, ministry to the deeply at-risk adolescents in the urban core has proven to be extremely difficult and unsustainable. Valiant efforts by many ministries and churches have experienced fits and starts with some success, generally to find the longevity of the work to be impossible.
    Over the years, youth ministry in the urban core has faced unique problems far beyond those of their suburban counterparts in their like organizations. The most obvious issue is funding. Whereas, suburban ministries have communities that are able to support the work in their communities, the urban ministries are working with many adolescents whose families are simply surviving. When you add to it the greater need to resource the urban Youth for camps or events (that most suburban parents are able to pay for), it also means the operating costs are that much higher. Indigenous staff try joining the ranks in these organizations, most are required to raise a considerable amount of support from their own networks of people. But the problem with that, staff from the urban core do not have the same access to people with the means to support them. They too often are one of the more stable people they know. So that leave the suburbanite coming in to help the poor black or Hispanic child. The problem with that is “no street cred”
    Tonight I would like to start making a change in this.
    The option to be a volunteer leader is a possibility but becomes far more difficult if a person is under-employed or must work far more hours because of low wages to make a living income. This leads to a scarcity of volunteers that is not seen to the same extent in suburbia. As well, working with the most at-risk adolescents requires a greater degree of time and “Street Cred”, a “been there done that” sense that kids pick up on quickly. Fewer leaders have that sort of credibility. Many young people who have managed to do well in school are taking their best shot at college, which removes them from the potential pool of volunteers. Some just want to make it out of the urban core to what they consider might be a better life.
    I applaud our ministry leaders here tonight – They have chosen to stick it out. It is exhausting to work with the most troubled young people. With foundations and grants If numbers are being measured it becomes far easier to “pick the low-hanging fruit.” it is easier to attract and minister to nice kids or churched young people. This often means the ministry to the most at-risk adolescents is left undone or unsupported.
    Tonight I hope we will raise more than money.
    Tonight I hope we will raise Partners in the ministry.
    You see these youth workers need your influence, they need your references, they need your encouragement, and they need your money. How many youth workers out there have had to change your program because you didn’t have enough gas to go pick up students.
    On your commitment card, as your praying about what God is called you to do maybe you might want to buy one tank of gas for your host a week. Maybe you can help them pay their monthly car insurance bill.
    You may want to make a commitment to sponsor the next table at Twin Cities United for your host on September 20 and commit to bringing to or three other couples that will consider investing in the ministry of your host.
    Tonight we are doing something very different than just a fundraiser were doing a partner raiser.
    Maybe you have things they can use, a cabin, a van, a large living room, a sewing machine to teach sewing classes – Maybe you have friends outside of their circle that do have resources that they can share.
    As a referred to earlier working in the urban community is tough, community resources are low and the overall need is great.
    If we can make a difference in this generation and we are one step closer to saving the generation after that and after that. I am so excited to have you here this evening that you have agreed to come and hear their story to hear about the needs of the youth in the city and I hope that your heart is touched to leave a legacy.
    I’d like to take time now to pray, if you’re here as a couple grabbed hands and with your other hand hold up your commitment card.
    If you here as an individual take your commitment card and let’s pray the Bible tells us not to be weary in well doing, it’s often hard not to be if you don’t think there are people out there supporting you encouraging you in cheering you on.
    I’m going to ask if it’s within your possibility to make a monthly commitment to your host. A Crazy gift – You see it’s one thing to give them $1,000 or $5000 tonight – that’ll probably be gone in a month and a half. But if you can give them $100 or $500 a month that’s a check that they know is coming every month and every time they get it they know somebody cares, somebody’s praying for them, somebody’s there for them.
    However there is no ministry here that will stop you from writing out what I called that WOW check tonight. Let’s Pray”
    At this particular event we had about 10 ministries participate, all of them serving urban youth, but one of the ministries was run by a suburban white girl whose ministries served both urban and suburban young ladies. The fund-raising results for that evening was about $6000. The amount that was raised by the suburban white girl was about $4000 the balance was divided among the other tables of indigenous urban leaders. I had a meeting with that suburban girl after the events and she said she felt horrible, knowing that the other ministries that were there were just as important as hers, but also knowing that they did not have the people to invite to their tables that could write checks to adequately help their ministry. That was the last event that she participated in with us.
    The event were doing is called Twin Cities United. In order for this to work I have to find sponsors to underwrite over half the cost of the dinner however I still face the same problems that other indigenous leaders face and that’s raising money. You see I’m an indigenous leader from the hood I’ve just been added a lot longer. Still I have problems raising $50,000 for salary for my wife and myself.
    I was asked one time by Brad Hewitt, president of Thrivent Financial how we can make urban youth ministry sustainable. That question stopped me, I had no response. I asked God and prayed about that for over six months. And then I believe I got an answer. It was a two-part answer, there are two ways, the American way and the biblical way.
    • The American way – sell something, raise support, do a lot of lunches and network like mad.
    • The biblical way 11 tribes work and donate to the one tribe.
    For the most part in urban ministry we have chosen the American way. When I talked to some of my suburban friends they think that raising money for urban clauses should be easy because if they could tell the stories I could tell they would raise tons funds of cash. Yet the people they would tell the stories to I don’t have access to or the results of me telling that story to them would not yield the same result. You see they don’t trust me to use the money well.
    I appreciate your article and I agree with a totally but I still don’t know what the answer is.
    Signed Perplexed
    Ron McConico
    ron@mcconico.com
    Executive Director
    Youth Resources

