This question is undoubtedly raised with every missionary out there raising support. And it’s a ‘downer’ emotionally because the missionary is put in the position of defending the budget used to send and keep them on the field. There’s nothing wrong with accountability for our use of funds, but ‘budget sticker shock’ often prejudices a mission committee toward the missionary before the process even starts.
This thoughtful article posted by the El Salvador Missionary Fellowship deals with the issues and the numbers. This is a great article to accomplish two things for the missionary:
First, give them a budget context in which to devise their budget.
Second, give them some arguments when explaining their budget to a mission committee.
This is a long article, but if you are a missionary or serving on a mission committee, it’s well worth absorbing, and then filing for future reference.
“I remember several years back speaking with a close pastor friend about a couple that was preparing to go the mission field. His church had just heard back from the sending agency the amount of money they would need to raise for their budget. He was aghast at the amount, remarking that it was almost equal to his salary.
I remember being struck by the two things this revealed. The first was that we American Christians expect missionaries to have a much lower standard of living than we would subject our pastors to. The second was that the majority of Americans do not realize how cheap things are in the US compared to the rest of the world. Most do not realize how much it would take to maintain their same standard of living, even in very poor countries.” (To read the full article . . .)