The Cost of Missionary Support Raising

money1Why do missionaries need so much financial support?  I get that question a lot from folks who want to support missionaries but question the financial requirements.  In this series, I will attempt to deal with the various pieces that must be put together to get a missionary to the field and to keep him or her there. 

We will begin with the  cost of getting “Missionary Mike” and his family to the field for the first term.  I am talking about faith supported missionaries who must raise sufficient financial commitment to fund their personal and ministry needs and then go out by faith, trusting that God will provide their needs each month through the faithful giving of His people.

When Missionary Mike is accepted by Faith Global Missions, he is “deputized” which authorizes him to raise tax deductible funds.  With FGM, 100% of your contributions for the ministry of Missionary Mike are placed in a restricted account to be used to fund his salary and ministry needs. 

This ministry of deputation to raise support will be expensive and Car-Holiday-Clip-Artcan take an extended period of time.  He may travel 200,000 miles or more.  The current IRS mileage rate is $.56/mile.  That equates to $112,000 just in auto expenses!  Add to that the travel meals and hotel bills, not to mention prayer cards, phone calls and mailings and the cost can reach as high as $150,000.

Missionaries usually need some specialized training before being released to depart for the field.  This training may include cross-cultural ministry, language acquisition, language study, finances and other preparatory items.  This adds another $15,000.

Let’s not forget the cost of getting Missionary Mike and his family to the field and setting up a home.  They will need to pay for passports, visas, plane tickets, excess baggage, home furnishings and a vehicle.  That is an additional $35-60,000.

These figures are all fiscally conservative and the total comes to $215-225,000.  All of this and Missionary Mike has not even drawn a salary yet!

You may ask, “How do you set a fair and reasonable support level for Missionary Mike?”  That is a great question.  However, I’m out of space now, so come back next time to learn about missionary salaries and benefits.  In the meantime, please post your comments and questions here or on our Facebook page at

David Selvey<
David is the pastor of global outreach at Faith Church and the executive director of Faith Global Missions. He serves as a counselor in Faith Biblical Counseling Ministry and teaches in and plans international conferences. David has served as a missionary and worked as a small business owner. He and his wife, Kathy, have lived in Indiana since 1995 and have been members of Faith Church since 1996.