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.
You can email Mike at [email protected] for more info on any of the topics above.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
blogs by the Stewardship team and selected guest writers.