A Sustainable Network
Supported by a Community
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod has called me to be a missionary based in Hong Kong serving in Asia and the Pacific. Our church sends missionaries using the Network Supported Model (NSM).
The Network Supported Missionary
Previously, the LCMS would support missionaries from mission giving to the International Center. Sadly, this could not last. For various reasons laid out in this link here, the bottom fell out of that funding model in the first decade of the 21st century.
So, in 2006, the LCMS piloted the NSM and officially adopted the program in 2008 for all incoming missionaries.
What does this mean? As always, LCMS missionaries visit with congregations and individuals, sharing what Christ is doing around the world, and offering listeners opportunities to invest their support in this work.
But now missionaries establish a sustainable network of support before they deploy to the field. They look for financial support, prayer support, volunteer support, and more. The Advancement Office at the International Center (headquarters of the LCMS) monitors the health of each missionary’s network.
Once a missionary has received enough support, once the network is healthy enough to sustain them in the field, they receive the “green light” and begin preparations to deploy to their field of service.
A Healthy Network
Since prayer support and volunteer support cannot be easily measured (if at all), financial support provides the best measure for determining the sustainability of a network. A healthy, sustainable network provides for the missionary so that he can focus on Christ’s work in the region.
A healthy network supports the missionary in an ongoing way through partnerships. Ideally, a missionary’s network will have 90% recurring monthly gifts or annual pledges while the remaining 10% will come from special gifts.
For that reason, an Network Supported Missionary will emphasize partnerships. In such relationships, the missionary remains in regular contact with his network, allowing them to see how they are participating in Christ’s work abroad.
The financial support required to keep a missionary in the field can be staggering. Most missionaries have a profile (financial goal) in the $150K–$200K range, and some raising even more. The number sounds astounding, but when you break it down in categories by monthly supporters, it’s much more manageable.
Consider the images on the right of this page. This represents both my current network and the support I have not yet received. When broken down this way, a network that provides 90% recurring gifts—an extremely healthy network—only requires 145 partners at various levels.
That’s amazing: a $200K financial goal requires only 145 families and individuals giving at different levels.
Let me explain a few things about the diagram. This does not represent one time gifts. My family and I are grateful for every gift we receive. They are necessary to our work; without them, we could not deploy. We simply do not know if a special gift will be repeated. We work together with the LCMS to build a sustainable, healthy network that allows us to focus on Christ’s work without repeated trips stateside to gather more support.
I have represented annual pledges in the diagram to the right by dividing them by 12 and rounding to the nearest category. Once again, this is only when someone has pledged annual support over time.
The church icons on the bottom represent congregations who have partnered with us. As congregations partner with us, that will increase the health of the network. Increased congregational partnerships indicate a very healthy network.
What Can You Do?
Head over to our Partner With Us page and join us on this journey. Or, if you want to support work somewhere else, head over to The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Missionary Support page. Find a missionary. Partner with the LCMS to send a missionary. You can sign up for monthly deductions from your checking account or credit card. Annual pledges provide another way to support Christ's work abroad.
If you decide to partner with the LCMS to send us, I will adjust the diagram in the sidebar of this page. Watch our support network grow. Join us in proclaiming Christ and Him crucified for the sins of the world.
Thank you for your support.
the Askins in Asia Network:
55 of 145
14 Congregational Partners
Partners at $25/month
Partners at $50/month
Partners at $100/month
Partners at $200/month
Partners at $500/month
Fourteen churches have partnered with us in this work. They are also represented above in their general level of support, though it's not exact. As noted elsewhere, their annual giving is divided by 12 and then rounded to the nearest level.
If your congregation might be interested a long term partnership, please contact me about having a visit.
Use the form here to ask any questions you might have. I'll reply as soon as I have a chance. Thank you for taking the time to contact us.