3 mission minutes: Jill, South Africa

By Lucy Slater | 4 March 2014


Jill - 3 mission minutes from Stewardship 

In this month’s 3 mission minutes I speak to Jill Duncan, a Youth worker in Durban. Jill is passionate about supporting and mentoring young people as they start their journey with God.

Jill - working as a Youth Pastor in South Africa must be pretty different to the UK, what keeps you there?

When I came here in 2009 I immediately fell in love with the place. I think it was just that God brought me here but the sub-tropical weather and beaches definitely help! I also find the different cultures and history fascinating and am greatly challenged by the extreme inequalities.


Can you tell us a bit about the young people you work with?

I work with high school aged young people.  There is a wide range of differences in culture and financial circumstances from the wealthy to those with significant financial difficulty.  

Youth camp – this year Jill took 33 (compared to 19 last year)


What has been your biggest surprise?

My biggest surprise, or learning curve, has been the diversity and cultural differences in South Africa compared to the UK. There are 11 official languages here and many different tribal and cultural groups. I’ve spent nearly 3 years here and feel like I’m barely scratching the surface!


And your biggest challenge?

Although my predecessors and I have worked hard to try and get a mix of people from different backgrounds, I would definitely say that racism is ingrained in many people, but that’s not really surprising considering the long history of oppression.  

South Africa faces many complex challenges including inequality, poverty, HIV/AIDs, sexual violence, corruption and a lack of adequate education and healthcare.  Faced with such major issues it’s easy to become disillusioned, and it is difficult as much of what people say which is normal here would be completely unacceptable in the UK. That is why I try to support the young people I spend time with in every way I can, physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. However, as schools become more mixed I think the young people are becoming more understanding of different cultures.

The Christian youth camps we run also bring challenges, especially balancing the different cultural norms and financial restrictions of the economically poorer against the expectations of the wealthier people. We don’t charge for anything other than trips and camps and subsidise for poorer individuals which helps to remove barriers. We funded approximately half the places at the youth camps we ran this year.  


What has God taught you during your time as a Youth Pastor?

Lots! To rely on him and that he will provide (especially financially), the need to be patient and wait for his timing not my own, to be willing to take risks and do different things, listen to him more and do what he says. These are all works in progress, but I have learned a lot over the last few years.


What is your vision for the ministry?

My vision is really just to be obedient to God and do his will, which is obviously easier said than done! My main aims are to help young people to reach their potential and grow into the men and women that God has designed them to be, to encourage tolerance, develop leaders and equip young people to put their faith into action.  Durban has always felt like a permanent calling, but wherever I end up, I hope I’ll still be trying to make a difference in the lives of young people.


a prayer wall from the 24/7 prayer week

If you'd like to support Jill in her work, you can do so by logging into your giving account and searching for 20119802. Alternatively you can create a giving account and set Jill up as your first recipient by clicking here: https://my.give.net/account/create?beneficiary=GN11119802

equipped to go: the top 5 things OSCAR thinks every missionary should know about

By Mike Frith | 4 April 2012 | Comments (1)

OSCAR is the premier online information portal for missionaries. We spoke to its founder - Mike Frith - about the top 5 resources every missionary should know about.

  1. Where to find the Right Opportunity - Some of the first questions anyone has when called to mission work are ‘Where should I go?’, ‘What shall I do?’ and ‘Who with?’. OSCAR lists opportunities from a huge range of mission and overseas Christian organisations ... in fact we list more opportunities in most categories than any other Christian website in the UK. We also link to others who also advertise Christian opportunities, which makes OSCAR a good place to start. See www.oscar.org.uk/vacancies
  2. Where to find the Best Deals – There’s a lot of expenditure even before a missionary gets to the field; like flights, shipping, equipment, medicines etc. Then during home leave or holidays, more finance is needed for renting a house, a car or taking a holiday. For all of these, there are specialist services who can provide you with a good deal, often discounted and tailored to what you want rather than what someone wants to sell you. OSCAR lists many services throughout its website which fall into this category. Just search for what you need.
  3. Where to find People Who Understand – One of the problems in a missionary’s line of work is getting specialised advice and support from people who really understand their situation.  From the practical to the spiritual, OSCAR lists many services offering specialist and expert help in areas likely to come up in the life of a missionary.  This would include general financial advice, tax, insurance, medical treatment, childrens’ education, counselling etc.  As with the first point, just search the OSCAR site for what you need. OSCAR also has an interactive online community of around 400 Christian workers (OSCARactive), so there’s always someone in a similar situation who can offer peer-to-peer advice or share experiences.
  4. How to get your Church Onboard – There are some good resources to help you with raising personal support. Stewardship provides some great help in this area, including the ‘Funding the Family Business’ course. But what about getting your church onboard? ‘Serving as Senders’ is the title of a key book which helps churches grasp their responsibilities and opportunities for being involved in the life and ministry of the people they send. There is also a day course based on the book which can be conducted right in your supporting church to help get everyone on board. See www.oscar.org.uk/training
  5. Help with Re-entry & Retirement – Re-entry is an important time. It’s also a time when missionaries can feel the least supported. When you return from overseas or retire from mission work, OSCAR continues to help you when others might think you don’t need it. We list services which can help you find a car, buy a house, find a church, link up with other returned missionaries ... you name it. We also have info about courses, retreats and services which can offer advice during this important time. Again, just search OSCAR for what you need or email us and we’ll help you find it.


