Why Give to Mission

Why give to mission banner.pngWednesday 21 February 2024 05:43

Sam Boog explores the blessing of giving in the missional context.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

Matthew 28:19-20

All of us who have had the privilege of being brought into the Kingdom of God want to share this blessing with others. It’s also clear from scripture that the Lord commands his followers to go into all the world. But this ‘going’ can take different forms: some ‘go’ themselves, and some ‘go’ by giving and enabling others to go. Both have a vital role to play, because without the givers there are no goers. Mission requires a robust partnership between givers and goers, but there is also enormous blessing for all involved.

Some give to mission by going, others go by giving

Giving to mission, motivated not by self-interest, but a desire that others come to share in the beauty of the gospel, is seen throughout the New Testament. Missional partnership is seen in 2 Corinthians 8, where Paul describes the generosity of the Macedonians in the midst of poverty and trial. However, their overflowing generosity came from a joyful heart, for as John Piper explains, it “is the overflow of joy in God that meets the needs of others.”²

The symbiotic relationship that God has established is, in fact, often also a vital step of confirmation for the missionary and a test of faith as they trust in the Lord to provide. Having to ask for support is difficult for most missionaries, as ECM missionary in Spain, James Webb explains:

It’s quite awkward asking people for finances; …it’s a very humbling process having to be reliant on people. However, it’s amazing to see how generous people are and often they are people we didn’t expect to give. There is a little old lady from my home church in England who prays for us regularly and gives abundantly. It is so humbling to know she’s providing for us here.

“to be given an opportunity to be a part of his work is humbling and a joy.”

The blessings for the giver are also abundant. Through deep and reciprocal relationships, partners get a virtually firsthand look at life on the field. Church members will inevitably grow in their understanding of sacrifice, service and faithfulness in their own lives as they hear the reports and share in the experiences of missionaries. A supporter can become familiar with navigating a new language, administrative system, road rules, eating habits and cultural norms in partnership with those working cross-culturally. 

In addition to financial support, God’s people can also tangibly affect the productivity and outcome of the labours afield through their prayers at home. James Webb continues:

We always try to remind people that they’re partnering with us through their prayers and their giving…they’re just as involved with mission work as we are because we couldn’t be here otherwise.

By enabling missionaries through prayer and financial support to share this good news, the gospel is preached and both parties are blessed. But 2 Corinthians 8:7 also reminds us that our giving to mission should be regularly reviewed:

But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

A long time ECM supporter, May Bennett says she was taught the importance of giving to mission at a young age, while an older brother and sister-in-law were serving as missionaries in Africa. But across many decades, May says her giving has taken on different forms depending on her stage in life. At one time she minded children for busy mothers and gave the money she earnt to ministry workers, but for another period she did housework directly for those who needed it.

Why give image

Giving to missions can look different depending on your situation:

A relative of mine had hoped to go to Bible college, but God had provided him with a successful business that he couldn’t leave, so he paid for another couple to go through instead.

You may be able to host a missions prayer event in your home, or you might be able to organise the event to occur in someone else’s.

If giving to field work isn’t possible, giving may include showing hospitality to missionaries while on home assignment, such as lending them a car.

Sometimes missionaries may need extra support for an immediate practical need such as a house or car, and so we should be prepared to consider at times giving above and beyond what we may give regularly. At a time when we needed to downsize, my husband and I were once able to bless a missionary family with furniture after they had to return unexpectedly from the field.

Over time, our circumstances and commitments change and so we should regularly assess our giving in light of our opportunities and the needs we are confronted with. Now in a nursing home, May still gives to missions electronically, trusting that the money will be used wisely to further the cause of Christ in the world. She says, “to be given an opportunity to be a part of his work is humbling and a joy.”

Most of all however, we must remember that we worship a God who is all sufficient and doesn’t need us to build his Kingdom. In fact, when Paul rejoiced in the Philippians’ generosity towards him (Philippians 4:10-19), he didn’t want them to think he was rejoicing because they had met his need, but that their giving was being credited to their account. The blessing of giving is primarily for the giver.

“How are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 

(Romans 10:14b-15, ESV)

He underlined that he had learned contentment in every circumstance, whether living in plenty or in want, and he trusted that the Lord would meet his needs. We know that the Lord is winning the world to himself through the work of missions, and he will always provide. The Psalmist says “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” Psalm 37:25.

The question is not ‘Will God provide?’ but ‘Will I get involved? Will I be one of the hands used as part of his provision?’²


1. The Tipping Point of Sacrificial Missions - Overflowing Joy in Jesus” Countdown Revival Seoul Korea, John Piper, May, 2017

2. Gregory Brown, 2016 “The Right Perspective On Supporting Missions” Bible.organal


Sam Boog is communications and media trained and has a particular passion for the gospel needs of Europe. She lives in western NSW with her husband and four daughters.

pray icon _orange_SQ

  • That God’s people would give generously to mission work throughout Europe, that the gospel might go out where there is less access and resources.
  • That the Lord would meet the financial needs of ECM missionaries specifically.
  • That the Lord would open the eyes of his people so that they may know the grace of giving for God’s glory.

This article appears in ECM NEWS Autumn 2024

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