Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

A Christian viewpoint on poverty

One of my dear cyber-friends yesterday wrote on Facebook: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:10 (NIV) Isn’t the last phrase interesting? “Pierced THEMSELVES.” This initiated a lively debate on the issue of money and poverty and the love of money and materialism and many other issues. After commenting back and forth (eventually the discussion took place between three people) I felt that the topic is important enough to blog about and perhaps get some more response.
One of the important remarks made was that it is not money as such that is a root of all evil, but rather the love of money. Which of course is true. And an equally important comment stated that the love of money is not restricted only to rich people, but that poor people often, in spite of their lack of money, also have an unhealthy love for money.
I myself have used these arguments often. But I cannot help wondering if I’m not using these arguments mainly to justify my relative wealth (and even using the term “relative wealth” is a way of justifying what I have while all around me people are literally dying of hunger.) And if you think you’re not rich, have a quick look at the Global Rich List and determine your position when your income is compared with the rest of the world’s population. You’re in for a shock.
The simple fact is that millions of people are living in extreme poverty through no choice of their own. Some were unfortunate enough to be born to parents who cannot care for them. Some were born in a country in war. Some were born in a country which has not had sufficient rain for many years. Obviously there are people who are extremely poor because they chose to squander their money on gambling or drugs or alcohol. But most of the people whom I know in Swaziland who live in extreme poverty (and approximately 60% of the population live on 45 US cents per day or less), had no choice in the matter. And the question which I have to answer, if I am seriously seeking the will of God, is what my responsibility is towards those who are less fortunate than I am. Is it all right with God if I continue with my life, making more money, collecting more material possessions, going on more expensive vacations, while all around me people are dying.
I was having a chat with a Black nurse yesterday about this very topic, and she made the remark that it sometimes seems that the poorer the people are, the more willing they are to share with others. Of course, this is not universally true, but I do have the same impression. I am busy collecting personal data of the 663 caregivers who are part of Shiselweni Home-Based Care, a ministry of our church consisting solely of volunteers, who are giving their time and energy to help people with HIV and AIDS. One of the questions I ask them, is how many orphans they are taking care of. With almost 15% of Swaziland’s population made up of orphans with very few official orphanages, it is usually the extended family that needs to take care of the orphans. However, if there is no extended family, then other community members will take over that task. One of our caregivers has four children of her own, ranging from 8 – 16, and then she is also taking care of 16 other children! Another one has five of her own children, ranging in age from 15 – 23. She is also caring for 15 other children. Sometimes it’s one or two, sometimes four or five orphans, but these people who are living in extreme poverty, without running water and usually without electricity, are doing things that the rich will most probably not even consider doing.
(We have now started with a project to assist these caregivers in Swaziland with food and medicine to enable them to do their work more efficiently. We call it: “Adopt-a-Caregiver”. If you are interested in helping these selfless people to have an even larger impact on Swaziland, you are welcome to contact me on wyngaard@lando.co.za )
We will have to start rethinking our attitude towards money and material possessions. I am convinced that God is not happy with the way in which the majority of rich Christians think about money.

Thursday, October 8, 2009 Posted by | AIDS, Death, Disparity, Giving, HIV, HIV & AIDS, Home-based Caring, Mission, Partnership, Poverty, Social issues, Support teams, Swaziland, Tithing | 5 Comments

