In contrast to the business world, service normally results in expense, not financial increase, to the missionary. However, the assets for such service are unlimited, because they are God's. God owns it all, ". . .the world is Mine, and all that is in it." (Ps. 50:12; 24:1). The silver and gold are God's (Haggai 2:8). The world is God's by virtue of creation (Col. 1:16). "God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." (2 Cor. 9:8, quotations are from the NIV).
The problem is how to tap into God's resources. Many are the missionary fund-raising strategies. Seminars and books explain road-tested principles for raising support. There is "friend-raising." The focus is upon developing friends--serving people, and the outcome is often donors. One missionary related how he stayed up into the middle of the night primarily listening to the needs of hosts and showing genuine concern. The upshot, at the end of the vignette, was that two people became donors (Wherever Magazine, Winter, 1994). The motives of the missionary cannot be assailed, since any motives, beyond being of service, were not stated. But the method of serving people, it was noted, resulted in donors.
Before teaching cross-culturally, and particularly where suspicion of other cultures is strong, we must focus first upon relationship building with leaders/gatekeepers as a prerequisite for opportunities. Who are these? A missionary proverb is: “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Ray Bakke, urban missiologist, notes that knowledge will only intimidate unless there is a good relationship with students.
First the sin of Adam, the head of the human race (Genesis 3), has been judicially laid at the feet of all his offspring. Romans 5:12 says “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned” (NIV). How that sin is transmitted is debated, physically or judicially. Although human genetic structure was probably altered in some way--the Bible says that we are all guilty with Adam’s guilt, even coming out of the womb (Psalm 51:5), which is the judgment of God. A Barna survey found that 74% of Americans reject the idea that they come into the world as sinners (“Americans Draw Theological Beliefs From Diverse Points of View,” 10/8/02, Barna Research Online).