Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wycliffe Wednesday: An Asset, or a Liability?

Wycliffe needs people to do a huge variety of jobs around the world, including many within the US. One of the things that is extremely difficult for new Wycliffe members is to raise support for a stateside assignment, because somehow it doesn't seem like it's "real" missionary work to those they talk to. People often expect Wycliffe workers in the US to be paid, even if they are fully behind supporting missionaries who go to other countries.
Recently, I shared some thoughts about this with a Wycliffe member who is raising support to join our Customer Service Team in Orlando, and I thought I'd share them here as well. Hopefully this can give some of our readers a little different perspective on one aspect of missions than they may have had before. The following is the email that I wrote:
I wanted to write and share my experience in the hope that it can help you talk to people. I am actually a paid employee who is moving to a supported status, and here’s the way I summarized my reasons for myself:
“Wycliffe doesn't create a product that generates its income; it relies on donations and members' regular financial support to keep it afloat. My salary as a paid employee is being paid for by the members who raise support. In other words, in putting everything Wycliffe operates and owns on a balance sheet, my current paid job would go in the expense category. It's a necessary expense, certainly, but at the same time I am not an asset, I am an expense. By raising support, I will be able to be a contributing asset to the organization, instead of a constant drain on its resources.”
Their perspective of it being “expensive” to support you overlooks the fact that without churches giving to supported members such as you, we would not have the resources to pay anyone! They may need to have the perspective that they are supporting Wycliffe through you as a vessel; not merely paying you personally to do a job. Them supporting you to be on our team will free up resources to pay to fill other critical positions that are currently empty (example: we currently don’t even have a network administrator position filled, because we do not have the resources to pay anyone to fill it. That one has really hurt us a lot recently). That is why we are eager to have you come to join our team!
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