When a missionary’s support falls away

Probably one of the most traumatic experiences a missionary can face, is to be informed that his or her support is going to be terminated. It is my guess that this will be happening again as the impact of the global financial crisis starts having greater effect on the income of missionary organisations and churches. Over the past week or so, I’ve received three messages from missionaries or mission support organisations, all mentioning that dark days may be lying ahead. Things like a global financial crisis or a depression are more or less out of the control of the church. I was reading a post today of someone who described how their church had kept on sharing their funds in spite of severely hard times that they went through. People who make faith decisions like this need to be honoured. It is also understandable that individuals who had supported missionaries in the past, may now be faced with the harsh reality that they need to decide whether they will continue with their support or not.
I do not know of a single missions organisation that do not need financial support. Long distances that need to be travelled, the harsh circumstances under which most missionaries are working amongst people who more often than not are themselves barely surviving, the lack of proper schooling, sicknesses and many other issues have the result that finances are needed to support those who are working as missionaries. When it comes to the point of support, I can think of a few things which need to be kept in mind if the work has to continue over an extended period of time.
First of all I think that it is not wise for one individual or one organisation to fund a missions project on their own. Supporters lose interest. Financial circumstances change. A variety of things may occur which makes it impossible for the individual or the organisation to continue with their support. What happens if the supporter dies unexpectedly? What happens if the supporter’s source of income falls away? If a potential supporter is convinced that a missions project is from God, then they need to discuss it with other partners and get them to invest financially in the project in order to establish some form of sustainable support.
Secondly, new projects need to be considered prayerfully and not emotionally. Now, this works both ways. I’ve seen many a project being started due to the convincing arguments given by a missionary. But if such a project is from God and the supporters are truly living in a relationship with God, then God himself can convince the supporters to fund the project. Gather people together to hear whether the new project is really from God. But the argument also has another side to it. I’ve seen many a missions project stopped because the supporters or supporting organisation used equally emotional arguments why the project could not be started. Sometimes a new project has to be started as a leap of faith. As long as we are convinced that it is what God wants us to do, we need not fear to take the next step.
Thirdly, supporters need to realise that they are working with people’s security when they make decisions about support. I once attended a meeting in advisory capacity where the future support of missionaries working in Asia was discussed. The congregation was not going through a particularly tough time, but they did need to do some renovations to their own property. They then suggested that the missionary’s support be cut by 50%. I had trouble to control myself, asking the meeting where they wanted the missionary and his family to cut on their own budget. Their rent was fixed. Water and electricity was fixed. School fees for the children were fixed. The only place where they could cut, was on their monthly groceries. By cutting their subsidy, this family was effectively being told to eat less if they wanted to remain in Asia. The sad news is that the cut was approved. The good news is that individuals then started supporting the family with even more than the reduction in the subsidy.
Financial support for missions is an extremely sensitive issue. I am aware that some missionaries misuse funds. But on the whole, most of them are stretching the funds to cover much more than would ever be possible on the home front. Whether you want to start supporting a missionary or whether you are starting to feel the pinch and considering to withdraw your support, don’t do it without seriously praying about this and discussing options with Christian friends you trust.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 Posted by | Church, Dependency, Giving, Mission, Mission Resources, Missionary Organisations, Partnership, Poverty, Prayer, Support teams, Sustainability, Tithing | 9 Comments

The Second Chance

While at a missions meeting last week, a friend of mine told me about a DVD with the name, The Second Chance. I was able to get a copy of the DVD and our family watched it on Saturday. The story is about a pastor, Ethan Jenkins (played by Michael W Smith), the minister of music at a suburban mega-church called The Rock, and Jake Sanders, a pastor of an urban church called Second Chance. He has a nice church and his salary is sponsored by The Rock. Once a year pastor Sanders is invited to The Rock to give a three minute talk on how things are going at Second Chance (and to thank the people of The Rock for their help!) On one such a morning, he tells the people of The Rock that they should keep their money if they were not willing to become personally involved in his ministry amongst drug addicts, prostitutes, juvenile delinquents, dysfunctional families and worse. Obviously the people from The Rock are greatly upset by these words and pastor Jenkins, who had invited him to speak, was blamed because he was not able to restrict pastor Sanders to the prescribed three minutes nor did he coach him properly on what to say. And so pastor Jenkins is seconded to Second Chance to teach him a lesson.

Towards the end of the movie the leadership of The Rock meet with local developers who want to build some stadium in the area, but in order to do that, Second Chance church will have to be demolished and the church will have to be relocated about five miles away. And this was the part of the movie that really touched me personally, as I saw the leadership of The Rock making decisions without consulting the leadership of Second Chance, planning a wonderful new campus for Second Chance and after everything had been finalised, only then calling in the people of Second Chance and informing them of the plans.

What was clearly shown in this part of the movie is how often people in the church (those with the money) can make decisions on behalf of those with less money. Very often the decisions in itself are not bad. Usually the decisions are for the good of others. But because the decisions had been taken without consulting those mostly affected by the decisions, huge mistrust and accusations are bred between the two groups and in the end, instead of working together, they work against each other. And I couldn’t help wondering how often I may have done the same thing – with good intentions – but still, breaking down relationships instead of building them.

