75 Ways to Put Your Money to Missional Use

Missions-Catalyst-no-tagline_largeBy Shane Bennett

Money graphicLet’s say you have some money lying around. Maybe it’s, like, five whole dollars! Or, on the other end of the spectrum, let’s just suppose it’s a lot and growing every month. You feel the reality of the Jesus story in which the big guy drops some coin on his workers then takes off, leaving them to wrestle with making the most of their “talents.” Whether we have a lot or a little, don’t we want it to work for God’s kingdom?

If you want to put your money to good missional work, but wonder how, three things might guide you:

  1. The Holy Spirit may say, “Do this with your money!”
  2. Someone (sent by the Holy Spirit) may walk up to you and say, “I could use some cash.”
  3. You could read this list and get tons of great ideas.

Three caveats about this list:

  1. It’s not exhaustive. There are other good ways to spend your money. If you’re inclined to share some of yours (ideas, not money) with the rest of us, we’d be honored.
  2. I’m thinking broadly when I talk of using money in ways that are good, “missional,” and contribute to the kingdom of God. I’m also thinking how I think, likely inferior to the way you think, which will probably cause you to think about some of the items on this list, “What? That’s a dumb way to spend money!” No worries. That’s your prerogative.
  3. This is the start of a three-part summer series featuring lists! If you have a list you’d like compiled, feel free to let me know.

Also, if you’d like more info on any of these items that don’t have a link, email me and I’ll help you connect.

