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Anthony John Thornton

Questions about deputation

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HC, am am a bit puzzled where you said;  "Not every church can handle something like that". For a sending  church to collect offerings and disperse them to a missionary is not a hardship, it is no different than paying bills like electric and heat. If a church has a treasurer it would be a small thing for them to cut a check for their missionary each month, just like they would do for any missionary they support.

Granted, missionary support should be held in a separate account so there is no co-mingling of monies, but it isn't hard to do. There may even be cases where churches send directly to the missionary, but my experience has been where mission support is sent to the sending church and they disperse it.

Of course I may be misunderstanding what, or why you said that. It's 2:30 am here and I'm probably not at my best.

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15 hours ago, Alan said:

Jim brought up a valid point that I am compelled to add thereunto.

1. Some boards require the missionary to set apart, usually every month, funds for retirement. These funds are usually either kept by the board or in an account set up by the board. Depending on the board, if the missionary leaves the board before his retirement the funds are forfeited.

2. Some boards require the missionaries to set up other funds: housing, furlough, emergency funds, etc. Depending on the rules of the board, the board, or its representative,  has the final say so if the missionary receives these funds when the missionary requests these funds.

3. If the missionary purchases a house on the foreign field, some boards require the missionary to have the house in the name of board, or its legal representative on the field.

For your information. Most boards have a "Field Representative," or some other setup, in order to have personal contact with the missionary. The "Field Representative" is in effect a controlling factor over the missionary. For Taiwan, most boards have a "legal" representative that holds title to the house and not the missionary.

Depending on the board, if the missionary leaves the board than the house is not his. In other words, he loses the house.

4. Insurance. Most boards require the missionary to have Health insurance through the board or a Insurance Company recommended by the board. If the missionary leaves the board than there is a strong possibility that the Health Insurance is forfeited and the missionary may be required to pay for medical expenses out of his own pocket.

5. Most boards have the final say so in any situation not covered by the rules.

Conclusion.

Just about every board has its own rules. The missionary normally learns of these rules at Candidate School. If the board changes in doctrine, integrity, or in organization, than the missionary either changes with the board or he is asked to leave and forfeit his benefits accumulated during his tenure with the board.

Alan

Literally everything you mentioned in your points is reason enough to not use a board. One board I just talked to said their administrative fee is 300 a month. That could be rent on the field. The changing of doctrine scares me most. Also, one consideration in favor of using a board is having that "clout" or vetting while on deputation. I would imagine it would be harder to get support without a board's backing. 

 

I thank the Lord He has given me much over my life. I don't have to worry about insurance (but then it could always change) because after I was wounded by an IED in 2005, I was put on medical hold. I was medically retired years later with Tricare Select. It used to be called Tricare Standard. 

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8 hours ago, Jim_Alaska said:

HC, am am a bit puzzled where you said;  "Not every church can handle something like that". For a sending  church to collect offerings and disperse them to a missionary is not a hardship, it is no different than paying bills like electric and heat. If a church has a treasurer it would be a small thing for them to cut a check for their missionary each month, just like they would do for any missionary they support.

Granted, missionary support should be held in a separate account so there is no co-mingling of monies, but it isn't hard to do. There may even be cases where churches send directly to the missionary, but my experience has been where mission support is sent to the sending church and they disperse it.

Of course I may be misunderstanding what, or why you said that. It's 2:30 am here and I'm probably not at my best.

it's not just cutting a cheque, though. Depending on the country of origin, the country they're heading to, and the missionary/church's own 'standing', for lack of a better word, there may be:

a. income taxes/deductions to be calculated and sent to the government 

b. if the missionary is out of the county, the sending church/board may need to handle the personal tax forms on their behalf as well

c. handling any issues that arise as a result of said deductions (dealing with the taxman is no joke!).

d. maintaining any necessary legal paperwork - what about things like maintaining health coverage for when they're back in country (this even from a Canadian perspective with social medicine - I imagine there would be documentation needed to maintain US health insurance as well)? what legal paperwork might a foreign country want completed from the sending church/board?

e. handling/investing retirement funds on their behalf, if applicable (IMO, it's a good thing for a missionary to save for retirement, just like anyone else)

f. reporting monies received back to donating churches, creating income tax receipts if applicable, handling the charitable status side of things there (man, am I glad our church is not a charity. That's a whole 'nother mess).

These things require time, knowledge and a certain attention to detail. From my experience, even cutting a cheque to pay them can get messed up badly merely from having a poorly-trained church secretary handling them. How many of our churches - especially up here in Canada - have the funds or available persons to pay/find an experienced financial secretary? 