Monday, June 16, 2008 Posted by | Building relations, Church, Cross-cultural experiences, Dependency, Giving, Meetings, Mission, Partnership, Racism, Sustainability, Theology, Tithing | 5 Comments

Back home again!

Well, I’ve returned to my home after my time in Russia. I often compare the Russians to the people in Swaziland, the one difference being the colour of their skin. There’s a few other differences as well. The one is the Russian’s love for flowers, something which I have seldom if ever noticed in Swaziland. The Russians just love flowers and in spring people selling flowers have a blooming (pardon the pun) business. The other difference is the Russian’s love for dogs. In the building where the Bible Centre in Samara is situated (they rent some rooms in an office block) a big dog wanders around. It was a stray and the people in the office block started taking care of him. One things I have always noticed in Swaziland is that nearly everybody does have at least one dog but very few dogs are in a good condition. Most of them are extremely skinny and look unhealthy.
But in many other aspects these two groups of people are much the same: things like poverty, their musical ability (the Swazis are better, but the Russians are also good), their almost simple faith in God. And yet a few things happened on my visit to Russia that did show me that, in spite of the things God is doing through our church in Swaziland, we still have a long way to go in other aspects. On three occasions I was invited to share with groups of Russian church leaders the story of our ministry in Swaziland, how it had started and what God is doing for us and through us. On two of these occasions I was deeply humbled when the people who were present asked me for our bank details as they would like to collect money to help us in our ministry. What impressed me about this was that I know something about the financial situation of most of the Protestant churches in Russia. Their expenses are huge (in most cases they do not have their own church buildings and they have to rent buildings, mostly theatres or something similar for their weekly gatherings) and their income is low. Nobody would blame them if they felt that they would rather use the money which they receive just to survive. This is the reason why it surprised me so much that, in spite of their own poor financial situation, they are still willing to offer to help others. This made me think of the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 8:2-3: “Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability.”

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 Posted by | Church, Cross-cultural experiences, Giving, Home-based Caring, Mission, Poverty, Russia, Short-term outreaches, Swaziland, Tithing | Leave a comment

To Tithe or not to Tithe

George Barna recently released the results of research he had done on people’s attitudes towards donating and tithing. The full report can be accessed here.
One of the things which he reported was that more Christians believed in tithing than who actually did it. According to his research only 5% of adults (in the USA) actually tithed. Surprising to me was to see that those who would describe themselves as evangelical Christians had the largest percentage who tithed (24%). What was even more surprising was to see that of the charismatic or Pentecostal Christians, only 11% actually tithed. If anyone had asked me, I would have dared to say that the numbers would have been switched around.
Writing on the origins of tithing, Barna says: “Strangely, tithing is a Jewish practice, not a Christian principle espoused in the New Testament. The idea of a tithe – which literally means one-tenth or the tenth part – originated as the tax that Israelites paid from the produce of the land to support the priestly tribe (the Levites), to fund Jewish religious festivals, and to help the poor. The ministry of Jesus Christ, however, brought an end to adherence to many of the ceremonial codes that were fundamental to the Jewish faith. Tithing was such a casualty. Since the first-century, Christians have believed in generous giving, but have not been under any obligation to contribute a specific percentage of their income.”
I would agree that the strict law of tithing will not be found in the New Testament. But in the New Testament we find principles which, I think, speak even louder than the laws about tithing. One of these examples would be to give cheerfully. And when I give cheerfully, I could easily give more than 10%.
One of the terrible mistakes which earlier missionaries made in Swaziland was to force church members to give a certain amount (in those days it was 2 Emalangeni, about 25 US cents) per year, otherwise they would not be allowed to take part in the holy communion! A system was developed where each church member had a little book, known as a “ticket” (amatikhedi), in which their contributions were recorded and only after they had given the prescribed amount were they allowed to take part in the communion. This system had the required results. Due to the shame linked to not being allowed to take part in the communion, every church member diligently paid their 2 Emalangeni. But that was all. They paid no more than this – whether they could afford it or not.
Fortunately those times are past. From time to time some of our members will still mention the “amatikhedi”, but nobody uses this system anymore. Of course, it is much more difficult to teach people to give cheerfully than it is to force them to give in order that they can take part in the communion, but it is definitely worthwhile to do it in this Biblical way.

