Wade Burleson reports on his blog that the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) International Missions Board (IMB) has, in a move to cut costs in tight economic times, notified certain missionaries that the IMB will no longer be reimbursing them for:
- drying of their clothes
- use of cell phones
- use of air conditioners
Yes, as a cost-cutting measure the very meagerly-paid missionaries, the ones out of all in modern Christianity who do take seriously the New Testament in giving sacrificially of everything they have to spread the gospel, are called on to make even greater sacrifices. Not only are they paid very little for what they do, but now if they are going to communicate via a cell phone or have the "luxuries" of drying their clothes or having an air conditioner they will have to pay it themselves out of what little they earn.
Does this news make you want to give MORE to Lottie Moon this Christmas, or LESS? Maybe churches that have members serving as IMB missionaries should find out from their missionaries what the annual cost of their cell phone, a/c usage, and clothes dryer usage is and SEND THAT AMOUNT DIRECTLY TO THEIR MISSIONARIES. Unless the IMB fat cats in Richmond are willing to make real, significant sacrifices in their own salaries and benefits and programs and trustee meetings FIRST, then churches should perhaps take matters into their own hands.
What are the Priorities of the SBC?
When I see FBC Dallas making plans to gather up over 100 million dollars to demolish buildings and reconstruct a "Crystal Cathedral" type worship center when they still owe millions on the building Mac built - when I see FBC Jacksonville advertising on their website to entice the rich folk to spend thousands on a "Cruise Down the Danube" with the Brunsons on a luxury riverboat...you have to wonder: just what are the priorities of the leadership in the SBC? While Mac sails down the Danube with his rich friends from FBC Jax, missionaries will be hanging their clothes out to dry and sleeping in sweltering heat. I don't begrudge FBC Dallas for deciding to modernize or renovate...but 130 million dollars? I don't think people of means should NOT go on cruises, but for a church TO ADVERTISE on their church website to entice people to cruise with their celebrity pastor? It all is over the top, and Christians are wising up, and the heavies are getting nervous.
The solution? Wade offers some very good suggestions in his article. But here's one: perhaps pastors need to get on board and begin to once again teach their people the storehouse tithing doctrine and preach it HARD! If people are robbing God, then tell them, and blame the missionary cutbacks on these robbers of God in the pews.
And don't stop at the arbitrary 10% tithe. Let's put a demand on the WHOLE tithe, the full 30% that is outlined in the Old Testament! If all of the SBC "giving units" would obey God and fork over 10 to 30 percent of their income to their churches, why imagine the missionaries that would be sent....
....or would churches use that increase in revenue to build larger buildings, hire more staff, buy more TV and radio advertising spots, hire more personal coaches and marketing consultants and give jobs to their friends and family members?