Missions & Money

Five Stones Global, Missions & Money

Numerous missiologists and practitioners have voiced their concerns about the effects foreign money can have in the global mission context.

Missiologist Van Rheenen describes five potential problems money can bring in the work of missions—all of which are highly interconnected. Van Rheenen summarizes these concerns:

Money Can Hinder Missions By:

1. Creating unhealthy dependency

2. Controlling churches which should be self-supporting

3. Creating jealously between those supported by the West and those not supported

4. Unknowingly attracting leeches and con-men who hope for benefits, support, or a chance to study abroad

5. Over-support of missionaries who physically separate themselves from the people among whom they hope to minister (2000, p. 37)

Missiologist Hesselgrave captures the essence of the problems that foreign money can have on mission-established churches: “We have reached the point at which almost every facet of the American missionary enterprise is significantly impacted by money, money, and money” (2005, p. 229).

Additionally, the following author’s statements reflect the critical issues facing foreign dependency on western money.

[su_testimonial name=”Jean Johnson” photo=”/wp-content/uploads/Jean-Johnson.jpg” company=”Five Stones Global Missionary & Coach”]Jean Johnson, a missionary to Cambodia for 16 years, states, “Throughout my missionary experience I have seen the harm money can do to the church of Jesus . . . many people have been led to believe that Christianity requires lots of ‘stuff’ and lots of money”
(2012, p. 30).[/su_testimonial] [su_testimonial name=”Dr. Robert Reese” photo=”/wp-content/uploads/Robert-Reese.jpg” company=”Five Stones Global Coach Associate”]Dr. Robert Reese, with three decades of missionary experience in Zimbabwe, writes, “Despite repeated calls by missionary researchers and by African leaders for self-supporting indigenous churches, dependency remains endemic” (2005, p. 2).[/su_testimonial] [su_testimonial name=”Peter Greer” photo=”/wp-content/uploads/Peter-Geer.jpg” company=”President and CEO, Hope International”]According to microfinance specialists Peter Greer and Phil Smith, “Many churches are beginning to realize that their international assistance has built churches, trained pastors, and fed the poor . . . and some how created dependency from which there is no way out” (2009, p. 69).[/su_testimonial]

Arguello, V. (2012). Exploring The Relationship Between Learner Autonomy and Sustainability in Global Missions: A Case Study of Kenyan Leaders. ProQuest, UMI: 3532751.

Greer, P., & Smith, P. (2009). The poor will be glad: Joining the revolution to lift the world out of poverty. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Hesselgrave, D. (2005). Paradigms in conflict. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel.

Johnson, J. (2012). We are not the hero: Missionary’s guide for sharing Christ not a culture of dependency. Sisters, OR: Deep River Books.

Reese, R. (2005). Dependency and its impact on churches related to the Baptist Convention of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Christian Fellowship (Doctoral dissertation).

Van Rheenen, G. (2000). Money and missions. Monthly Missiological Reflection, 2, 13-15.