Friday, April 18, 2008 Posted by | Church, Cross-cultural experiences, Giving, Mission, Swaziland, Tithing | 2 Comments

Reconciling a budget with trust in the Lord

It seems to me that the Bible has two distinct viewpoints about money. On the one hand we are told in Luke 14:28: Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? On the other hand Jesus says in Matthew 6:34: Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Churches and para-church organisations also seem to have two distinct ways in thinking about finances. Some will work on a strict budget where every project is planned for and budgeted for and never turning from the budget, neither to the left nor to the right. Others say that God will provide, praying for each need and trusting that the Lord will provide in time everything that is necessary to complete the project.
Both possibilities have their advantages and their disadvantages. I myself, being someone who is strongly focussed on detail (a 100% “C” on the DISC scale), naturally feel much more comfortable working within the strict boundaries of a budget. There’s a lot of safety in a budget. But there’s a definite downside to this way of working. When planning everything strictly according to a budget, I believe that we restrict ourselves not to be able to hear when God wants to do something new. A friend of mine came to visit me some time ago and I could just feel his frustration after their church council had approved such a strict budget. He was frustrated, because he felt that God wanted to take their church on a new road but due to a lack of trust in God’s provision, all funds not considered absolutely essential for the normal continuation of activities, were cut. I think we not only restrict ourselves but we also restrict God when we work in this way.
I have however also seen terrible things happening when missionaries (they seem to be notorious for doing this type of thing) claim that God had told them to start a new project, sometimes costing millions and eventually other people or churches have to save the project because the finances never came in. This is also wrong. But then, I have also seen and experienced myself how God does provide for unplanned things. The feeling of exhilaration when one had committed something to the Lord and then to see how He provides in every need, will seldom if ever be experienced by those only willing to work within a strict budget. The downside I’ve seen (mercifully not experienced) when always working “in faith” are peptic ulcers, stress and other psychosomatic illnesses (which I also believe is not to the glory of God.)
So what’s the solution? I think churches and para-church organisations have to implement both these methods. Draw up a budget and deviate from this only in extreme circumstances. This teaches us to be responsible in working with Kingdom finances and to plan in advance. Obviously part (a large part) of the budget should be used outside the boundaries of the congregation. This would be our mission budget. But then I believe that at least one project should be identified which is not on the budget and this is the project which the church council and the church members will have to pray for in order to get the finances to do what needs to be done.
As leaders in the church we expect our members to trust the Lord to care for them as they tithe. But then the church council needs to set the example, trusting the Lord for the finances in order to do something which falls outside the normal budget.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008 Posted by | Church, Faith Offerings, Giving, Meetings, Mission, Missionary Organisations, Prayer, Sustainability, Theology, Tithing | 1 Comment

Spending God’s money in church

I was invited to attend a cell group meeting this evening in order to inform the members about our home-based caring projects in Swaziland. The evening got a bit longer than we planned as questions were asked and I tried to give answers. Eventually the topic also turned to the responsibility of churches to become financially involved in mission. Which made me think of a conversation we had had in our home a few weeks ago with our two youngest children. When our children started receiving pocket money, we also taught them to tithe from their own money. Obviously, as they get older and receive more, their tithe should also grow.
What the exact detail was, I’m not sure, but our youngest child had run out of pocket money for the month and one Sunday my wife noticed that she didn’t have anything to give in church. We realised that this wasn’t a serious issue, but my wife laughingly remarked over lunch to our daughter that cutting back on your tithe is usually not a good way to save money. This led to some discussions about the importance of giving for God’s work.
It seems that churches tend to fall into the same trap. In order for a budget to work out, certain cuts have to be made. And inevitably cuts are made to the money spent outside that church. And in my opinion this is not a very good way to save money. During our gathering this evening someone made the remark that people like to give when they can sense a real need. I have said before that I am not convinced that one’s entire tithe should necessarily go to one congregation. For many years we have been giving part of our tithe to a few missionary organisations over and above what we give to our own congregation. The reason why we do so, is because we could see the need and although we cannot change the circumstances of the organisations, we can at least make a small difference.
The mistake which I see many churches making is that they concentrate almost entirely on the funds (or the lack of funds) coming in. But church members want to know that their money is being spent wisely and that it is making a difference in the world. If I can give $50 and know that the money is going to be spent in such a way that it will make a real difference in people’s lives, then I would much rather do that than throwing my money in a hole, not knowing how deep the hole is nor what the money is going to be used for when taken from the hole.
A week ago a pastor from another church asked to see me. They had received a fairly large donation from a certain individual. This church, however, also believes in tithing. Therefore they had calculated 10% of the amount they had received and decided to give it to be used for food for our home-based caring project in Swaziland. Now, I know that this church cannot afford it. But the very next day after they had given the money to us, they had a harvest festival where they asked people to bring food to church to hand out to the poor. They received so much food (from a very small congregation) that they didn’t know how they were going to distribute everything.
I’ve seen many churches running into financial difficulties and then cutting back on their mission contribution. I want to repeat what my wife said: This is not such a good way t save money: not for a child, not for an adult and also not for a church.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 Posted by | Church, Faith Offerings, Giving, HIV & AIDS, Home-based Caring, Mission, Poverty, Swaziland, Theology, Tithing | 8 Comments