I'm not making a statement for/against boards, just pointing out that there are a lot of legal, financial, and legislative details that can go into properly handling something like this. I personally think very few of our little western Canadian churches would be in a position to properly handle this.

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I took over the Secretary/Treasurer position in our church a couple years ago. Something I can't figure out is - in this day and age of electronic communication, WHY are our churches still sending cheques? It would be so much faster and more efficient to use eTransfers, credit cards, and other forms of electronic payment. It would be especially nice when sending support funds to US-based missionaries. US banks are woefully behind when it comes to handling out-of-country cheques. 

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1 hour ago, Salyan said:

I took over the Secretary/Treasurer position in our church a couple years ago. Something I can't figure out is - in this day and age of electronic communication, WHY are our churches still sending cheques? It would be so much faster and more efficient to use eTransfers, credit cards, and other forms of electronic payment. It would be especially nice when sending support funds to US-based missionaries. US banks are woefully behind when it comes to handling out-of-country cheques. 

Alberta, Canada? If so, I believe the Lord to be possibly calling me there. 

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7 hours ago, Jim_Alaska said:

HC, am am a bit puzzled where you said;  "Not every church can handle something like that". For a sending  church to collect offerings and disperse them to a missionary is not a hardship, it is no different than paying bills like electric and heat. If a church has a treasurer it would be a small thing for them to cut a check for their missionary each month, just like they would do for any missionary they support.

Granted, missionary support should be held in a separate account so there is no co-mingling of monies, but it isn't hard to do. There may even be cases where churches send directly to the missionary, but my experience has been where mission support is sent to the sending church and they disperse it.

Of course I may be misunderstanding what, or why you said that. It's 2:30 am here and I'm probably not at my best.

Salyan pretty well summed it up. There is much more to it than simply collecting the offerings and dispersing them. The sending church that also takes care of the monies is not just a money conduit. 

The church we used to attend is quite a large church. The pastor and staff decided to handle things directly with several of their missionaries. They had a secretary who basically did nothing but the missions stuff. And it was a LOT of work. By the time we were looking at going to Ireland, the pastor had decided not to be the "clearinghouse" for any more missionaries - even though sent out of the church. That is why he only recommended FBWWM (he had quite a bit of experience with other boards...including one major one which, when he had to pull a missionary from the field due to some serious sin problems, that board ignored what he said and took the missionary on...FBWWM does not do that. They do what the pastor says.). I talked with the lady who had been doing the work...she explained to me just a little bit of what she had to do, and believe me it was more than just collecting and dispersing. It is in all actuality a lot different from paying bills. 

Our church is quite small, and so the pool of workers is not large. The 2 ladies who count the $ and do the reports are quite good at what they do. Both have in the past been involved in jobs where they were required to do the finances. One of those ladies is my mom. As I said, she is good. But she is also going to be 80 years old this spring, and there are issues just based on her age. And so, when it is time to do financial reports, a lot of my time is spent helping her. Do I mind that? Of course not. But it does cause issues when I am in the middle of schooling my niece or doing other needed church work and have to stop for an hour (or usually more - for several days) to help my mom. There is no way, no way, she could handle the work needed for us to be the complete package for a missionary. Neither could the other lady, who is on her way to 70 years old and has a lot of health issues personally and with her family (her daughter is terminally ill and requires a lot of her attention).  I do not like messing with finances. I could do it if I had to, but I honestly do not want to because I don't like it  LOL (and I think it's better if the pastor's wife isn't the one doing the counting/depositing, etc.). And there is no way I want to get into having to be involved in the legal work required, the tax returns (because that is something the church we attended did and does do for the missionaries for whom they disperse monies), etc., etc. I am very busy with what I have to do and honestly cannot take on something like that. That might sound like a cop-out, but it isn't.  Now that my niece is gearing up to graduate, I will have "free time," but that is a vacuum that will be quickly filled with other responsibilities for church (already in the wings, waiting for me).

I give honor where it is due to those who answer the call to the foreign field. There are days when I wonder where life would be for us right now had we gone on to Ireland (we know now it wasn't God's will, but our experience sure has given us some understanding of what missionaries go through as they gear up for deputation). I don't regret not going, for sure (well, I would LOVE to visit Ireland...maybe one day =D ). Whether a missionary goes through a board or their church sends them completely, or they go through a clearinghouse, I'm glad they're on the field. 

(BTW - I just wanted to say that we truly appreciated candidate school. They have veteran missionaries come in to teach the noobs about things that you and I just don't think about needing to learn or be aware of. It's actually a good resource.)

