Several months ago I created a survey where people could ask anonymous questions about Missionary life. People responded with many excellent questions, today I answer the question...
Are you as a missionary accountable to anyone for large purchases since you live on support?
The quick answer to your question is YES. Read on to learn why and how we are accountable….
When I started full time ministry 19 years ago, as a youth Pastor, my lead Pastor encouraged us to keep time records even though the church did not require them of us. These time records were very helpful to me as I looked back each month and saw where I was spending my time. Also, if a church member or deacon ever had a question about how I used my time I would be able to look though my time records with them and explain where I was spending my time. Ever since these early days in ministry I have recognized the importance of accountability.
How am I held accountable for how I spend my time and money
My wife and I are part of a larger team of YWAM missionaries that hold us accountable.
We currently lead the national office for YWAM in Fiji. We have about 8 people that work in our office and we all meet together at least 2 times every week to share what we are working on and how we are spending our time. Working together in team means that there is a group of people that knows exactly what you are doing and how you are using your money.
We regularly submit our budget and financial information to our supporters.
When we are visiting with supporters we openly discuss our finances and willingly share our budget/spending with anyone who asks. In the past we have even included a copy of our annual budget in our newsletters that we send to our supporters. We also sit down with 2 or 3 of our supporters every year and have an in-depth look through our books and openly discuss where we are spending our time/money and how much we budgeting for the future.
YWAM leadership and training
My wife and I regularly attend workshops and other seminars where we learn about accountability and its importance. Although YWAM has a decentralized leadership structure, accountability is very important to YWAM. At leadership training events, accountability is a common subject and there are lots of resources for people to find help. At many of these events we openly discuss our ministry with YWAM leaders who ask us the “tough questions” and help to hold us accountable to our missionary calling.
YWAM staff need to be very intentional to be accountable for their finances and how they spend their money. To many YWAM missionaries and staff stumble and fall because of lack of accountability.
Communication and visiting with supporters
I believe that we are an extension of the local church when we are working overseas as missionaries. That means that when we return to our home country (Canada 😊) on furlough we make an effort to share in all of our supporting churches what we are doing. We also spend as much time as possible with our supporters showing pictures, telling stories and answering questions about what we are doing as missionaries.
We ask people to pray and give us counsel for large purchases and/or decisions
Several times each year we need to make major decisions for a variety of things. For example we may be asked to travel to another country to teach or help with a project (we always pay our own airfare and travel expenses) or we may be choosing a new office to rent. In each of these circumstances we will email a group of our supporters, that we believe have a good relationship with God, and ask them to pray. As each person emails us back we consider what they have to say and see if it lines up with what we think that God is saying before we make a decision.
When Jesus was on earth He often said that if we are faithful with small things then God will trust us with big things. I believe that how we spend our time and finances is one way that God can see if He can trust us with bigger things.
Thank you so much to all of our friends that love us enough to keep us accountable!
This is a continuation of a blog series where I answer questions that people asked anonymously about missionary life. To see the original survey or to ask your own questions click here.