Should all tithings be channelled through the local church? (3)

When Paul writes about the issue of tithing in 2 Corinthians 9:6-10, he says a number of important things. As I mentioned in my previous post, it seems to me that God took away the strict law about tithing and replaced it with a responsibility which each believer should have in order to give with a new attitude. But according to the Old Testament, when one gave, one gave in a way that it could be felt. Paul says it in the following words: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. This hasn’t got anything to do with a prosperity theology by which Paul wants to say that the more money you give to God the more money He will give to you. This becomes clear when he mentions that those who give generously will abound in good works and will have an increased harvest of righteousness. But the principle which comes out of this is that God wants us to give generously, not sparingly. Or to put this into Old Testament language: God wants us to give a bull and not a cow!
The second principle is that God wants us to give cheerfully and not reluctantly or under compulsion. I think all Christians need to realise this again – including church leaders who sometimes force their church members through psychological pressure to give more. What I mean is that church leaders do not have the right to compel their church members to give. Giving is something which every Christian has to learn about and then the Holy Spirit will have to convince us so that we can give cheerfully.
Within the context of this passage, it also becomes clear that it is not wrong in the eyes of God to give generously to those who are poor. Obviously, this would bring us back to the topic of dependency, but I am becoming increasingly convinced that we should not be tight-fisted when it comes to helping those in need.
To answer the question whether all tithings should be channelled through the local church, my answer would be twofold: If my congregation is seriously involved in financial and practical help outside the boundaries of the church (charity, missions etc), then I would definitely be convinced that the most of my tithe should be channelled through the congregation in order to enable them to continue with this work. If my congregation is reluctant to spend money outside, focussing mainly on salaries for pastors and administrative personnel and renovations to buildings, then I would probably start looking at other places where I could give a greater part of my tithe. Regardless, I would use a certain amount of my tithe to give to at least one specific cause (possibly a mission organisation or a specific missionary or an organisation involved with the alleviation of poverty or some other problem) – something which I have prayed about and which I feel comfortable with in supporting.

Monday, January 7, 2008 Posted by | Church, Dependency, Giving, Mission, Poverty, Prayer, Social issues, Theology, Tithing | 1 Comment

Should all tithings be channelled through the local church? (2)