    1. Ron,

      Thank you, not only for the work you do among urban youth, but for sharing your heart in your comment. I was deeply moved. I appreciate your contribution to the dialogue and hope that the conversation growing around this series of posts will lead to more discussion and ultimately solutions.

  6. I’m curious to hear your solutions, as you bring up valid points, but without any solutions I’m not ready throw out the one that worked in getting me on the field. Here are a few observations from my personal experience.

    I’m mostly white, but culturally white. I’m currently a missionary in Japan, which is one of the most expensive places in the world to do ministry, so my support requirements are on the high side. You could say that white privilege is getting me where I am, as many of my supporters are white Americans. On the other hand many of my supporters are Asian-Americans and some Japanese nationals. Here are some other things to consider:

    Over the course of two fundraising terms and two on field terms I’ve spent five years raising support and four years in Japan. I raised support in my home community, then moved to a new community (Japanese American) where I was the ethnic minority. I’ve lived in five different houses during my home services, and called three churches home. I’ve had to leave the church I grew up in, where my dad pastors (he was not happy about that), in order to make new support contacts. I’ve had to change missionary agencies to lower financial requirements, and I’ve worked five part-time jobs during my support raising stints.

    I find the points that you make valid, but it’s not like being culturally white made my road magically easy. The system takes advantage of white privilege, but how can you fix it without fixing that cultural issue first? As I said, I’m interested in hearing alternative proposals, but until then I’m not ready to throw out the old one.

    1. Jon,

      Thanks for sharing some of your story. I think it helps give more context to some of the issues we’re discussing.

      I’m not sure we need to throw out the current model, at least not entirely. But I do think it is past time we stopped and examine our funding models more. I am encouraged by how many people are expressing a willingness to look for solutions to the problems raised by ethnic minorities.

  7. Your article would be stronger if you included some statistics. What are the percentages of ethnic minorities in para-church ministries? Are the percentages (and absolute numbers) changing over time? How did the steps that IVCF and Cru took affect their minority numbers? What should the percentage of minorities in these ministries be?

    And the biggest question is what alternative do you propose? (maybe that will be in a subsequent post). I was with IVCF 18 years. Most everyone hated the FR model, but no one ever offered a viable alternative.

    1. Greg,

      Thanks for engaging the post.

      I agree, more statistics would help give a fuller picture. This is part of the issue raised by Samuel Perry in his article. Funding for Evangelical Outreach Ministries is something few people have studied in depth.