75 Ways to Put Your Money to Missional Use

  1. Tell your favorite missionary you’ve got their medical insurance deductible this year.
  2. Get a master’s degree in a field that will open doors internationally.
  3. Take a world missions course like Perspectives, Kairos, or Pathways.
  4. Pay for someone to take the course with you.
  5. Fly to a faraway place to encourage and pray for missionary there.
  6. Sponsor a local missionary in an area where Islam and Christianity meet.
  7. Set up a scholarship fund for students in your culture and students in another culture.
  8. Link your giving efforts with strategic prayer via Praelude2020.
  9. Pay for Bibles to be put in the hands of some of the most under-evangelized people on the planet.
  10. Sponsor a helpful training seminar in your church. How about Bridges?
  11. Give your pastor an Amazon gift card and a list of 25 missions books you’d recommend.
  12. Buy clothes and a pay for a professional photo for a young missions speaker/writer.
  13. Fund a young writer’s self-published book.
  14. Set up a stock fund ear-marked for a particular missionary’s retirement. Trade it well.
  15. Scholarship a TESOL program for a worker.
  16. Help fund a refugee care ministry in Europe or the US. Serve some Syrians.
  17. Send four bright young friends to Urbana 2015.
  18. Upgrade a mission worker’s phone. Or car!
  19. Pay for dental work for a cross-cultural worker.
  20. Find a global-minded screen writer/director with a dream and fund her movie.
  21. Capitalize a micro-loan project.
  22. Invest in a business-as-mission worker by underwriting their visa, registration, licensing, and office lease.
  23. Buy homeschooling curriculum for workers who use it. And a case of iPads?
  24. Fund a pallet of flour for a bread company to help feed starving North Koreans.
  25. Pay for surgery and rehabilitation for kids with birth defects.
  26. Fund adoptions for parents who want the kids no one else wants.
  27. Fly an international student and their best local friend back to their home country for Christmas. Or fly their mom in for a visit and insist she stay in your home.
  28. Underwrite an album of global worship songs by a mission-minded musician like Perry Lahaie.
  29. Assemble a library for a worker in Mozambique.
  30. Pay for a willing pastor to go on a vision trip to someplace where he won’t preach (just learn).
  31. Cover a week-long retreat for a cross-cultural worker.
  32. Underwrite a strategic prayer conference.
  33. Publish a beautiful prayer guide for an unengaged people group.
  34. Invest in a water treatment facility for 30,000 people who need it.
  35. Cover travel costs and a generous honorarium to get the best missions speaker you know to come to your church.
  36. Get a small gift for a worker through forafriend.com.
  37. Cover a year’s subscription to calledtogether.us for a single missionary.
  38. Tell some young buck at church that you’ll order the curriculum if he’ll lead a dozen of his buds through Operation Worldview.
  39. Buy a pair of walking shoes and use them to prayerwalk your city.
  40. Send a worker couple to a marriage seminar.
  41. Underwrite the development of a marriage seminar for an unreached people.
  42. Help launch the innovative funding site, buck4good.com.
  43. Buy sub-zero sleeping bags for people who are truly homeless. Think “warmth for the weary.”
  44. Buy and read Gary Hoag’s The Choice.
  45. Pick a local family in need and once a month send a care package based on their individual needs.
  46. Contribute to an organization rebuilding homes after a hurricane or other disaster.
  47. Purchase a life insurance policy and make your favorite mission agency the beneficiary.
  48. Buy a water filtration system each year to send to those who do not have clean water. Get a filter for your home and stop wasting resources buying bottled water.
  49. Hand out bug spray and sunscreen to homeless families.
  50. Give money to a micro-finance organization in Uganda or anywhere that gives small personal loans to help people start businesses and escape the bondage of poverty.
  51. Encourage a pastor, ministry leader, missionary, or youth worker with free use of your lake house.
  52. Buy running shoes, FitBit and a 5K entry fee for a worker friend who needs to get in shape (and wants to!)
  53. Buy sewing machines and hire someone to teach refugees to be seamstresses.
  54. Give $5 or $10 gift cards as an encouragement to someone you see serving others.
  55. Go to a local school and offer to buy school supplies for kids who need them.
  56. Pay for a child to attend church camp.
  57. Donate games, movies, comic books, or toys to a children hospital.
  58. Pay for the person behind you in a fast-food drive through.
  59. Give gift cards for gas and food, coins for vending machines, and notes of encouragement to families of children with cancer.
  60. Help a missionary pay off school debt so they can serve cross-culturally (check out the Go Fund).
  61. Plant a fruit or shade tree.
  62. Buy a bed for an orphan. See Sweet Sleep.
  63. Donate to buy some Drinkable Books.
  64. Support the venerable Operation Christmas Child.
  65. Send doctors to hard places via Doctors Without Borders.
  66. Give to those who minister to those in ministry.
  67. Freshen your breath and wardrobe when you buy from these guys: Project 7 and Sevenly.
  68. Offer to care for pets while mission teams are on the field, or pay for boarding.
  69. Fund and mentor a child or teen who wants to start a business.
  70. Donate money for food for hungry kids.
  71. Buy, assemble, and distribute hygiene kits for homeless people.
  72. Send video tech to a worker friend at the ends of the earth to help her tell great stories of God’s work in her midst.
  73. Buy and raise a few chickens.
  74. Donate a bike to help an Indian pastor see more people.
  75. Buy the supplies and hire some kids to spruce up a retired missionary’s home.

You probably have another idea, a better idea, and a better place to execute one these ideas. Please share with the rest of us (comment below).

Join me in praying that God would shower financial resources on us in huge, wonderful surprising ways. Ask him for the grace to give hugely, joyfully, and strategically toward the advance of his kingdom to the Earth.

ShaneAbout Shane Bennett

Shane has been loving Muslims and connecting people who love Jesus with Muslims for more than 20 years. He speaks like he writes – in a practical, humorous, and easy-to-relate-to way – about God’s passion to bring all peoples into his kingdom. Contact Shane to speak to your people.

12 thoughts on “75 Ways to Put Your Money to Missional Use”

  1. This is what we are doing
    Equipping pastors who serve the Lord in remote Asian areas

    The Lord has laid upon the heart of my wife, Indira, to provide bicycles to needy pastors in Asia. There are many pastors in Asia who have dedicated their lives to reaching the unreached in villages and distant remote areas with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to disciple those who accept Christ as their personal Saviour. Often, these villages are many, many kilometers away from each other. The pastors walk long distances which often takes several days to reach the different villages.

    A bicycle can significantly shorten travel time and enable the local pastors to spend more time sharing the gospel and disciplining those saved. A bicycle also assists with the transporting of tracts, Bibles, New Testaments and other necessary resources needed to help share the gospel. It also equips the pastor to be able to visit more villages, and in a shorter span of time. With local pastors struggling to meet the basic needs of the ministry and their own families, they are not able to purchase bicycles.

