An Author who has underscored insights that many of us have learned the hard way is Jonathan Martin. I have selected a few of his thoughts as a tease for those who might be willing to read more. ~Kent Hotaling
Giving Wisely by Jonathan Martin
“We often unknowingly have a condescending attitude towards those in the third world. That attitude is reflected in this thought: These people cannot spread the gospel without my money. The fact is, Christians did it in the first century, and they can do it now. They’re very capable, intelligent, hardworking, gifted people, and their desire to please God is often greater than ours. Their psychological well-being is often far superior to that of our own people in this culture.” 38
“We have, as well-intentioned generous Americans, sewn the first seeds of dependency, and thus have almost guaranteed that their church can grow only as big as our western bucks can take it.” 41
“We need to be concerned about those who cannot take care of themselves—the hungry, the thirsty, the sick, the dying, those who are alone.” 44
“Any time we can empower locals to take care of locals and make this sustainable, our dollar has been invested for the greatest return. Never underestimate a people’s ability to care for their own—after all, they have the knowledge needed to make it in that culture, and we don’t. They want to make it – they often just need help to get off the ground; when they get that help—watch them fly.” 49
“The Foundational Big Four RAISE
A working and viable relationship is the foundation for wise giving.
To give to an individual rather than through a financially accountable organization is not a sound practice and has led to the ruin of many believers.”
Our giving shouldn’t create dependency, and it should work toward developing full indigenous sustainability.
The financial gift should not create economic inequities in the place it is given. Often pastors receiving western funds live at a standard high above those around them. Ask yourself: Does the money I give allow this man to live at a standard high above the rest of those he seeks to serve? Does this money elevate one child high above his next door neighbor? Find out how much someone with an equivalent education and responsibilities makes in this man’s or woman’s country, and give accordingly.” 62-65
Note taker’s note: The rest of the book is made up of illustrations and practical issues in giving according to this RAISE principle. I will select a portion of those thoughts to encourage you to read the book.
“Send the cash with a trustworthy person with other trustworthy persons assuring the delivery of the gift, fellowshipping with the recipients from other cultures, seeing God work in wonderful ways, returning home as changed people and sharing with everyone in the church.” 68
“It is far better for money to follow a good relationship than to start with money and then try to develop a relationship. The least desirable of all is that money is given apart from any real relationship.” 75
“I have seen too many wonderful brothers and sisters in third world countries corrupted by money that we, well-intentioned Americans, give to them when we hear of their need. The truth is that they have never had to learn what fiscal responsibility is – for they have never had any money to speak of. We need to do all we can to make sure we are not setting a trap for them.” 85
“Our means for funding full-time ministry are also very foreign. Since this is a completely unknown concept, the locals have no vision for it, and there aren’t enough believers in the local community to support them. The foreign ministry raises the support for the national in America. So you have the national working for a foreign paycheck and is perceived to be foreign by his own people and thus loses local credibility.” 95
“China, by contrast: No full-time staff? No building? No money? No academic institutions for formal theological training? These are the four things we in the West deem as most important, and yet it was in the absence of these things that the greatest church growth in history has taken place. China’s one million believers turned into forty million by the late 1980s and now perhaps to as many as 100 million.” 95
“Money should never be used to create initiative; it should come alongside and empower those who are already taking the initiative. When we partner with someone who’s already in motion, our money can serve to empower the already active ministry.” 103
“This is one of the reasons it’s important for relationships to precede giving. Without relationship, it’s impossible to know the effects of our giving—whether it is helpful or harmful.” 121
“Who is an expert?
“Missionary kids who grew up playing with the locals, then spent time back in the U.S., then ended up back on the field as adults have always impressed me as the greatest experts. They know the language, and they know the hearts of the people on both sides of the ocean. They tend to love the people around them because they’ve grown up with them.” 126
“Look at the inequities we’re creating in this village. What damage is being done to the very fabric of these communal villages by such sponsorship that chooses one child and doesn’t choose the child next door?” 139
“It’s best to work with the community as a whole rather than singling out individuals for sponsorship. Unfortunately, sponsoring a village isn’t as personal as sponsoring a child. One possible solution is to financially sponsor an entire village and the projects, which include health and education improvements, but then you sponsor a family in this village with your prayers and encouragement. While the whole village learns to work together to take care of and provide for each other, they’re all in touch by writing letters and sending pictures with a family that is praying for them individually.”139,140
“There’s a simple rule: If you want a person to reach his or her own culture, don’t take them out of it. Don’t take someone out of a relatively impoverished country, show him the glitter and comfort and material excess of the U.S., and then expect him to want to go back.” 165
“Good books are empowering and really never create dependency. Getting whole libraries into the hands of schools, seminaries, and churches that will last and be used for years to come is a gift that keeps on giving.” 169
Visit our Amazon Reading list here http://astore.amazon.com/africajourney-20 that includes Giving Wisely and other books we highly recommend.