      Part of the issue with statistics is that not all ministries track the ethnicity of their staff or ministry participants. For some there is literally no way to know how many ethnic minorities are involved now or at any point in history. In those cases we are left only with anecdotal evidence to go off of.

      As far as solutions, I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I will be covering some possibilities in future posts.

      Finally, I might push back a little on the idea that most everyone hates the current model. If we were truly convinced it was so bad I think we would have worked harder to find solutions before now. (That’s how we ended up with our current model, people didn’t think the previous one was working well enough so a new one was invented.) Maybe part of our problem is many of us haven’t yet been convinced the situation is so bad to compel us to take action.

  8. Eric, thanks so much for this post. A highly relevant article for the missions community – of which I’ve been part of for over 20 years. I notice that this website does not identify you beyond your first name. Who is “Eric the White guy?”

  9. thoroughly enjoyed the post. this is an issue that i’m passionate about. i’m glad to hear that someone understands the challenges that minorities face in fundraising. i’m trying to do something about this issue. may the Lord send more minorities into the harvest.

    1. jbyronj,

      Amen. Amen.

      Praying for you that God will bless your efforts. May God multiply your vision and bring more leaders along with your heart for ethnic minorities and the world.

      I’d love to hear more of what you’ve been learning (just downloaded your paper, “Where are the African-American Missionaries?” and am excited to read it.

  10. Eric,

    Thank you for writing this. My husband and I are both white and have been on staff for 2 years now with a para-church ministry. We are at around 60% of our budget, and while that is far from fully funded and we both work other jobs, I am convicted by this article and the truth of the networks and cultural advantages we do have, compared to many of our ethnic minority brothers and sisters. Strangely, I have come to love raising support- to come alongside Christians (and non-believers) with money, exposing them to the nature of God the generous King and to our role as stewards of his blessings. It’s been an experience of joy to help the wealthy break free from the chains that money can bring, and I’ve seen the joy that the givers (both higher and lower-income) receive from releasing ownership of their resources and investing in the Kingdom. One thing I’ve dreamed about and begun working on recently, is networking on behalf of minority friends/fellow staff workers- introducing them to people who might support them. In your opinion, how helpful is this, in the long run? If we, as white staff, seek to assist our minority brothers and sisters by connecting them with potential donors of the majority culture, is it a beneficial path to pursue? I think it would challenge the potential donor in good ways, but would it be harmful for the staff to continually ask them to step out of their comfort zone in this way? And when the givers continue to be mostly white, how does this build up the diverse church as a whole? I would love to hear your thoughts on how white staff can truly help minority staff with support raising in the current model, while new models are being created…

    I’m also reading Christena Cleveland’s new book Disunity in Christ (IVP), which looks at the divisions in the Church from a sociological and psychologial perspective, from racial and ethnic divisions to denominational and cultural separations within the body of Christ. I’ve wrestled for most of my life with the dilemma of: a) wanting to serve the poor (often minority ethnic communities where I come from), b) wanting to work for racial reconciliation, and then c) realizing that every method I have tried and seen seems to carry with it the potential for even more division, as whites (bless their hearts) continually assume the role of the giver. Even in the extreme “sacrifice” of moving into the inner city and laying down roots among the poor (i.e. low-income black families), we often unwittingly become purveyors of gentrification in the city and of division in the church, nursing an unhealthy pride from our “sacrifice” and our “understanding” of incarnational ministry, and no longer desiring connection with the rest of the Western Evangelical church (who “just don’t get it”), which in turn makes support raising more difficult for us as white staff and doesn’t seem to help minority staff either.

    I often want to give up, relinquishing the idea that I can effect change in these areas, and I often feel like ethnic minorities resent the efforts of well-meaning white Christians, which makes it difficult to know what to do. So, in regard to this post particularly, how can white staff of para-church ministries, as we work through our “white guilt” and press into humility, effectively partner alongside our minority counterparts in the current model, and what role do we have to play in the creation of a new system?

