I have had two significant conversations with pastors in the last couple of weeks. Both conversations were related generally to short-term missions and specifically concerned finances for this type of ministry.
Let me explain.
In one of those conversations I was talking with a pastor about bringing some of his people to serve alongside our ministries in Oaxaca. He was concerned about the price and before they had even started down the road to discover their support and raise funding for their mission, was asking for us to provide scholarships to his people.
He said the cost was too high.
It reminded me of the time I was speaking at an inner city Los Angeles church and the youth leader said his students couldn’t afford to pay $250.00 for a week of ministry. When I mentioned that most of his students were wearing $100.00 Air Jordans and expensive designer clothes, he admitted that maybe they could afford the cost if they had the right priorities.
The second conversation was completely different. The pastor asked me why I did not charge churches when I visit them to help recruit or train their students. I replied that I would love to do that, but that many churches are reluctant to pay to cover those expenses.
And then he asked me the $64,000 question.
Dave he said, do you really want to serve with people who are trying to low ball you?
I have to admit, those two conversations were a struggle for me, because I want to offer those scholarships, but there is a cost to do ministry. Unfortunately, many do not want to pay that cost.
A few years back, a major US mission organization had a poll on its web site asking people what was the most important factor in choosing a mission location or mission organization. The number one priority was price.
Yes, you read that correctly. More important than relationship, integrity of the organization, or even the people with whom you might serve, was money.
It seems to me that there is something wrong when money becomes the primary determining factor for our ministries.
I understand that money can be a struggle for any church, individual, or group participating in short-term mission, but if that is our primary determinant, where is the faith in that?
What are your thoughts?