This is probably one of the most common myths we encounter while traveling around and speaking in churches. Another way to put this myth would be the belief that when missionaries are raising support (a.k.a. “on deputation”), they are just going around to friends and churches asking people to give them money. We really started encountering this belief once we transitioned from being missionary candidates in training to being missionaries headed to the mission field. Once we officially entered the phase known as “deputation”, or “ministry partnership development” or whatever you want to call it, some people began to avoid us like the plague, as if the fact that we were getting ready to go to the field meant that we were going to be begging every person we knew to sign on the dotted line and commit to giving us half their income each month.
To be honest with you, we don’t go around begging people for money. In fact, most of the time, we don’t even mention that we need financial support in order to live on the mission field. If people ask “do you need support?” we answer them, but we’re not going around shoving offering plates in people’s faces or trying to manipulate people into giving money to us. For us, it’s often hard to talk about even needing support because we’ve encountered people who believe that missionaries on deputation are just begging people for money, and that’s not at all how we want to come across. I don’t deny that there may be missionaries out there who beg people for money, but the vast majority of missionaries that I know don’t.
However, one thing God has been challenging Josiah and me with recently is that we shouldn’t be afraid of letting people know that we do need financial support. If this whole venture (being missionaries in Papua New Guinea) were about us, then it would be selfish to ask people to partner with us financially. But going to PNG as missionaries isn’t about us, it’s about God and about spreading His glory among the unreached. Reaching the unreached is on God’s heart, and He’s just given us the privilege of being a part of what He’s doing. Beyond that, He gives churches and believers here in the U.S. (and elsewhere) the privilege of being involved in what He’s doing in Papua New Guinea. God funds His work through His people giving generously and sacrificially. Believers here in the U.S. have the privilege and opportunity to be a part of what God is doing through giving, praying, encouraging, being our friends, etc. This is not about us needing money, it’s about God bringing the unreached to Himself. We get to be a part of what God is doing through being ones who are going, and you get to be a part through sending (and going). And God is the One who gets all the glory. 1 Corinthians 3:7 “So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” So, “Go, Send, or Disobey” – John Piper
Read our previous Missionary Myths