    Thanks,
    Valerie

    1. Valerie,

      Thanks for commenting and sharing more of your story. I’m humbled by your willingness to continue working hard to raise your funding after 2 years. I doubt my stamina would last so long.

      I think you are asking great questions about how to come alongside our ethnic minority brothers and sisters in Christ. Some of your ideas are discusses in Samuel Perry’s article: “Social Capital, Race, and Personal Fundraising in Evangelical Outreach Ministries” (link available above; if you don’t want to pay for it, usually your local university library or city public library will have a subscription for free when you access it from their computers. That’s how I read them.) If I read his article correctly, he seems to think you may be on to something by helping minorities network.

      The place I would probably start would be to just ask ethnic minorities what they would view as helpful. I think that’s part of the beauty of the early church in Acts 6. They released power and decision making authority to the people who were affected. What would it look like for us to let them lead us?

      I resonate with what you’re learning from Christena Cleveland’s book. It’s on my shelf but I haven’t had a chance to read it yet. I ask myself many of the same questions and don’t seem to have many answers.

      As far as how we can partner together with ethnic minorities in both the current model and in creation of a new model, I think it begins with listening. I’ve seen a number of tweets about this article where minorities express a desire to finally be heard on this issue. Before moving to solutions, I wonder if empathizing and listening to them would be a start to a new way of talking about the problems with our funding models. Then in genuine partnership we might be able to seek solutions together.

      I think there are roles for both ethnic minorities and members of the majority culture to play in helping create a new future where ministry is funded equitably. We both need each other, and I think for me as a majority culture male, part of my role in the beginning is to listen to ethnic minorities and then join them in saying, “Things are not okay”.

      I have to trust the Holy Spirit that He will lead us to equitable systems much the way He did for the early church. I believe it is one of the most relevant “Acts of the Holy Spirit” for the church today.

      Is any of this helpful? I think you’re asking great question and appreciate you being willing to engage them here.

      Looking forward to continuing the conversation.

  11. Thanks for posting this and catalyzing an important conversation. These are really important questions and observations. There is an inherent power structure that 22 year olds all of a sudden get thrust in–and we start judging ministry success based on funding success and a young missionary has to process all those dynamics. Most 22 year olds will then unfortunately take on false narratives through that process :/

    Here’s my stab at solutions: As a disclaimer though I’m generally a fan of support raising but I do think there are critical flaws.

    1. Valerie above, for example, writes that she wants to be networking on behalf of minority friends. I’ve always thought that to be important. Something along the lines of carrying one another’s burdens seems critical. When it happens on a systemic level, (i.e. overhead money is raised), our hearts don’t get changed. And if it’s optional, it won’t happen–so i think something along the lines of people with power needing to have a way of sharing their networks with those with less privilege. I think supervisors can help institute something like “each of my staff will nurture 5 of their donors to also give to those without privilege.”

    2. We need ethnic minority pastors to come along side us–we need to create advisory boards of these pastors who will carry the burdens and support our staff. We have the relationship with these pastors–it’s just a matter of bringing them together and asking them to share the problems with us. (What if 1% funds were used to gather these pastors?)

    3. We should raise money for ministries not individuals. This is a longer change process but necessary

    4. In our ministry (InterVarsity) we are the most positioned to change this by discipling the next generation of students to be giving and empowering people in the mission. How do we bring giving/generosity/money at the center of how we do discipleship?

    1. “3. We should raise money for ministries not individuals. This is a longer change process but necessary”

      I agree completely. How much more effective could all of our workers be if they could simply be given a salary from an organization that takes responsibility for raising funds for salary at a corporate level?

      Do secular charitable organizations make their employees raise their own support? I honestly don’t know. But in the countries in which I work, I’ve never heard of a secular NGO not paying their staff directly.

  12. I really appreciated your article. In fact I have been longing to see someone write about this. So needed. I’m in the same ministry with Chris Baker-Evens (above). For most of my 25 years in ministry I have been part of a smaller group striving to do everything possible to see folks from marginalized communities not be prevented from living out a call to ministry just because of finances. We have tried lots of things, and done ok, but have not found any easy or sustainable answers. I think Chris and I would both appreciate the opportunity to talk personally with you, were that to be possible. Gracias hermano.

