Why Would I Say No To a Missionary?

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I had a world changing meeting at Cracker Barrel this morning.  I had the privilege to sit down with a young couple committed to reaching college students for Christ.  Their story was like many other missionaries’.  God has called them to make a difference in a specific part of our world, and they are in the process of working full time in their ministry and are looking to identify potential financial backers who will give regularly. They were asking me and my family to pray about becoming a financial and prayer partner.  The answer is yes.  It is always yes.  Why would I say no to a missionary?  Old kingdom guys like me are praying for young kingdom guys like them to take up the torch and do the work of Christ.


Old kingdom guys like me are praying for young kingdom guys like them to take up the torch and do the work of Christ.


Like many believers, I have a reserve of money that I give to kingdom causes (church, missions, community) every year.  Ultimately, all of my money is the Lord’s, and I look to Him to help me direct my giving to the places He wants me to invest.  Though it may not be a big pot of money by some standards, it is enough that I can invest some into a new ministry.  The fact that someone would reach out to me and want to share their ministry with me might very well be an opportunity from the Lord!

Even a household with the average American wage should have around $4000 a year to invest in Kingdom endeavors if they tithe, which is a Biblical concept.


$50,000            Annual Gross Income

$10,000             Minus Taxes (20%)

$40,000            Net Income

x      10%          A Biblical Tithe (10%)

$4,000               Annual Tithe of Net


I went to a conference a few years ago where there were a lot of national directors for many mission agencies, and they were talking about the greatest needs of the World Christian Movement. The top two they mentioned were: 1) We need workers to go into full time ministry, and 2) We need the Body of Christ to see its responsibility to financially back these workers.


Romans 10:14-15 says it this way:

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Emphasis mine.)


It is time for us, as the Body of Christ, to take seriously our financial responsibility to send these workers to the field that God has called them to.  One of the greatest things we do with our finances is to make sure that Kingdom workers have all the resources they need to do God’s work.

One of the greatest things we do with our finances is to make sure that Kingdom workers have all the resources they need to do God’s work.

In this day and age, we honor the military folks who protect us and keep us safe.  As a country, we make sure they have all they need to do their job.  In like manner, Christians need to make sure that our Kingdom workers (church leaders and missionaries) have what they need to represent Christ to the ends of the earth.

Practical Application

Next time a kingdom worker asks you to meet with them to tell you about what God is asking them to do, say yes.  Just meeting with them, in and of itself, will be an encouragement.  If they ask you to give, pray about giving to them.  Really ask the Lord if He would have you invest a little of His money, which flows through you, towards this worker.  We have a great privilege to connect with those who are on the front lines, and we owe it to them to do what we can to send them on their way encouraged that there are people like us who are excited to be involved in the work of the King.  Who knows– your partnership might be the most rewarding thing you do with some of your giving this year.


Tim Howington is Executive Vice President for Freedom 5:one and is one of our Financial Life Coaches.  He lives with his wife, Terri, and son, Josh, in Rogers, Arkansas.

5 thoughts on “Why Would I Say No To a Missionary?

  1. I go to a church where I am getting dozens of these invitations to meet and provide support to different “missionaries”—many at the college level in Chi-alpha ministries. We have already stretched our giving to several different monthly commitments for churches & charities. We can’t possibly meet and/or give to all these folks. It isn’t realistic. What is your advice here?


  2. Leah, this a great question. In fact donor fatigue is a challenge that many of us face. My advice is to address it head on. It sounds like you enjoy giving to missionaries so why not open the funnel a bit. I have have been raising support for over 20 years and the perfect world for the missionary is to have people commit monthly but as you have stated this becomes unrealistic for the donor after a bit. Especially if you are also an active donor in your church. As a donor myself this is has been frustrating and can be discouraging for the missionary if they are always dealing with people who either won’t meet with them or are always saying no. This a lose/lose situation. So a few years ago, I changed the way my family approached this. As missionaries contacted us- we meet with them, ask the Lord if this a ministry we should support and if so we add them to the “missionary train”. Depending on how the Lord leads we might support them monthly but some we give more sporadically.

    Let me illustrate, we currently are supporting 15 missionary families but not monthly. And there is always room for one more. Each month we start at the top of the list and give a gift to as many missionaries as we have money available (currently we have a $50 train going so gift is $50), when we run out of money we stop giving. We pray that God will provide the needs of the remaining folks on our list and wait till the next month where we pick up where we left off. This accomplishes a few things

    1) we get to encourage the missionary… we are an active partner in their ministry and their support. Here is a missionary secret most people don’t know- the missionary is not depending on you or me to take care of their needs. They are looking to God. So, anyone who values them and their ministry and are standing with them in prayer and finance is a blessing. Even if it is a small part of their overall budget. Ultimately we, like the missionary, are looking to God to provide their needs and we are playing just a little part

    2) we get to participate vicariously in their ministry. I always tell the missionaries we love to support missions because while we are sleeping they are working and our money and prayer are at work.

    3) not being able to make it through our train each month makes me more conscious of the needs of our missionary families which helps me pray for them and their needs more.

    Hope that Helps

    Tim Howington


    1. Thanks, Tim. I like the train idea. I’ll be honest in that, while I’m grateful for missionaries and support their cause, my heart and passion has always revolved around our local causes:Teen Challenge Center, Pregnancy Resource Center, etc. I’m not a finance expert, so I’m sure we could handle money a little better. Regardless of the “mission”, I really like the money train idea and looking forward to sharing and implementing it.


  3. Our ministry helps with families with personal finances and as we address the idea of giving we use a two prong approach 1) Ask God what He wants you to give 2) Ask God where He wants you to give… I find that heart and passion play a big part in direction of where to give… God uses our passions to figure out where to give.. at the end of the day the hope is to be a cheerful giver who has listened to the Lord’s guidance as to where you are to advance the kingdom…. thanks for sharing…


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