    Since we are unable to do the work so passionately done by the local Christians, we can be a part of the ministry in Asia by providing bicycles for as many pastors in the continent as we are able to. Indira works directly with Operation Mobilization (OM) from the various countries who ensure that the bicycles are given to pastors in need. Indira has, to date, through Operation Mobilization, purchased bicycles for a few pastors in Pakistan and India. If you, your family, your friends, church or organization would like to be a part of this exciting project by contributing a small amount every month, or making a once-off contribution towards the project, or contributing for one bicycle, please contact Indira Gilbert at [email protected]. Bicycles cost between R750 to R1000: the prices vary from country to country.

    With the contribution of fellow believers, many more pastors would be equipped to serve the Lord more effectively. 100% of money received for the project would be used solely for the purpose, and a six-monthly financial statement would be provided to all who make a regular monthly contribution of any amount.
    Joshua Gilbert
    South Africa

    PS: We send out Newsletters on The Great Commission regularly. Readers who want to receive it can contact [email protected]

  2. Joshua: Thanks for reading Missions Catalyst and sharing what Indira is doing. May God bless and increase her efforts!

  3. Thanks for the ideas. For #46 – disaster relief and #48 – water filters, may I suggest Poured-Out. They work with local churches in disaster relief in the U.S. (most recently is Kansas) and clean water projects in Haiti, including sustainable water filters in private homes and large solar water filtration units in churches, orphanages and schools. A small, dedicated group of people having a BIG impact. Poured-out.org

  4. Beth: Thanks for reading Missions Catalyst and thanks for the Poured-Out recommendation. I appreciate you passing on your personal experience.

  5. There was once a time when Western missionaries needed to go into countries where the Gospel was not preached, but today there are enough indigenous Christian leaders who are more capable than outsiders to spread the gospel. They already know the language, they know the culture, they don’t need visas, and they don’t have to return home for a vacation from the field. More importantly they will live at the same economic level as the people they are reaching rather than living a Western lifestyle in a foreign land which means more people can be sent with much less financial burden on the church.

    Jesus said “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned “. Jesus did not say, go into the world and try to convert! Nor does the Great Commission say to build orphanages, build churches, bring people to church, impose Biblical standards upon society, or to even change the world for Christ. Yet this is what 90% of the Western missionaries are doing today. Why?

    The Western church should learn from Paul’s experiences and advice found throughout his writings. One example can be found in Romans 15:20 — It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. Rather, as it is written: “Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.” — Is it possible that the Western Church is sending people who are “Building on someone else’s foundation” and hindering rather than helping the cause of Jesus?

    Do you not think it is a misuse of resources to spend $30, 40, 50,000+ of God’s money to support a single Western missionary and their family to a place like the Philippines when a native can serve with less than $2,000 in support or even less annually?

    The fact of the matter is that a Western missionary cannot survive if they try to live on the same level of the people of poorer countries. More than 80% of donated money goes to the missionaries personal consumption leaving very little to go towards the ministry. If the missionaries you are sending here had successful ministries they would be self supported by the local community, not subsidized by donations from back home. Some missionaries have been here fore more than a decade! Worldwide there are more than 300,000 indigenous missionaries currently serving and aiming to fulfill the Great Commission. Would it not be better for Western missionaries to come home from the field, get a productive job, live a simple life, and support them instead?

  6. Joseph: Wow, there’s a lot packed into that comment! Thank you for taking time to read Missions Catalyst and thoughtfully reply. May God work through your life in wonderful ways.

  7. Joseph: I would encourage you to look up John Piper’s sermon response to those questions. It’s not so simple as which one costs more money. 🙂 Blessings.

    Shane: My only addition would be to expand #68 to include long-termers. I know that’s one of my biggest worries is what to do with my fur-babies when I leave for the field. I don’t want to adopt them away, and my family won’t take them, but you can’t board them for years either. Long-term foster families that let you have them back when you’re home would be wonderful.

  8. Hey Nicole: Thanks for reading MissionsCatalyst and weighing in. I appreciate your comments to both Joseph and me.

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