    1. Nate,

      Thanks so much for commenting and for the kind words about the article. I love the vision you shared and am so grateful for the work you’ve done for 25 years. We have so much to learn from you and the call of God you’ve followed in your career.

      I’d love to talk more, I’m interested to hear more of your story and continue this conversation together. I’ll send you and Chris both an email soon.

  13. I’m glad you are raising this issue. It would be interesting to explore another aspect of the same system. The current model not only reinforces the cultural and ethnic inequalities, it promotes (for lack of a better term) the “blowing with the wind” focus of missions where people are more apt to support the current “fad” in missions be it the 10-40 window, the unreached groups, social missions, only church planters, etc.
    As another aspect, I have also seen friends of mine that are not in the “front line” positions like medical missions, providing clean water, or straight evangelism/church planting have a harder time raising support as well when they are just in supporting roles within the mission.

  14. Eric, not to sound mean spirited but I can’t thank you for you for raising/addressing this issue because, quite frankly, I think you and others who’ve bought into this notion do more harm than good while intending to do good. I would applaud and thank you for your heart for the work of the Kingdom and for people of all nations/communities.

    I know you (all) mean well, but well-meaning people have often done more damage than good. I can tell you that from my personal experience growing up first in Jackson, Tenn til age 10 (1965) and then Milwaukee, WI until I left home to join the Marine Corp (1973). I can give you a long list of good hearted sincere folk who loved the Lord and had a deep love and desire to help poor inner-city urban kids like me. But they did (& to this day) great damage. You’ve regurgitated a number of the same ideas and notions here that do the same.

    Just to address a couple. The idea that urban blacks & Latinos are disproportionately poor is correct; however the implication that they are poor because of institutional racism on the part of the “privileged cultures”/”majority culture” is false. I would agree that institutional racism is one of the barriers but it is on the part of blacks & Latinos, not so much on the part of whites (Evangelicals or otherwise). “We” are disproportionately poor because of economic polices enacted by the people they habitually elect out of racial/party loyalties; entrenched financial/economic habits/practices & philosophies which results in expenditure of money in ways that drain the community & households; spending priorities which are contrary to wealth building; etc..

    Another culprit is the self imposed isolation which essentially keeps poor urban blacks & Latinos separated from any ‘intimate’ [my word] exposure to/relationship the broader white culture. We work together, attend school together, & attend social functions together but we maintain a separate “community”/”culture”/mindset whereby we experience very little of each other. As you alluded to, there are practices among the broader white Evangelical majority “community” (& white majority “culture” as well) which lends itself to giving & sharing it’s wealth. To do so with individuals who are part of para-church ministry isn’t foreign to them nor objectionable. Among black Americans, whether urban poor, working middle income, or wealthy, there isn’t a willingness to give to such things.

    The constant refram of urban blacks (& Latinos) not having the money or wealth of whites is another one of those things that have a distinct ring of racism to it. Let me try to address it this way: there is no shortage of disposal income among urban blacks & Latinos that would preclude them from financially supporting individuals raising funds for ministry among them or for the ministry itself. Now before the “he’s crazy” thing pops in your head let me explain. I would challenge you (& Prof. Perry, and Tim Keller) to ask “FUBU”, Nike, Anheuser-Busch/MillerCoors/Pabst Brewing, Sean John, “Apple Bottom Jeans” [Nelly], “G-Unit” [50Cent], “Dereon” [Beyounce], “Rocawear” [Jay-Z], etc. if there is a lack of disposable dollars among urban blacks (& Latinos). I’d venture to say they’d all disagree with the notion. btw…I’d be willing to venture that not one of these enjoyed less than $500 to $600 million in sales last year, primarily to urban blacks & Latinos.