A large number of Google searches through which people end up reading posts on my blog have to do with money. And one of the searches which come up time and again has to do with the way in which our tithes should be given. I’ve written about this topic before. The feeling I have is that many Christians are really struggling with the question whether we are compelled to give our full tithe to our local church or whether we are free to give our tithes in other places as well.
Possibly the best way to approach this question is firstly to look at the principles behind tithing. Tithing per definition means the giving of a tenth of your income to God. We know from the New Testament that the Jews adhered to the laws concerning tithing very strictly, but we also know that Jesus criticised them for this, not because they were strict in giving their tithes, but because they neglected other important things, such as the caring of the poor and the elderly (Matthew 23:23). The danger of strictly following rules about tithing is that it takes away personal responsibility. I could write out a cheque every month giving a tenth of my salary to the church or even more conveniently, I could sign a stop order at my bank instructing them to pay over a tenth of my income to my local church – which is very nice for the church receiving a guaranteed income but which strips me of all responsibility in the way that I give. And I’m not convinced that this is what God expects of us.
In Leviticus 1 we find some interesting principles about giving to God. This chapter concerns the giving of burnt offerings. God instructs His people to take an animal from the herd or the flock (which says to me that each person has to make a personal decision about what he or she wants to give), but that the choice has to fall on a male animal without defect. What I believe God is saying through this, is that He doesn’t want us to be skimpy when giving to Him. Or, to put it in another way: We have to give in such a way that we can feel that we are giving. One person could give $1000 without even noticing any difference while another may not be able to give $10 without having to adjust their monthly budget. In other words: If I’m still giving to the Lord without my giving having any effect on my lifestyle, then I may not be giving enough! To take a bull from the herd – not just any bull but the best – would have had an effect on the Old Testament farmer. They would have felt that they are really giving something substantial to the Lord. This is the background to the episode in Mark 12:42-44 when Jesus made the remark about the widow who gave two copper coins, saying that she had given more than the others who had given out of their wealth.
We could lay down strict rules about giving. We could say that every Christian needs to give 10% of their income to their local church. But then this action of giving becomes a mere ritual. I would rather say that we need to take greater responsibility towards giving, which implies that we prayerfully make decisions about how much and where we will give. Obviously we have a great responsibility towards out local church. But chances are, if we prayerfully consider this issue, that we may feel that we also want to support one or two other ministries as well.
My wife and I have identified a few mission organisations which we also want to support. The greater part of our personal tithes go to our own church. However, every month we also give towards two other specific mission organisations which we want to support and then throughout the year we also have a few organisations that we have identified which we support with a single amount. (This once-off contribution makes sense when the money has to be sent overseas, in order to cut down on bank costs and transferral fees.)
I could be 100% in line with the Bible in my giving but totally out of line with God’s will. Which is the reason why I believe we need to start looking at principles rather than rules. God willing, I will continue with this topic tomorrow and have a look at the New Testament principles about giving.

Friday, January 4, 2008 Posted by | Church, Giving, Mission, Theology, Tithing | 1 Comment

Who gives the most?

I was recently reading the passage in Mark 12:41-44 again where the poor widow came to the temple, dropped two coins in the chest used for the offerings, after which Jesus reacted by saying that she had given more than all the others who had given from their wealth.
John Rowell, in To Give or not to Give also writes about this under the heading of The Principle of Proportionate Sacrifice (p 194-6). I have for long maintained that many third world churches are giving relatively more than their Western counterparts, for the simple reason that the majority of these church members are extremely poor while in most Western churches the majority are extremely rich.
Rowell has a very interesting way of looking at proportionate giving. Within the Kingdom of God it doesn’t really matter how much is given. God can use a little to accomplish much, as we well know from the miracle when Jesus fed the crowds with five loaves of bread and two fish. Rowell writes: Proportionality in giving is determined, therefore, not by what we have invested financially in a kingdom venture, but more by what we have kept for ourselves.
Rowell then suggests the following formula to calculate how generous we are: We should divide what we saved by what we gave every time we make a donation. The resulting quotient will show whether we are selfish or sacrificial. According to this formula, Rowell calculated that Americans are keeping approximately 97% for themselves. (Rowell is an American, which is the reason why he concentrates on his own country, but the same could probably be said about most Western countries.) Even if we tithe (something which I personally adhere to, not as a law, but as a rule-of-thumb) then the amount which I give for kingdom ventures are still depressingly small, compared to what I keep for myself, not to live on, but to acquire luxuries.
Maya, one of the readers of this blog who also frequently comments, recently brought my attention to a website: Global rich List. On this website you can determine how rich you are compared to other people in the world. (I don’t think this is very accurate, as similar sites such as Rich-o-meter have slightly different results, but nevertheless it gives an indication of where you fall within the worlds economy).
According to this website, 50% of the world’s population receive less than $850 per year. In the DVD Dear Francis which I recently wrote about, it is said that more than 60% of Swaziland’s population are getting 45 US cents per day ($165 per year) or less, which places this group in the poorest 5% of the world’s population. Obviously, not all our church members are as poor as that. Some of them do have well-paying occupations and some of our church members, especially up to the northern part of the country (Mbabane and Manzini) would even be considered to be fairly rich. But on average, the greater part of the population, and the greater part of our church members are extremely poor. And yet, many of them are still giving generously to kingdom ventures.
Which brings me back to the question: Who gives the most?

Monday, October 29, 2007 Posted by | Church, Giving, Mission, Poverty, Rowell, Swaziland, Tithing | Leave a comment