What If The Global Fund Actually Went To International Missions?

According to the Mars Hill Global FAQ page, $10 million have been given by non-members to the church. This is about as specific as one can get since they don’t provide enough information to sort it all out. Here is what they say about giving by the “global family“:

WHERE HAVE PAST GIFTS BEEN USED?

During fiscal years 2009-2014, over $10MM dollars has been given to Mars Hill Church by the Mars Hill global family. During that same time period $22.48MM has been spent on church planting in the US, India and Ethiopia. In 2009-11 over 80% of funds given by the Mars Hill global family went to Acts 29 church planting and funds were consistently spent in India for church planting in each of those years. In 2012- 2014 expenditures for church planting efforts in India and Ethiopia were increased with the preponderance of expenses related to church plants and replants in the U.S.

So this does not address how much money was given to the Global Fund that once was an donation option for Mars Hill members and non-members.

In the Mars Hill Church 2013 Annual Report, the church reported taking in nearly $2.3 million in Mars Hill Global Giving. It is not clear if the $2.3 million is money from non-members or if this is how much was donated to the Global Fund. In the annual report, all accomplishments on the Mars Hill Global page are related to India and Ethiopia. So it is reasonable to assume that the $2.3 million amount was donated toward international missions. Only Mars Hill can clear this up but they aren’t talking.

Although worded differently, blogger Justin Bullington asked yesterday on his blog what would have happened if the Global Fund actually went toward missions. Go read his post; he figures a couple of people groups could have been reached if the money had been spent on missions.

I thought about it in a slightly different way. I checked out how much it costs to fully support an Ethiopian evangelist for a year. It turns out that according to Mars Hill’s partner in Ethiopia, New Covenant Foundation, it costs $170/month to support an evangelist. Currently, according to the Global FAQ page, Mars Hill supports 40 evangelists. If Mars Hill is supporting them fully, then the yearly investment in Ethiopia is $81,600. They also support 33 in India which cost $200 per urban evangelist (rural evangelists are supported at $50/month). Assuming all evangelists are urban, Mars Hill spends  $79,200 there.  Combining the two countries, I estimate Mars Hill spent $160,800 on church planting during the past fiscal year.

Assuming a deduction of about 20% for administration, Mars Hill could have had $1.8 million to provide to missions during 2012-2013. In other words, they could have supported over 10 times the number of evangelists they are now.  The group Mars Hill partners with for Ethiopian outreach New Covenant Foundation took in just over $450,000 in 2012. If the Global Fund giving was what it appears to have been, Mars Hill’s donations could have been a game changer for that organization.  Instead, the “preponderance of expenses related to church plants and replants in the U.S.” (i.e., franchise locations in “Bellevue, WA; Everett, WATacoma, WAPhoenix, AZ; and soon Spokane, WA“).

These figures may not be accurate. Mars Hill could easily provide the data. In the mean time, I think these estimates are reasonable based on the information available.

 


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