    The need is to learn to diversify their environment/lives and reject the cultural identity deception Satan has employed among us that has led to isolation &/or separation.
    Additionally, they need to abandon the silly notion that a ministry needs to make special provisions for them because they are somehow “disadvantaged”. I would note that this smacks of the racism I mentioned; that suttle “Po lil black boy jest kant make it witout massah’s hellp’. It’s the “Messiah Complex” which denies black/Latinos potential to overcome or God’s ability to provide as He does for whites. Why is it somehow unfair or unrealistic for blacks and Latinos to go “outside their communities” to raise funds to do ministry “inside their communities” and yet fine for all other missionaries to raise money in America to do ministry in poverty stricken areas to which they minister? Why the different standard? If it’s acceptable for them it should be just as acceptable for those involved in ministry here as well.
    I’m afraid you’ve been duped like so many others because their hearts get in the way of their minds. I, as a Christian who is black, working and raising funds for a national ministry (& having raised funds for 1 other ministry for which I worked, as well as having founded & raised funds to operate my own independent ministry organization to ex-prisoners), resent the number of insinuations & inferences that render me as less competent than my white brethren; as I do the notion that God cannot provide for the call on my life as He does for theirs.
    Thanks again, for I appreciate your heart, I’d just prefer it was ruled by your ‘Head’.
    Ron Greer, McKinney, TX

    1. Ron,

      I think you share a good caution that solutions to this issue should not come out of a place of paternalism. As the book, “When Helping Hurts” emphasizes and you also share, people seeking to help can often do more harm than good.

      In my article I don’t address any of the causes of disproportionate wealth between majority and minority communities, that’s beyond my area of expertise. I’m simply stating that since disproportionate wealth is a fact in current day America we ought to take that into consideration as we seek to fund our ministries in equitable ways.

      At one point in your comment you state that you “resent the number of insinuations & inferences that render me as less competent than my white brethren”. I would be interested to know where in the article I was perceived as saying that. I would definitely want to apologize for that. My heart, as you noted, is one of wanting to highlight the situation. In reality, I think ethnic minority fundraisers have done a heroic job given they start from such a different place. That as many as have raised full support for so long is a testament to their skills at fundraising and the grace of God.

      Finally, I would hope that if we come to different conclusions on this topic it would be because we’re both thinking men who see the world differently, not because one of us has been duped by his heart.

  15. Oh, I forgot to apologize up front regarding the length of my comments. Forgive me. There is so much more to say but time & space are limited for the matter. Thanks again.

  16. Eric,

    this is a great article and contains info that has influenced me over the past decade to change the funding model for our organization. No one is on full support anymore here. We have had to change the funding structure of the organization in order to not be a white org. It’s meant looking for alternative revenue streams, changing the mindset of our donors and board members among other things. It’s meant that we have to be content with slower growth, which has proven to be a good thing over time.

    Joel Hamernick
    Executive Director
    Sunshine Gospel Ministries, Chicago

    1. Joel,

      Thank you so much for commenting. It is encouraging to hear how you’ve wrestled with these issues and taken action. It shows an incredible nerve to make the tough choices necessary to see these changes. My respect for you (and your donors and board) is through the roof.

      I’m also struck by your statement “we have to be content with slower growth, which has proven to be a good thing over time”. I think this is one of the key points (and I hope to cover it in my next post).

      I’d love to hear more about not only what kinds of changes y’all have made, but the reasons why you did so and what compelled you to take action. I’ll send you an email to touch base.

      Thanks again for sharing your story.

  17. This is so difficult, mostly because I can see both sides of this discussion.

    I think there is at least a kernel of truth in Ron Greer’s comments – I do worry that those of us in the majority culture look at this paternally, despite our best efforts. I don’t want to be guilty of immediately assigning failure to someone based on skin pigmentation or zip code.

    However, I’ve also seen many people struggle and fall by the wayside, not because they can’t do great ministry, but because they can’t raise enough support to make their ministry viable.

    Honestly, at times it just depresses me. I’m looking forward to reading your suggestions and those of others, because we must solve this problem.

