Check out these posts:
The discussion began on the blog for VOMCanada
Arnau van Wyngaard at missions issues gives a two post evaluation of Schwarz’s book
No doubt, countless other missionaries and missionary organizations have thought through and are thinking through these issues. However, each of us, and our churches, have to decide how we are going to let our consciences be affected by our giving or withdrawal of giving. I believe that financial dependency can be created and that this can hinder the growth of the church. I also believe that failure to provide for our brothers and sisters in need can also hinder the growth of the church. But I think one thing that needs to be considered by all parties involved is giving with NO STRINGS ATTACHED. This is what my friend Arnau is saying on his blog. I think ministries like Voice of the Martyrs would benefit from this approach. Very importantly, it gives freedom to both the giver and the receiver. And, ultimately, it honors Jesus who said, “Do not let your right hand know what your left hand is doing!”
Giving is not an investment that we should expect a return on. If so, I think we have received our reward in full. Rather, giving is to be done fully and cheerfully without any expectation of return. Jesus said to lend without expecting anything in return. In the west, we have become so portfolio driven that unless we have some sort of tangible results or unless we can force someone to give us an accounting for the fruitfulness of our investment, then we should put our money where the return is greater. Note, I am not saying that financially accountability is wrong. I am saying that judging the effectiveness of a financial gift by the number of ministries started or the number of converts won is trying to fulfill a selfish longing for visible results. Our fruit is in heaven, not on earth. Let it be! If God led to you to give, let him take care of the fruit. We in the West claim, “well, its just common sense to put our money where there is the most in return.” Who is in charge in that paradigm? The giver, or God? Let us let go of our money. Give it wholeheartedly as if God is the one leading us to give. And let it go! Cut the strings. Where then will dependency be?
You say, but in the past, we created rice Christians, and had corrupt peddlers of the gospel. True. But who was in the drivers seat? The Western missionary. What if the local church was in the drivers seat? Then we might have a more biblical type of accountability. Perhaps I am being a little idealistic here, but I believe that one of the problems facing missions today is the sense of superiority that missionaries carry with them subconsciously. A sense that we must repent of and consciously try to discern the deep roots of it in our hearts. Though scripture says, “Money is the root of all evil,” is does not say that money in and of itself is evil. Otherwise, return your paychecks. No longer be fully supported. Work with your own hands–Those who do not work, do not eat! If you can take a full paycheck with a clear conscience, then you might reconsider what you call creating dependency. Cut the strings!!! Denominations, Cut the Strings! Missionaries, let them loose! Churches, work together! May the unity of Christ’s body be seen once more!