You’ve put God’s kingdom first in your life, and you want to start supporting international missions. But what’s next? Should you donate to a global missions organization, support a specific missionary, or use some other approach? And which organization or people will you give to?
Wanting to give to international missions is great, and the Bible clearly teaches that all Christians should be giving to missions. But there are so many choices.
This article will help you work with God and use some resources so you can take action and start playing a vital and participatory role in the spread of God’s kingdom through international missions.
But first, let’s define our key term.
What Is an International Missions Organization?
For this article, we’re talking about Christian world missions organizations whose primary goal is to spread God’s kingdom through evangelism, outreach, and the power and love of God. There are many other nonprofit organizations run by Christians whose primary goals are to meet practical needs. And that’s great and also is part of what God wants to do in the world.
But if your goal is to support a missions organization that will result in people being saved, churches planted, disciples made, and the gospel spreading, that’s the purpose of this guide.
Now, as you’ll see, some organizations do both – they spread the gospel through the meeting of practical needs. There are many strategies to winning the lost. So we begin by spreading the net wide.
Guide to Choosing Which Missions Organization to Support
Here’s how to choose which international missions organization you want to support.
Step 1: Pray and Keep Praying
God responds to followers who demonstrate hunger and commitment. Just praying one time for something this important may not be enough. Remember the story of the persistent widow.
Ask God to give you a true missions calling. Ask Him for a burden for a particular group of people, a nation, a mission, or some other area of need. Ask Him to lead you to people who share that passion, that you can partner with.
And because prayer is so pivotal in this sort of decision, continue to pray as you go through these remaining steps.
Step 2: Reflect about What Inspires You
Alignment is important. What do you care about? What are your interests, passions, abilities, and values as they relate to God’s kingdom? What moves your heart? What types of stories capture your attention the most?
God places burdens and softens hearts for a variety of purposes. The things you care most about, as they relate to God’s kingdom, may help point the way to how God wants to use you for international missions.
Step 3: Find Global Missions Organizations that Align with Your Passions
Once you’ve taken some time to clarify what gets you the most excited about partnering with God and have received some confirmation through prayer, start looking into different organizations that share your interests.
There are all sorts of places you can go with this. There are international missions organizations that help advance God’s kingdom through many avenues such as
- Medical missions
- Poverty and hunger
- Human trafficking
- Business entrepreneurship (that’s iBAM)
- And many more
And then there are others that focus directly on engaging people about God and the Bible, starting Bible studies, and planting churches.
Find organizations that seem to align with you, and start learning about them. Study their mission statements. Learn about their logistics. How do they operate? What do they do with your funds? Do they support individual missionaries, group projects, new ventures, existing churches and movements, something else?
At some point, something will catch your eye, and God will call something out for you.
How to Search Online for Missions Organizations
When searching for international missions organizations, you can save yourself quite a bit of time with some targeted strategy. You can skip this part of this article if you already know how to search online effectively.
Here’s the main tip: Get more specific in your searches.
Don’t just type in ‘missions organizations.’ That’s too broad.
Suppose you have an interest in organizations reaching out to victims of human trafficking. Search for ‘human trafficking Christian missions organizations.’
Here’s the basic template: Begin with the area of interest, add in the word ‘Christian,’ and combine with ‘missions organizations.’
That approach should give you a good starting list.
Step 4: Consider Theological Alignment
To partner with an organization, you don’t need to agree on every single theological point. But you do need to agree on the most important ones. You should be able to discern this from their mission and value statements, as well as other ‘about us’ content on their website.
You can learn more from their blogs and other media content they are putting out.
Subscribe to their newsletter or join their mailing list and you should get an even better picture of the theology that underpins their work.
Step 5: Consider Countries or People Groups You Care About
Just as you can be called to a particular need, you can also be called to a particular nation. For example, iBAM is doing work in Indonesia, as well as several other nations. If you feel called to Indonesia, that would put us on your list of potential international missions organizations you might support.
Different organizations work in different countries. Find ones who work in countries God has placed on your heart.
And again, remember to bring all of this to God in prayer, because He may put a new country or people group on your heart you’ve never thought much about. Be open to Him putting new desires and interests in place of ones you always thought you had.
Here’s another way to look at it.
You may be called to a certain country. Or, like we discussed before, you might be called to a type of mission with a particular focus. You might also be called to both – such as reaching out to youth in Peru. God will lead you to this sort of focus as you spend more time and prayer in your search.
Step 6: Narrow Down Your List
After working through steps 1-5, you will probably have a list of several very good international missions organizations you could see yourself supporting.
Continue praying and learning more about them, and try to narrow down the list to three or fewer. From there, you can choose the first one you’d like to start supporting.
Step 7: Consider Supporting More Than One Organization
This depends in part on how much money you feel like God has put on your heart to give. But like the farmer spreading the seed in the parable of the sower, the more places you spread it, the more opportunity there is for fruit to grow.
So, you might decide to give to more than one international missions organization. If you’ve decided how much you plan to give, you can either give it all to one organization for a greater impact in one area, or you can break it up and give smaller amounts to more than one, and touch people’s lives in more areas.
Step 8: Decide How to Give
The first consideration in how to give is whether to give a one-time gift or to give monthly. One-time gifts can usually be larger, but they also make it harder for the organization to plan ahead since there is no guarantee future gifts will keep happening. Monthly giving provides more stability for the organization.
In general, iBAM recommends giving monthly. This makes you part of the mission you’re supporting. You are in it for the long haul. You are committed to winning people for Christ through that organization. But there are situations where one-time gifts work great as well, such as meeting a particular and time-sensitive need.
Next, you need to decide whether to give to the organization’s general fund, or to a specific missionary. Again, both have merits.
Supporting the general fund gives the organization flexibility to use the money wherever it is needed most. This matters a lot as situations are frequently shifting and changing. But, individual missionaries also need their own supporters to provide for their daily and ministry needs, just like Paul and Jesus had supporters in the Bible.
By supporting a specific missionary, you will get more connected to their work and what they’re doing.
Both approaches are valid and good. It just depends once again on where you believe God is leading you.
Should iBAM Be on Your List of Organizations to Support?
iBAM helps strengthen new churches and disciple-making movements in other nations through business entrepreneurship.
We provide believers in these countries the skills and business coaching to start and launch what we call ‘kingdom businesses.’ These businesses are real businesses, like any others you see. They might sell food, clothing, handbags, or anything else. But they are run by local Christians taking an active role in making disciples in their communities and beyond.
People need jobs. They need income. And churches and ministries need local economic support. They can’t forever feed off donations from across the world. Business ownership among their own congregations provides financial stability, as well as community stability, because these businesses can also provide jobs to others in the church. And they can serve as ministry outlets as well.
As churches start and grow, their members need income. And through their businesses, local entrepreneurs can use that influence in the community to create big change. This is ultimately how you fight things like poverty, sanitation problems, youth despair, and many needs that other international missions organizations are valiantly addressing. With flourishing local businesses – owned by Christians in local churches in these nations – entire communities can transform.
That’s iBAM’s part in global missions.
If that little description gets you excited, add us to your list of potential organizations to support.
Then, join our email newsletter (where you’ll receive From Refugee to Cornerstone, a short eBook about a former Muslim who became a Christian entrepreneur), and see where God leads you.