    However, the answer begins with our resolve, not just ideas.

    If a multiethnic Christian community/church/organization is a good idea, it will always be a fringe element. We will not see widespread acceptance of the importance of this value until it moves from “good idea” to “biblical imperative.” Only then we will be motivated to make structural changes to the way we’ve always done it.

    Thanks for raising these ideas.

  18. Fascinating discussion. I direct the North American operations of a multi-national Christian non-profit organization with 3 full-time white guys in the home office and more than 150 full-time indigenous workers in Cambodia, Thailand and India.

    We’ve “solved” this problem by simply paying all of our staff a salary. None of them has to raise any funds at all, at least for their own pay.

    In our early days, this brought us into conflict with one of the denominations we partnered with. They felt very strongly that paying indigenous staff with money raised by Westerners would inevitably lead to unhealthy dependencies.

    We asserted early on that each of us should bring to the table that which we were best suited to bring: the Westerners brought access to capital and certain logistical and communication capabilities, and the Asians brought the really important stuff — cultural and linguistic knowledge and insights, spiritual authority, community leadership and the ability to actually get stuff done.

    In short, we as white guys in America have access to money, but not much else; our native leaders and staff have everything OTHER than money. Why should we try to make them do that which WE were gifted to do? And why would we try to do in THEIR culture what they have been equipped to accomplish?

    It doesn’t seem like rocket surgery to me. But the denomination couldn’t believe that we would even consider paying, say, a Thai Hilltribe worker to WORK instead of encouraging them to raise funds from their own impoverished communities.

    At any rate, we and the denomination each decided to pursue our own model. 10 years later, I sure like our results a lot better. We’ve been able to hire people based on their expertise in practical ministry, not efficiency in fundraising. Our staff can work full time for us and not have to worry about fundraising. We’ve been able to do things in 6 months that have taken other people 6 years because we’re willing to free ourselves from non-Biblical (I didn’t say UN-Biblical, but I’d be willing to make that argument as well) dependency narratives that dishonor national staff by implying that they’re greedy or incompetent when they simply want what everyone wants — to get paid an honest wage for an honest day’s work.

    What was most galling for me is how stridently the self-funding model was defended by relatively wealthy pastors and church administrators who were paid by… wait for it… salary.

    As this relates to U.S. based ministries and American minorities, I think we need a sea change in our ineffective and often-harmful funding policies. Donors need to support organizations’ operational needs and stop looking at the lowest possible admin number as the chief measure of organization’s “bang for buck.” And organizations need to suck it up and decide to pay everyone a fair wage. If the white guys in the org are better at raising money, hire them (or even incentivize them with bonuses and percentages) to raise the money to pay for the others’ salary.

    Imagine how much more effective para-churches and non-profits would be if everyone was able to show up at 9 am every morning and work all day on the mission, not on raising one’s personal salary?

  19. Wow, great article. I attend a Japanese/American church with my husband and we are in a ministry where we must raise support. We have been fundraising for 5 years and are at 60%. When the pastor preached on giving, he said he was going to support us and encouraged others. Then we set up a booth and many came to support us. I knew my husband would not be comfortable asking people individually, but with the Pastor’s endorsement, many came. My husband is Japanese and he will not ask people for support because he says it is not done, you never talk of money. I do not understand this. I find it a great privilege to give to others in ministry and I enjoy others asking and making me pray over it.

    1. Jodi,

      Thanks for sharing some of your experiences. I think your story highlights some of the ways in which the current personal support raising model has been influence by the more direct style of American majority culture. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can cause problems when we try to use it across cultures.

      Some organizations have done a good job making the cultural translations and helping staff who raise support in more indirect settings.

      Thanks again for sharing! I pray you get to 100% soon.

  20. Great article! I’m glad people are finally starting to question, not only the fundraising models, but even the whole missions model that we have in the North American church. I won’t get into much of my experience, but I strongly disagree with the way that most churches and “parachurch” organizations deal with money, fundraising and ministry.