You can email Mike at [email protected] for more info on any of the topics above.

new support for Christian workers

By Alexandra Khan | 8 February 2012

Help is on the way - Cory Doctorow

image by Cory Doctorow, used under Creative Commons Licence.

In 2011, we set out to discover how we could support Christian workers more effectively. We conducted two surveys and asked a range of questions relating to personal finances, budgeting, income, savings and lifestyle. It came as no real surprise to learn that Christian workers are living on far less than average income, and are often receiving less financial support than they need.


You can read the full survey summaries and results here:


Christian worker survey summary #1


Christian worker survey summary #2


How we're going to help:


This year Stewardship will oversee a substantial increase in free resources for Christian workers, based on what you shared with us in the surveys. From free training days about support-raising, to downloadable guides about pensions and savings, we’re aiming to equip and help Christian workers so that they can be effective in their calling.


Free training days... if you’re in full time Christian work, we believe you should always feel confident and equipped with your finances and personal support raising, whether you are brand new to the work or long established. But we know it isn’t easy, which is why we now run regular, free, ‘training days’ at our offices in Loughton, Essex.  Designed to cover the biblical basis for support-raising, technical issues such as taxation and practical subjects like budgeting or using social media effectively. You also get a great Stewardship lunch thrown in for free and the chance to have a sneak peak behind the scenes!

One visitor from last year commented:

“It was an invaluable opportunity to meet fellow workers in very different fields – it gave a refreshing perspective on my work; seeing the bigger picture. I’d encourage others to attend.”

Free resources... The first of our free resources is entitled ‘Finance for Living’. In this three-part series, Myles Wilson (founder and author of Funding the Family Business) discusses the key issues of support raising, and asks two vital questions – ‘how much is enough?’ And ‘to ask or not to ask?’. As well as tackling the practical ways to approach finances, Myles looks at the psychological barriers that often prevent Christian workers from asking for support.

Download the Finance for Living series directly from this blog, or head to the Christian worker area of our website to download them from there. Please note, the Finance for Living series is in PDF format requiring Adobe Reader. This is free and can be obtained here.

27% of Christian workers earn less than 10,000 pounds, our survey reports

By Alexandra Khan | 9 December 2011 | Comments (1)

zending collection box

Our recent international survey of full-time Christian mission workers has revealed that 27% of those surveyed rely on an annual income of £10,000 or below.

Of those Christian workers who took part, the average income for survey respondents was revealed to stand in the region of £15,000 per year.  This is at a time when the average salary in the UK is reported to be £27,415 (Source: PayScale).

When queried on perceptions of a ‘suitable’ level of income; mission workers regarded an annual income in the region of £21,500 would be adequate in meeting their financial needs and those of their family. The results of the survey conducted by Christian charity Stewardship, an organisation who supports a network of over 2500 individuals in or studying for ministry, serve as a reminder that the financial needs of many Christian mission workers around the world are not being sufficiently met.

Michael O’Neill, Chief Executive of Stewardship comments;

“The figures from our latest international survey suggests that a large percentage of Christian mission workers are surviving on an income which is a third less than they require.  As an organisation we are committed to seeing mission work generously resourced, however these survey results will certainly challenge Christian mission workers, their supporters, sending agencies and churches and reveals that we still have a long way to go.”

Read the full survey breakdown here.


our Christian Worker Survey: the results

By Alexandra Khan | 12 August 2011 | Comments (1)

At the beginning of the year we asked some of our registered Christian Workers to answer a few questions and help us make some wise decisions.  We were delighted that over 200 of them did.

You can find the full report here, but we pulled out three key statistics that are particularly illuminating:

  • A third of Christian Workers said that money is the biggest worry in ministry
  • Only half of them are able to set aside anything for the future
  • Over half of them have a degree of difficulty in communicating the need for personal expenses

The responses in this survey have clearly indicated that there are a number of issues commonly facing Christian Workers which need to be unpacked further.

If you support a Christian Worker through your giving, have you considered how they might be planning to fund a pension? Do you hear them speak openly about any financial difficulty they may be experiencing?

If you are a Christian Worker, can you identify with any of the key findings? What would you say are the financial challenges you'd most like to communicate to your supporters?

If you receive our Piggy Bank newsletter because you are a Christian Worker or Bible College Student, please click on the link inside the latest edition to complete the second survey - your views really will help to shape the services that Stewardship provides to recipients. Results of the second survey will be available later in the year.

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