Last weekend—in between huge shopping days, Black Friday and Cyber Monday—small businesses were spotlighted on Small Business Saturday. That's pretty tough competition. How do you compete with a stampede of "blowout deals" and stay-at-home shoppers who don't have to pay sales tax?
Last Sunday I visited a good-sized local church who were featuring a well-known, multi-million dollar international mission. From what I know, this mission is a good organization doing a good work in the name of Jesus. I laud the church and pastor for their enthusiasm and commitment in support of this kind of ministry.
My wife and I listened to the impassioned reasoning to support this ministry related to the Scripture text for the morning's message. An appeal was made for people to commit (ie: sponsor a child). As I listened, I couldn't help see a comparison (on the same weekend) to Small Business Saturday sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and the myriad of small missions and not-so-well known (even unknown) missionaries and national pastors throughout the world.
Small businesses can't compete with WalMart-type (or Amazon, etc.) big businesses. Neither can smaller ministries and missions compete with larger, more corporate-style ministries—nor should they compete with them. You might wonder why use the word compete in relation to ministries? It's reality. I know this from the perspective as a pastor and missionary, but that's another issue.
This kind of comparison is an apple-oranges thing. They're really not comparable. Just as small businesses are more locally connected and relational (at least have the potential to be), so also with smaller ministries. Each has their place and purpose.
Most missionaries and ministries don't have the budget nor time available for getting better known. They're too busy and committed to what God has called them to do.
So here's a sampling of a few ministries I know and appreciate that represent the tens of thousands of other faithful and fruitful ministries that are often unknown or unnoticed by most of us. Of course, God knows them because He called them and stands with them day by day.
I'll include some links below (where possible) and a brief description of their ministries (who, what, where). Check them out and pray for them, they'll appreciate it. Acknowledge them (maybe on social media if they are ok with it) and even consider helping them out with some support.
I'm thankful for Shepherd's Staff Mission Facilitators for the way they help many smaller ministries, and for our being part of this ministry for several years. Visit their site to see the many missionaries and missions they assist, including ours (we're in the list and at the bottom of the page as Rainbow Village Ministries).
Missionaries and Ministries (their names have embedded links to click on)—
Patrick and Shari Bailey— ministry among indigenous people of the Philippines and beyond
Eric and MJ Johansen— working with indigenous people in Thailand and beyond
Brian and Betty Vander Kodde— church planting and discipling in Peru
Jeff and Lilia Roenspie— church planting, discipling and literacy work in Mexico
Jonathan and Adrienne Ferguson— pastoring and discipling in Kenya
Bruce Sonnenberg— established an educational support ministry for those affected by HIV/AIDS with missions throughout the world
These are but a handful of the many thousands, including national pastors and leaders in every nation in the world, who serve the Lord faithfully. Blessings upon them all!