Mission Agencies

Mission Agencies - Unbiblical & Obsolete

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Mission Agencies

Mission AgenciesAlso known as mission boards, mission agencies are organizations that send and support missionaries. Minimalist mission agencies process donations for the missionaries and make them tax deductible for the donors, while full service mission agencies hire and manage missionaries as employees, and provide these service:

• Screen and qualify prospective missionaries.
• Train and counsel the missionary prior to deployment.
• Facilitate visas and other legal requirements for residing overseas.
• Guide the missionary (& family) through vaccinations, insurance and other preparations.
• Coordinate flights, cargo shipments, airport pick ups and transfers.

• Refer language training options, and school options for the children.
• Counsel the missionary and family as they settle in and get acclimated.

• Receive and forward donations and issue tax deductible receipts.
• Receive and evaluate activity reports and expenditures.
• Visit the missionary once is a while.
• Pray and encourage.


1.  Mission agencies are becoming obsolete.

Mission agencies were created centuries ago when missionaries and letters traveled by ship and information about distant mission fields was hard to get. Today, missionaries can search online and handle the task in the five bullet points highlighted above on their own.

2.  Mission agencies are extra-Biblical.

The missionaries in the Bible were called, sent out, and encouraged by God (Acts 18:9-11, 23:11). In obedience to His command, the church in Antioch prayed for Paul and Barnabas and sent them on their way (Acts 13:1-4), and upon their return heard what the Lord had done through them (Acts 14:24-27). But Paul and Barnabas also "reported" to the church in Jerusalem (Acts 15:2-4), and Paul received financial support from the church in Philippi. Praying for and supporting missionaries are the Biblical roles of churches, not fee-charging mission agencies.

3.  Most mission agencies fleece missionaries and donors.

Even minimalist mission agencies that only process donations, for the most part passively and electronically, charge a 6-12% commission (on top of 3-5% credit card fees). The more donations the missionaries receive, the more money the mission agencies make, so they pressure the missionaries to constantly beg their supporters to give more; the missionaries' actual missionary work becomes not the end but the means to boosting the income of the agencies' owners, some of whom even contact the missionaries' supporters and directly pressure them to also support their other missionaries and/or their own operations.

Some mission agencies outright lie. They add a "Please also support the agency that cares for your missionary" donation box next to or just below the donation box for the missionary, and instruct the missionaries to not reveal to their supporters that the agency already takes a cut of their donations to the missionaries. Others claim their credit card processing fee is higher than the actual and pocket the difference.

Most mission agencies neither publish nor answer questions about the salaries of their top officials. Most small agencies are led by members of the same family who have extravagant titles to justify bloated salaries that allow them to live at least comfortably in the West from the Lord's resources intended for the frontlines.

4.  Mission agencies keep unqualified missionaries in the field.

To increase and protect their income, many agencies accept unqualified missionaries (see how to become a missionary and why missionaries return early), pressure them to stay in the field even when they say they want to return home, and cover up scandals (see Ethnos360, Voice of the Martyrs, International Mission Board).

It should be noted that cross-cultural missionaries need to be resourceful. Those who require the hand holding services listed above, which require extra resources and raise the cost for everyone else, don't last long in the field. Missionaries who are not called or empowered by God don't bear fruit even with support from mission agencies.

5.  Mission agencies slow down the performing missionaries.

Missionaries who don't need their hands held tend to be the ones who do the most work and bear the most fruit. Instead of letting them focus on laboring in the field, mission agencies bog them down with incessant demands to file reports, write newsletters even when there is nothing new to report, beg for funds, etc., as well as with the need to deal with petty politics and bureaucracy.


1.  Churches must take up again their God-given responsibility and privilege of praying for and supporting missionaries.

2.  Shut down the vast majority of mission agencies.

3.  Create and keep a few agencies that charge a very small fee to process donations for the missionaries and make them tax deductible for the donors. If you have or create such an agency, please advise to have your ministry featured and web linked.

4.  Do not contact, let alone pressure, donors to give (more). It is God's prerogative to move the hearts of those entrusted with His money.