Avoid these traps in missionary fund-raising and reporting

Christian workers should avoid using these manipulative techniques for fund-raising and reporting. Churches should be aware that missions presentations may not tell the whole story. Watch out for these.

#1. Emergency appeal

“If you don’t help now,  the kingdom of God will go down the tubes.” You’ll never hear a missionary say those exact words, but sometimes the impression is left that if you don’t help now a particular effort, then all is lost. It’s manipulation to lay a guilt trip on the hearers to shell out the dough. You will hear people say, “Give now or this  opportunity will be lost forever!” Urgency is good, and we need more of it, but foretelling the bleak future is a risky business.

#2. Tear-jerking

You’ve seen the photos of the dirty, bare-foot, stomach-distended children, the emotional appeals, the heart-breaking stories, the pitiable cries for help from the dark corners of the world. There is suffering out there, much of it, but don’t believe all you’re told either.

#3. Pentecost success

If you really want to impress, show mass baptisms.

“The Underanians are converting by the hundreds every day! A kadzillion churches are being established every month! On our two-week trip (including three days of travel, two days of sight-seeing, and one day in bed sick as a dog) we baptized 4,732 souls whom we left to fend for themselves. We must send more help! Contribute today!”

Yeah, right. Go back next year and see how many of those are still faithful. There is that soul who hearing the gospel the first time will follow Jesus to the end. Many, however, require a process, often extended, in order to come to faith, one in which a friend accompanies them.

Some mission efforts, among them not a few short-term, are little more than a dip trip. Get ’em in the water and show the folks back home.

One suspects that mission reports and appeals tend to reflect the character of the work done on the field. By their PowerPoints you shall know them.

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