Elmo Compton Missionary in Peru
Jesus is the hope of the world, and the local church is the very best vehicle to bring that hope to the world. That simple yet profound fact is why I’ve dedicated my life to planting new churches, and why I’m willing to live a nomadic life and invest immense amounts of resources into the task. I’d like to share some thoughts and suggestions from the perspective of a cross cultural missionary who has seen both the good and the bad.
Have the money you need. Spend the time building a strong, reasonable budget at the beginning of your fundraising time. Then stick to it. Don’t begin needing 6,000 a month and then decide to move at 80%. Why don’t you need that other 1,200? If you didn’t need it to begin with, why is it in the budget? My dad once told me to spend as many hours preparing for the job as you are willing to put into it. Spend 40+ hours a week raising your budget. Rotate driving so you can be making cold calls, knocking on doors, Facebook messaging, whatever! Do whatever it takes to build a strong financial team. People’s eternities depend on it.
Build a strong support team. I know the pressure of fundraising and team building. I’ve been living off of support for nearly a decade. When things get hard, when you want to quit, your support team is way more than the $100 or $200 check they send in every month. Intentionally build a group of couples that have permission to ask you the hard questions. How is your marriage? How are your finances? Can you show me your bank statement? Yeah, that’s uncomfortable for me too.
Commit to learning the language. Make this a priority. Don’t just learn the grammar; lose the American accent. Be a chameleon. You are a professional communicator. That’s the job you have accepted. You need to be able to speak with fluidity in order to deal with real heart issues and thoroughly explain the Gospel. I know many who get busy in ministry and soon begin to believe that they will never be able to minister in the native language. Don’t buy that lie. God will equip you, but you need to work hard.
Keep it simple. We’ve all heard the acronym KISS. That applies here as well. Avoid creating a model that is dependent on your personality or US money. Focus on creating a model that follows 2 Timothy 2:2 – one that is focused on making disciples of Jesus that reproduce. Disciples that make disciples is exactly what we see happening in Acts. Make that your goal too. The new church will not look American. They will dress differently, move differently, and act differently. Focus on keeping your model simple and reproducible by native disciples.