Funding in Other Cultures

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There are two mantras I see consistently all over the world when encouraging those in other cultures toward raising financial support to sustain themselves in ministry.

1. “But brother, you do not understand. Ours is a poor country. We do not have the resources for such giving.”

2. “But brother, you do not understand. The church and Christians in our country don’t know how to give. Giving is not part of the ethos in our churches or among our people. Asking for such financial help is something foreign and unusual in our context.”

Let’s take them one at a time.

1. Being in personal financial or physical need is never an excuse in the bible for people not giving. Rather, what we actually see is giving being encouraged even in extreme poverty (Luke 21:4, II Corinthians 8:2).

Let’s be theoretical for a moment. Consider that if a person commits to living on lifestyle of the culture around them, it would take just ten others giving 10% of their resources for one to be supported. That’s all. Or it would take 20 giving units at 5% to support one. What this means is there is virtually no excuse for the vast majority of environments around the world for people to give and people to be sustained in ministry provided those being sustained are doing so at the same standard of living as those around them.

Where this construct breaks down is when such people being supported leave their own culture and move into another culture, country or nation. Then costs and the amount needed to live, travel and minister has the potential to skyrocket. In such a scenario, there is a greater need for creative and alternative means of funding particularly if they go to cultures more affluent then their own.

2. It is true that a “culture of generosity” does not automatically exist wherever the Christian movement has gone. Furthermore, an ethos that gives generously toward the extension of the gospel into other cultures and lands is even less the norm. Consequently, it can be an uphill slug to generate financial support via giving in such settings.

However, while it may take longer, it may be part of God’s good plan for the people in that setting to be moved toward a more biblical, engaged use of their resources. In other words, the actual process of educating people about their giving responsibilities serves a prophetic function. It becomes a ministry—by those apostolically gifted individuals who are raising the money—to the
Church at large. It helps to move the followers of Jesus in that context toward a more biblical, generous, and responsible world-view regarding the use of their resources, not matter how meager their resources may be.

An organization that does a good job around the world addressing these two issues is International Steward.

3 Responses to “Funding in Other Cultures”

  1. David Malouf Says:

    I can’t help but comment after reading this and the previous post. As one living on raised monies, I think I understand a bit of what you’re writing/thinking about.

    So let me throw in a little mixing… Whenever we run against these kinds of obstacles, we are left with the “is God saying ‘no’” issue. A faith-question. Never easy, as I’m sure you know. Is the obstacle a shut(ing) door is God’s direct action to stop/redirect.

    What if what is being seen is more flatly a response to more than just the situation at-hand? What if people are simply tired of funding something THEY don’t believe in? We are left with an interesting situation: the one who wants to go who thinks God is cleary stating “Go” and the one who has the resources (10%, 5%, etc.) but doesn’t think God is telling this other person to “Go.”

    Perhaps these issues are not always generosity as much as they are community (i.e. not necessarily one or possibly a both)? The significant drawback to the later of the two is that it takes a LOT longer to fix!!

    Some thoughts,
    David Malouf
    Phoenix, Arizona

  2. Sam Says:

    David: Thanks for the thoughts. You raise some very good points. A few thoughts in response:

    1. “Going” definitely needs to be discerned by more than an individual. It takes a community to confirm and to send (Acts 13).

    2. In my support raising experience, my responsiblity is to find those people whom God is uniquely communicating with that they should partner with me. The real issue is to help them hear from God and respond, not to respond to me because I’m persurasive.

    3. If it appears I cannot find enough people to participate financially with me, then it seems I have three options: first, I haven’t really worked at it. I may need more help, coaching or accountability. Secondly, this may be God’s way of speaking, through the community, that I shouldn’t go. Lastly, it may mean that I need to consider alternative or supplimental means of funding.

    You mentioned that you are “living on raised monies.” What do you do? Also, there was a family in Phoenix that I ran into years ago with your last name who were in the development/home building business. You part of that clan?

    PS: Great family pic on your blog …nice kids!

  3. David Malouf Says:

    I see we agree on much! Thank you for taking the time to clarify. (and I apologize for my tardy response here!).

    I am currently underway to Seattle, WA, to be a part of the beginning of a U.S. team for OC International ( So we’re “living like a missionary” in the financial realm—all raised support.

    My family IS one of two development/building Maloufs here in Phoenix. My family’s line started with Grant Malouf and continued with his two boys, Bob (my dad) and Rick (my uncle)—they are married to Mary and Joan, respectively. My only sibling/older brother Mark is also a builder here in Phoenix. All are wonderful Believers and very good builders and developers! It’s a real treat to have such an incredible heritage in this city. I’m the only one that stayed out of the business – I’ve been a pastor for most of my vocational life.

    Yes, I married well and have wonderful kids by means of an exceptional wife!!


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