Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Yesterday I looked at my personal support account at ICM (not the Kenya ministry account which some of you recently gave to), as I knew it was dropping, and saw that I had $21.77. I have about $2200 in outstanding bills for the work in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Ghana. A bit of a problem, yes? Despite having been in this predicament many times over the past nineteen years, I felt the familiar sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I shared with Michael, who stated that he wavers between a feeling of panic when I tell him things like this and a head knowledge that knows that it will probably be okay. I told him that the feeling is the same for me.
The thing is that the work is not only going very well, but the demand continues to increase while giving decreases. Why might this be, is the question that I, as well as many others who have to raise their own support, ask. I’ve been reading a book called The Great Evangelical Recession. While I don’t agree with some of the things in the book, it does talk about an overall decline in giving that will continue over the next thirty years. The younger generation is not as committed to church and to giving in general, while the generous older generation is growing into retirement age. As I look at my consistent individual donors, many (if not most) are over the age of sixty. This is a concern. The book says at one point that the problem is not a lack of funds, but rather a lack of commitment due to the lack of discipling of the youth. Only 6% of Evangelical Christians tithe, according to The Barna Group. If Christians raised their giving to the Old Testament standard of giving 10%, there would be an additional $139 billion available per year.
My bold request is this:
- I am looking for twelve people to prayerfully consider committing $100/month for the next year.
- OR if you are personally not able to give or increase your giving, I am looking for new partner churches who would be willing to support the unique ministry that I am involved in, Discipling Marketplace Leaders. The only way new churches come on board is by a closer and personal connection with a member or the mission committee. Letters and calls from a stranger like me does not work. So if you are able to help me make a connection and set up a meeting, that would also help this ministry go a long way.
After the very dark period of the burnout that I just came through, I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that this ministry is God’s and not mine. I believe that I am joining Him in His work to unleash the Church from the four walls of a building, into the four corners of the Marketplace. So my encouragement is that you don’t consider this as a request from Renita, but rather from the Creator and Sustainer of our Faith, to join Him in the work that is happening across Kenya, Egypt, Ghana, and Ethiopia.
If you feel led to be one of the twelve, please email me and let me know. If you are able to arrange a meeting with your church, the missions committee, or the pastor, please also let me know. If you would like to meet with me to discuss this further, I would be happy to do so. I will be following up this message with phone calls once I have returned to the US from Ethiopia.
If you would like to financially assist with this work, please give through ICM at www.icmusa.org and include "20065" in the comment line; or through CRWM at www.crwm.org (go to "missionaries" and find my name).
Thank you for your prayerful consideration.
May God bless you.