Why 100 percent?

Rationale for requiring 100% financial support before departure

EMM requires that missionaries have identified enough financial partners to have 100% of budgeted financial support in hand or pledged before departure to the field. Why?

Benefits to the missionary
  1. Full financial support indicates a solid network of partners in mission committed to providing spiritual, relational, and financial support. 

    “Prayer support is closely linked to financial support. Most often those who give are those who pray” (Dr. Paul Johnson, More Than Money, More Than Faith, p. 141).

  2. Full financial support gives missionaries freedom to concentrate on field ministry when they reach their place of service, without the background stress of continuing to find and develop financial partners. Although an MST can help to find and develop financial partners, this work is much harder without the presence of the missionary.

  3. Full financial support communicates to the missionary and to others that missionaries are “laborers worthy of [their] hire” (Jesus in Luke 10:7). They are not volunteers or laborers unworthy to receive the full modest wage included in missionary budgets.

  4. Full financial support allows missionaries to begin from a position of strength rather than weakness.

    “Going to another country, culture, and language to communicate profound spiritual truth and live an exemplary Christian life is challenge enough without having to deal with the consequences of inadequate financial resources. Let’s ask ourselves the question: Should missionaries be sent to spiritual warfare from a position of weakness, or strength?" (Dr. Paul Johnson, More Than Money, More Than Faith, pp. 140-141).

  5. Full financial support often serves as validation or confirmation of a missionary’s call. It can also serve as a clear indicator of God’s possible timing.

  6. Waiting for/working toward 100% financial often results in valuable molding and shaping of the missionary’s character and spirituality.

Benefits to the sending partners
  1. Sending partners understand the necessity and value of their role in the worker’s ministry. A missionary can’t leave until he has an adequate base of mission partners.

  2. MSTs are protected from the difficult and sometimes demoralizing task of raising additional support without the presence of the missionary (the vision carrier).

  3. The MST has a sense of being successful in sending the worker. Without full support in place, MST members live with a sense of unfinished work and the stress of working in deficit mode. This reduces the joy of serving on an MST.

  4. When raising financial support is taken care of, the MST and others can focus on prayer and pastoral/relational care.

Benefits to the mission agency
  1. Mission agency staff can give more spiritual, strategic, and relational support to missionaries on the field when they don’t need to spend time dealing with deficits in the accounts of missionaries who left without 100% financial support.

  2. The MST coach can focus on resourcing the MSTs in a positive way rather than spending a lot of time helping MSTs to resolve deficit situations.

  3. More program funds are available if fewer general mission fund dollars are needed to resolve deficits in missionary support accounts.

Common questions re: requiring 100% support before departure
  1. Aren’t you denying me the opportunity to exercise faith that God will provide?

    Not at all! It takes plenty of faith to believe that God will provide enough financial partners to meet 100% of your financial support needs. Requiring faith on the front end of a mission assignment is great preparation for what lies ahead.

  2. Couldn’t this missionary be providing vital service on the field during the time it will take for the rest of the money to come in?

    A missionary could be serving on the field during the time it takes for the rest of his financial support to be raised. But it’s often a short-term win with a large long-term price tag. Costs connected to sending a missionary without full funding may include:
    • financial stress for missionaries
    • missionaries leaving the field earlier than planned to raise funds
    • MST members struggling to raise support without the presence of the missionary
    • MST members who don’t have a positive experience and who are unlikely to volunteer again
    • less time for the MST coach to resource MSTs re: spiritual and relational care of missionaries
    • serious deficits in missionary support accounts that have to be covered out of other EMM funds