Missionary appointees have a problem with the support raising process. I get that. It feels unnatural, even demeaning. “Missionary life will not feel unnatural or demeaning,” said no one! Missionary life is unnatural. It can often be humbling, if not downright humiliating. But I digress …
So many missionaries mistakenly, unconsciously sometimes, adopt what they think is the George Mueller practice of not telling anyone their specific financial needs. They are mistaking George Meuller. They are embracing principles that George Mueller himself discouraged anyone else from taking. I respect Mueller for who he was and his principles. However, I do not appreciate a Muellerianism based on wrong assumptions.
George Mueller is a legitimate Christian hero. He was Plymouth Brethren, which is part of my own background. He was primarily a teaching Elder in his own assembly and the leader and spokesperson for the orphanage ministry at Bristol.
My problem is how people glorify his individual personal position on finances which, by his own admission, was adopted due to his problem with money. Also, people (and biographers!) put him into the category of “missionary” which he was not. People don’t realize that GM specifically discouraged people from adopting his “ask God only” and “don’t give any specific details of financial needs” principles.
He was also a Christian leader of his own culture and era. In this time and in his circles, it was considered poor form to freely initiate financial information and needs. Government regulations about “non-profit charities” were very different than America today. It was ungallant to disclose financial concerns in a public way, breaking a sense of propriety. In his day, NOT telling those details was in more keeping with the British culture and even sub-culture among Christians and PB Assemblies of his day.
So, I say:
don’t adopt his specific personalized principles of non-disclosure
do adopt his great and regular communication methods
don’t lock yourself in to NEVER sharing financial details
do pay attention to your local Christian culture and era, e.g. – churches and Christians today expect more details and information in order to make an informed decision about support
David C. MeadeDavid C. Meade has been the founder, C-level officer, and consultant for a number of non-profit organizations. He has nearly fifty years of experience with church planting, pioneering field ministry among UPGs, and leadership in international and domestic NGOs. He has a strong biblical local-church-centric ministry philosophy and commitments, serving as an international outreach leader, pastor, and elder in local churches throughout his adult life. He loves teaching and mentoring church leaders and global workers preparing for service to meet the greatest need of the neediest places on earth.
David is an international business consultant, NGO executive, and international leadership trainer. He has a weekly podcast and has authored hundreds of insightful and practical blogs, articles, and several books. David is a well-received speaker and teacher. His experience in non-profit leadership and international NGOs informs his counsel for leaders and workers in challenging areas of service, analyzing corporate strategies, conflict resolution, crisis management, and event leadership. David is passionate about core values based on timeless principles, valuing people, and leadership training. He is an avid family man, reader, fisherman, and world traveler.
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