Coffee and Salt…

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My friend Taylor was in Ethiopia on a mission trip (click here to read his account). A major part of the culture is drinking coffee, which is wonderful! Part of the tradition is a spoon of sugar into every cup. Even when they visited mud huts the group was served coffee. Of course many were too poor to afford a luxury like sugar, so instead they would add a spoonful of salt! … Startling, huh?

Startling to consider the taste of Salt Coffee…

Startling to consider sugar, which we can have in excess and do not even consider buying in 5 pound bags, is a luxury…

To jump: Taylor is a pastor in San Angelo, Texas. His church is a CBF church like our own, but has also sent missionaries out. A first it was a single man with a vision. He designed a simple way to dig wells in developing countrys. If you go through World Vision a traditional well costs $5300 , but the materials for his well cost only $300. It is labor intensive, but labor is readily available…

The ministry has spread and now includes multiple missionaries in both Ethiopia and Bolivia (click here to go to their ministry). All the while Taylor’s church has been the main supporter of the ministry (covering 80, plus insurance for all the missionaries). The churches portion is over $200,000 every year.

When I heard that number (knowing his church was smaller than ours), I asked about their budget and how much they give to Baptist missions. The total was 1.2 million and they give 10 percent to the convention. Now the math is pretty simple, 120,000 (10%) plus 200,000 is 320,000. Now the 200,000 is not from the general budget, so the complete budget would be 1.4 million (1,200,000 plus 200,000). If we take 320,000 divided into 1,400,000 the answer is 22.9%!

I do not have the exact amount we give to missions (Lavinia is out, so I will find out on Monday), but I know it is not nearly 20 percent… I am not even sure that it is ten. ***

As we move throughout this year and into the future, I wonder what numbers should be in our budget? What percentage should be going toward missions?

How startling would it be if we doubled our missions giving? Of course we would have to give up a lot…

*** Here is Lavinia’s outline: The budget gives 10% to missions ($340,000). The green envelope and other gifts total $191,000. This is a grand total of 531,000 out of 3,591,000 (budget plus other gifts, no counting capital campaign), making a percentage of 14.8%. Which is much better than I expected. Yet there is a caveat. Not all of our budget money goes to what would typically be labeled missions (Of course the definition of missions can be very wide, including nearly everything we do. So what is “typical”? In my understanding missions go beyond the walls of the church, in service of people other than our members.). For instance the television ministry is part of missions budget ($149,900), as is youth choir trips ($29,000). There are also smaller numbers that could be debated, but I will not list those. Taking out the two I listed, the grand total to missions is now 353,000. Which is just below 10% (9.8) and closer to what I expected. But on a positive note, the actually giving was less than Budget (3,066,000 – I guess “positive” is debatable!). When we use this number, with the addition of all the mission gifts (making 3,257,000). This makes the percentage 10.8%.

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