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The concept of faith missions goes beyond the obvious notion that all mission endeavors require a high level of active faith. In evangelical terms, the term faith mission is used to describe an organization that is staffed by missionaries who raise their own financial support. Workers in a faith mission like Wycliffe Bible Translators are not paid a salary by the organziation or a denomination. Each missionary is required to encourage and maintain a team of churches and individual donors to provide their living expenses. People sometimes assume that my job(s) in Wycliffe are salaried. Nope. I live on what donors send in every month. If it doesn’t come in, I don’t get it. Simple as that.
Moreover, out of those monthly donations designated with preference to Tim Sieges, Wycliffe takes 10%. This amount goes for administrative costs of conducting the business of Bible translation. Out of the remaining 90% comes my retirement, health insurance and of course, taxes.
What about cost of living raises? The amount of money each Wycliffe person raises is based on a ministry budget or “support quota”. The amount is based on what it costs to live where your missionary is serving. The ministry budget also takes into account dependent children or family expenses. Ministry budgets are renewed annually. So, a cost of living raise is possible in theory. But practically speaking, each worker will have to “raise” the amount of any increase in the ministry budget.
Merit raises or overtime do not exist in a faith mission. Even though workers receive an annual performance review, there is no financial reward for exceptional or above the call of duty efforts. There are no Christmas bonuses. But the Lord has provided for all our financial needs over the past 30 years. He has taught us how to live simply and in reliance on Him. And that is a good thing