An Open Letter to Those Willing to Adopt A Missionary Lifestyle
"Try It, You'll Like It"
You can see from the figures that 27 people firm all over the United States (and the world) have made a valiant start in the lifestyle proposal we cautiously introduced in the last two issues of Mission Frontiers.
I believe we are witnessing seeing before our eyes "a cloud the size of a mans hand" which will soon become a major outpounng that will confound the
experts, an additional $500 million per year for missions from only 4,000 congregations where the pastor and nine other families will voluntarily adopt a missionary lifestyle or some deliberate approximation thereof (like living on two thirds').
I have personally telephoned a number of these "early adopters" and it is clear that "not many mighty, not many noble" have responded. Yet; it is already a mighty outpouring, 'God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things that are strong" (ICor 1:26,27).
About one fourth of these people are themselves either missionaries or former missionaries, as has been the case in virtually every proposal we have made in the past. (Indeed the largest donors to date have been individual missionaries who cm see immediately the value of a place like this.)
One or two are apparently fairly well off, and am sophisticated enough in handling their fluids to be able to sit down and simply write a check for one third of their income fee the next three months. One pastor, a highly organized man, wrote such a check, but his salary does not exceed that of a missionary. in fact, two of the 27 are points of relatively small churches. About half are Christian workers.
The dean of the chapel at a major U.S. seminary sent us exactly the amount which, along with what he already gives, makes one third of his income. That additional amount was $100!
Some of the gifts indicated are for more than one month, others are only part of a person's one¬third of income. l'here is no way to tell exactly what the three months' total for these 27 will be but it looks as if it will be about $50.000,
Note that we have never suggested
living on two thirds' as more than a rough goal should a family like to try out a major change of lifestyle approximating what a missionary family gets in takehome pay. We did not expect people to volunteer who earn less than that already! But about half of these 27 people receive no more and several possibly less than what many missionary families receive. For such people, as for our own staff who lived on two thirds in July, August, and September, it is an even greater sacrifice. (Actually, many of our staff are constantly lower than that in actual funds received churches do not readily assist mission workers in California!)
But the main point is to keep the main point the main point, which is, to see if there are enough families who believe deeply in the cause of missions, but who are not called 'overseas' and who can rise to the challenge of deliberately living on the level of typical missionary support
And please note: If 27 people can account for $50,000 in three months, that kind of giving would amount to almost
exactly the $2 million necessary to pay
off this campus in three months if 400 pastors plus 9 other families in their churches would live on two thirds their normal income for three months. If this were carried forward on a long¬term basis, it would revolutionize the mission industry!
Some of these 27 dear people have already expressed their willingness to consider the two¬thirds plan a permanent lifestyle, and are endeavoring to find out exactly how much a specific mission board would allot them per month, in view of the cost of living in their communities.