There are different ways to answer the question in the title of this post: How much organization and administration is necessary to finance global missions? Different denominations and church organizations have answered this question in different ways, but most of the answers focus on some type of organization with administrative requirements, as evidenced by the proliferation of missions boards and sending organizations.
However, Felicity at “Simply Church” offers a different perspective in her post “How are simple/organic churches financing mission?”
When I first read the title of her post, I was expecting a “how to” post with examples explaining what different groups are doing. But, that is NOT what her post is about.
Instead, Felicity cites results from a doctoral dissertation which compared the giving patterns and missions financing patterns of different churches. Here are some of the findings:
Of those surveyed, 51.6% of those involved in organic/simple church gave 11%-25% of their income to charity, and 7.5% gave greater than 25%. In other words, almost 60% of people are giving more than a tithe. (The typical American Christian gives less than 3%.)
The money spent on the internal administration of simple/organic churches is very low: 59.1% of the participant’s house/simple church spent less than 1% of their total annual proceeds on internal needs, and 15.1% spent 2%-5%. In other words, more than 70% say their simple church spends less than 5% on administration costs. (The typical institutional church spends 85% of all church activity and funds directly toward the internal operations of the congregation, such as staff salaries, building payments, utility and operating expenses.)
People in simple/organic churches are giving more, but their churches are spending less on internal needs, so more money is made available for Kingdom purposes. Their money goes towards benevolence and missions.
Moving away from the “traditional,” “institutional,” “simple,” and “organic” labels for a moment, these results raise some good questions.
For example, are we actually helping missions activity by requiring those activities and individuals to be funded through a missions organization? Is it actually possible for us to spend less on ourselves (funding our programs, our meeting locations, our leaders, etc.) in order to give more money to help those in need and to help those traveling from place to place to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ?
What other questions do these results raise?