Q&A With FMD
In an effort to answer some of the questions that often arise concerning missions, the Foreign Missions Department has opened a dialogue with the constituents of the United Pentecostal Church International. The following is only the first few questions that will be addressed. If you have a question that does not appear in this series contact Nancy Shirley at the Foreign Mission office: email@example.com 314 -837-7304 Ext #335
Question: I have heard a lot about the Faith Promise program. Can you explain about this program?
FMD: Faith Promise is an individual commitment to God to give a specific monthly amount to the foreign missions treasury of their local church. The local church is then able to allocate funds from the treasury to various foreign missions needs. Faith Promise is not a pledge. A faith promise is an individual, spiritual covenant between you and God. You are accountable only to God. Faith promise is different than a PIM in that Faith Promise brings the funds into the local missions treasury to support the PIM program. Most churches receive Faith Promise commitments as a part of a special Faith Promise service or their annual missions conference. To schedule a Faith Promise service, contact Kevin Blake, the director of Faith Promise Ministries, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Question: How can we help missionaries get to the field in the shortest possible time?
FMD: Your church can help by having a missionary for a service, giving a good personal offering, and partnering with them as a PIM. Many commit to the Great Commission by sponsoring a traveling missionary on a church off-night. Many pastors also provide for the missionary until his next scheduled service. A church may take on a missionary as a PIM instead of having them for a service and this will be counted as a service for them.
Keep in mind that the missionary family is dependent upon the generosity of the local churches within a district to provide for lodging and meals. Other living expenses must come from the personal offerings received from churches visited. The amount of income needed is dependent upon the family size, method of travel, and other variables common to all North American families. Some travel by motor home, trailer, van or car. Missionary reports indicate daily costs are $200 or more during normal deputation.
Question: If a missionary comes to a local church, what is a suggested missionary offering amount?
FMD: The average missionary offering for a deputation service is over $330. Smaller churches may not be able to give this much, therefore, we ask our larger churches to help out when possible. If a church is unable to give a missionary an amount equal to the average offering, then an offering of any size will always bless the missionary and help to defray his expenses. Consider having the missionary anyway; the Lord has a way of always making up the slack. We have also started a new program in the Foreign Missions Division with our traveling missionaries to help our smaller churches with this dilemma. We call it, “This one’s on us!” Basically it entails the missionary to offer himself to each District Foreign Missions Director and travel to Home Missions, daughter works, and smaller churches, at no expense to that church.
Instead of sitting in a motel with no service the missionary will go to these churches and require no offering or travel expenses and simply bless the church with a missionary service. We have already seen a marked success with this blessing our smaller churches and also the missionary. We want everyone to be able to be involved in the work of reaching the world and we refuse to allow finances to keep that from happening.
Question: Does Foreign Missions have a program to help shorten deputation?
FMD: Yes, a concerted effort has been made to raise support at General Conference, district conferences, camp meetings and other special events. This drastically reduces the amount of deputation travel. Voluntary Increase Pledge (VIP), grants a $10 per month increase in existing church PIM enrollments for missionaries who have twelve or more years of intermediate or career service. Each local church is requested to participate in this program.
Question: Is there now, or possibly in the planning stages, a more effective plan for raising missionary support other than deputation?
FMD: We are constantly working to find a new and better way to shorten the travels of deputation. It is our desire to truly give a furlough to our missionary family when they return home. Please pray with us that the Lord will give us wisdom as we work toward this endeavor.
Question: What is the total percentage deducted from funds for world evangelism center and for FMD administrative cost?
FMD: The Foreign Missions Division deducts 10%. By action of the General Conference, monthly PIM support is subject to the World Evangelism Center (WEC) 4% deduction as well. The total deducted is 14% for administration costs.
Question: What funds are subject to these deductions?
FMD: The 10% administrative deduction applies to all funds sent to headquarters with the exception of missionary love offerings, medical assistance, memorial funds, foreign travel for associated ministers and offerings sent by a foreign donor such as an overseas church.
The 4% WEC deduction applies to monthly PIM support and does NOT apply to funds sent for missionary love offerings, medical assistance, overseas buildings, literature, Bibles, evangelism, memorial funds, missionary equipment and other special projects. Also, the 4% does not apply to AIM support.
Question: How is the Foreign Missions administrative deduction used?
FMD: The Foreign Missions 10% administrative deduction is used to pay the division’s monthly operating expenses. This includes such expenses as staff payroll, telephone expense, printing costs, OnSite, Missions Link and Focal Points printing and mailing costs, General Conference display and missionary orientation costs. It also covers the promotion of fundraising for the missionary family. The 10% administrative deduction is established by action of the General Conference and Foreign Missions Division and is the only division restricted to a defined percentage of gross revenues to cover operating expenses.
Question: Does FMD discourage donors from sending funds directly to on-field missionaries, and if so, why?
FMD: When donors elect to send funds directly to the field, the missionary may be subject to adverse tax consequences. Unless they are able to provide required documentation to the contrary, funds sent direct are considered additional compensation for the missionary, subjecting these monies to taxes.
Question: How are funds transferred from WEC to the missionaries, and is there any accountability on the missionaries part for the funds they receive?
FMD: Funds are disbursed monthly to the missionary family via an allotment process which includes the missionary’s personal compensation, normal housing and work funds. Many missionaries are able to operate from a state- side bank account, so a direct deposit is set up. Others use international wire transfers. Missionaries may requisition for other funds as needs arise. Each missionary is required to file a monthly financial report with the division to give account for the receipt and disbursement of funds. Items of personal compensation are reported as part of the missionary’s gross wages and are handled via normal employee wage reporting to the government. The missionary also properly reports housing allowance items for tax purposes.
To learn more about Foreign Missions go to www.foreignmissions.com.
The above article, “Q&A With FMD,” is written by Tim Pedigo, Director of the Indiana Apostolic Trumpet. The article was published in the October 2009/ January 2010 editions of the Indiana Apostolic Trumpet magazine.