    (I worked and supported myself and my family in a certain Latin American country, planting churches and training rural pastors on my own, with a wife and family from that country, and myself being a different minority. I finally decided to approach a well known north american missions organization about becoming one of their missionaries. Long story short, they required almost 10 times the amount of money to be raised as what my family and I had lived on for years. When I asked, “What if I can’t raise the required amount?” The answer was, “You’ll have to move back to the U.S. to fundraise.” All my relationships were in that country, and my life had been establish there for almost a decade, some even as a teen. It made absolutely no sense.)

    1. R.

      Thank you so much for sharing. I agree with you, the issues raised in this post find their root in broader issues in the way the Church (including parachurch) views mission.

      I think we can see this as an opportunity to reflect theologically and missiologically about how we want to go about mission as the Church. The current model has worked so well for so many, but I hope we in the majority culture are able to hear our ethnic minority brothers and sisters and engage the conversation for change.

      Thanks again.

  21. I am an ethnic minority of staff w/ one of the above-mentioned parachurch ministries. We (wife, 4 children; living in the largest city in America) have been on staff, seeing the Lord provide support for 20 years…It has not been easy and, at times excruciating. However, the Call trumps the pain. We’ll rest in ease w/o pain or struggle when we get to heaven.

    Some thoughts…

    Mr. Greer spoke deeply, powerfully to the mindset and ‘spirit of lack’ that pervades minority communities AND majority communities.

    If one simply looks back on American history, as soon as people of color were allowed to live in relative peace; outside of slavery/’negotiating’ the grip of Jim Crow & America’s xenophobia, we see communities thriving with interdependence, enterprise, accountability, and achievement. There is something to be gleaned from that time in American history. Out of the forced segregation in America, the Lord was doing something beautiful: W.E.B Dubois, George Washington Carver, Dr. ML King, María Amparo Ruiz de Burton, Col. Manuel J. Fernández, Jr, etc…There is a sort of ‘social calculus’ I believe the Lord has for us to figure out with all the pieces available for succeeding (Romans 8:28). Please read the superb treatment on this matter by Shelby Steele’s book, White Guilt…

    Mr. Greer, I’m not sure the participants of this blog post by Missioeric can grasp the significance of your comments. However, much like Affirmative Action and the Great Society Programs of the 1960’s: having people of color contribute to design and execution of the programs that seek to help just might provide the empirical clarity needed to address the insidious sin of separation, partiality, discrimination, and all the other social ills in the Body of Christ that “…an unbelieving world finds unbelievable…” – Brennan Manning

    Excellent Body Work. Excellent dialogue.

    Let’s not be dismayed by differences in thought/solution. This only highlights the myriad opportunities to address these matters.

    May we lovingly, aggressively lean in to one another with a ferocious ethic of Ephesians 4 and John 17 to see the Lord’s Will done on earth, as it is in heaven…

    Let us keep our hands to the plow…

    Kingdom.

    Onward.

    Michael Sylvester
    Los Angeles, CA

    1. Michael,

      Thanks for your comment. I wholeheartedly echo your statements:

      “Let’s not be dismayed by differences in thought/solution. This only highlights the myriad opportunities to address these matters.

      May we lovingly, aggressively lean in to one another with a ferocious ethic of Ephesians 4 and John 17 to see the Lord’s Will done on earth, as it is in heaven…”

      I pray together we’ll be able to design systems and structures that propel more people into mission than ever before. May the Spirit blow us where He pleases.

  22. These are great points. I’ve often wondered what kind of example we are modeling for people in cross cultural settings, especially in the majority world were poverty is common and Christianity illegal. In these settings, ministry financed through national support is nearly impossible. How can we improve this system?

    1. Megan,

      You bring up a great point. In “closed countries”, this model is quite difficult. I pray that by listening to their experiences and engaging their creativity and innovation in helping to find solutions that we will be led to ways to improve the system.

      Our God is a creative God. May we live out the fullness of the Imago Dei on this issue.

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