 

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57 minutes ago, Anthony John Thornton said:

Alberta, Canada? If so, I believe the Lord to be possibly calling me there. 

Yes! Really? That would be very cool. There's a lot of empty spaces between churches up here. Any particular area?

I don't know whether you have contacts up here already, but I can give you some contacts if you'd like, or steer you toward any western Canadian events that may be useful to attend (if you come for a survey trip). Our church has done some church planting - we've reproduced five Alberta churches over the past twenty years or so - and our pastor emeritus, Dave Harness, serves on the board of the Baptist Church Planting Ministry Canada. About ten years ago, we got to help a US missionary coming to Alberta by being their home base for a year while they got acclimatized to Alberta, and then helped with the new church plant. I still go visit them in Hinton any chance I get. 

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3 minutes ago, Salyan said:

Yes! Really? That would be very cool. There's a lot of empty spaces between churches up here. Any particular area?

I don't know whether you have contacts up here already, but I can give you some contacts if you'd like, or steer you toward any western Canadian events that may be useful to attend (if you come for a survey trip). Our church has done some church planting - we've reproduced five Alberta churches over the past twenty years or so - and our pastor emeritus, Dave Harness, serves on the board of the Baptist Church Planting Ministry Canada. About ten years ago, we got to help a US missionary coming to Alberta by being their home base for a year while they got acclimatized to Alberta, and then helped with the new church plant. I still go visit them in Hinton any chance I get. 

What an incredible blessing on all fronts! Any information would be invaluable! I have no contacts but some I will be contacting soon. I have had, on my mind, Calgary. The Drop-In Rehab Centre (Center lol) is located in Calgary, and I believe that to be an incredible segue into giving the Gospel AND being a servant. Old Paths Baptist Church is a church I plan to contact soon. I'd go on deputation, link up with a church in the area, work with them, and perhaps begin a church plant in due time. The other thing that I believe the Lord is leading me towards is teaching, in a literal sense. It could very well end up as both. The Lord's will be done! 

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Salyan and HC. Thanks for your detailed explanation. My experience in this area has been very limited, mainly to the church I was a member of in Alaska. In that instance many of the things you outlined were taken care of exclusively by the missionary. If our missionaries wanted or needed things such as health insurance or retirement they provided for those things themselves. It was the same with any taxes.

I do agree that outside of the U.S. in a foreign country it could get complicated, but I have no idea about that simply because each country may be unique in that respect.

Thanks again for your explanation, I learned something.

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I'm a missionary sent out of my local church.  My home church receives and handles all my support and transfer funds to me as needed (bi-monthly set amount or as I request additional funds). My church set up a bank account with my name on it, but the finance team has access to it so they can transfer the funds as needed. Other than that they don't touch the money in that account.  The church handles my income tax forms and helped with the legal paperwork that I needed to get my missionary visa, and as it was a learning experience for both the church and myself, there were some hiccups along the way as we learned what each of our legal responsibilities were. 

Whether a missionary chooses to go through a board, clearinghouse, or local church, they should put a lot of prayer into that decision and allow God to direct their steps.

 

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10 hours ago, Rebecca said:

I'm a missionary sent out of my local church.  My home church receives and handles all my support and transfer funds to me as needed (bi-monthly set amount or as I request additional funds). My church set up a bank account with my name on it, but the finance team has access to it so they can transfer the funds as needed. Other than that they don't touch the money in that account.  The church handles my income tax forms and helped with the legal paperwork that I needed to get my missionary visa, and as it was a learning experience for both the church and myself, there were some hiccups along the way as we learned what each of our legal responsibilities were. 

Whether a missionary chooses to go through a board, clearinghouse, or local church, they should put a lot of prayer into that decision and allow God to direct their steps.

 

Did you find receiving support difficult? 

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15 hours ago, Anthony John Thornton said:

Did you find receiving support difficult? 

Yes, but not in the area of being sent out of my local church. As I went out on deputation and later furlough, the vast majority of pastors I talked with were very pleased with my decision to go through my local church and not a board. I primarily visited churches located in the midwest and Michigan, so I'm not sure what pastors elsewhere in the country would say about it. As far as my church being able to send me finances as we have it set up, it has not been an issue once we figured out how to transfer the funds. 

Although I don't know the legal differences -if any- between Alberta and Ontario concerning missionary visas, I know a missionary family in Toronto, Canada you might want to get in touch with, they may be able to speak to you about how to come to Canada as a missionary or any other questions you may have concerning boards (I believe they went out of BIMI). I hope it helps.

Cory and April McTague email: (messaged)

Edited by Salyan
edited to hide email address from bots

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