This ebook by Howard Culbertson was originally published by what is now The Foundry under ISBN number 083-411-4186. This NMI mission book has been somewhat updated for this eBook version.
I've always loved Nazarene General Assemblies. The first one I remember attending was in 1960. I was 13 years old. I sat there in Kansas City's Municipal Auditorium, enthralled. I recall looking down on the delegates with dismay as they agreed to raise the church voting age from 12 to 15. That day, they took my voting rights away. Still, I loved it all. One of my favorite areas was the exhibit hall. There were displays from countries around the world. In 1903, Nazarene founder Phineas F. Bresee wrote: "The impulse of the sanctified heart ... is to preach the gospel to every creature." That seemed very evident as I wandered through that display area.
Four years later my teenage faith swelled again. I went to Portland, Oregon. There I marveled at the huge numbers of Nazarenes at another General Assembly. Very few organizations in the world have business meetings where 800 delegates go, accompanied by 20,000 or more spectators. That happens at our General Assemblies. It's obvious we're a family. I liked being part of something big, where so many people join hands to carry out the Great Commission.
God has used the Church of the Nazarene in marvelous ways around the world. Hundreds of thousands have come to know Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit through our movement. The holy lifestyle of the people called Nazarenes has influenced the lives of countless thousands. Part of the driving force behind our outreach and accomplishments for the Kingdom has been an aggressive evangelistic spirit. A good deal of the credit goes to our two-track missions giving system.
World Evangelism Fund has been the lifeblood. Based on the idea that churches can do more working together than they can by working individually, World Evangelism Fund has sent missionaries to the field. It has opened Bible schools. It has put up clinics and dispensaries. It has put together a support team at the Global Ministry Center. Nazarenes worldwide give to the World Evangelism Fund to support our common missionary task. That's not all. The World Evangelism Fund has been balanced with Approved Specials, Alabaster, Radio, Work & Witness, Deferred Giving, and other extras.
Through the years, we've done some experimenting to elicit the resources to fulfill Christ's Great Commission. Naturally, we still have weaknesses we're looking to shore up. On the whole, however, our balanced fundraising has some awesome strengths. We've tried to keep our attack balanced. We've worked hard at increasing our attacks on satanic strongholds.
When we went to Italy years ago, one of the things I had to give up was American football. Italian schools do not play football. Back then, there was never an American football game on Italian television. I could not interest anyone in the neighborhood in a touch football game in the park. Soccer, maybe. But not football. While I was sad to leave the sport of football behind, I did discover an even better balanced attack, that of Nazarene fund-raising for missions.
If in the future we are to fulfill our part of the Great Commission, we must see an even greater commitment of funds than we have ever seen. We must do it. I believe we can. Elizabeth Vennum was instrumental in NMI fund-raising through the years. Not long before she passed away, she wrote that in the face of a God-given challenge, we could respond in three different ways:
This third option is what has happened over the years as Nazarenes have given to global evangelism. We have not focused on raising a lot of money from a few wealthy givers. It's not wealthy people who have made the difference. Rather, those motley collections of day laborers, short-order cooks, and widows called Nazarenes have given sacrificially to "pay" their World Evangelism Fund and provide all those other extras. It's often been akin to that widow's jar of oil where God took what seemed to have been a little and kept multiplying it (2 Kings 4:1-7). Trusting the Lord, Nazarenes have poured out to Him what they had. He has taken that and has multiplied it again and again.
I close this little book by hearkening back to a football analogy: Nazarene financing of world evangelism has been a balanced attack1, and it has worked.
1In the sport of American football, a "balanced attack" refers to an offensive strategy that maintains an equilibrium between passing and running plays.
1. Football and missions giving |
2. Budget: A bad word doing good
3. We called it general, but it's
very specific |
4. Peanut butter and jelly
5. The Nazarene Construction Company
6. I was hungry and you gave
me something |
7. Giving more with less pain
8. Doubling and tripling our investments
9. Cleaning out attics and garages
-- Howard Culbertson,