Frequently, about one or two times a week, and sometimes up to 40 or 50 at a time, we will get friend requests on Facebook from a ministry in a foreign country we don’t know. If there are mutual friends, we will evaluate that and accept the friend request in hope that they are interested in the free resources we offer on our web site. We cannot respond to this volume of requests. Frequently, they may contact us through Facebook Messenger and ask for donations.
This is improper and a disgrace. Please don’t do that. We cannot respond to such requests as we have a very limited budget designated toward TV production and that is supplied by several generous donors specifically for that purpose. We do not appeal for funds, and we don’t believe in doing so, especially to strangers on Facebook. More often than not, appeals of this sort are scams. It is dangerous to transfer money to foreign bank accounts.
The way we have seen them operate is to start out with, “Hello” and “How are you?” then soon afterward, if we respond, they will send photos of starving children or their orphanage. We have no way of telling whether these appeals are legitimate. There also appears to be a connection where if you respond to one, a dozen more will try the same tactic. When it was less expensive to mail overseas, we have in the past sometimes sent our literature to them, only to have them later appeal for funds. Now, sending books overseas is cost prohibitive. Sometimes they will ask us to come and speak in their country. We are at an age where we don’t travel well and we cannot respond to such requests. Now, if you have a specific question or comment, ask it directly. We find it most effective to put our teaching free on line where people can view it.
There are Christian organizations whose purpose is to provide relief and they have established channels to do so. That is not our focus. We are a small para-church fellowship with no paid employees, and we support our own local ministries and missions. We are also skeptical that sending money overseas is effective in eliminating poverty and enhancing the well-being of a ministry. If that group becomes dependent upon foreign support, then there is a tendency for the people to wait around for the next handout to arrive rather than become industrious, plant crops, or develop goods and services for their income. We currently have hundreds of pending Facebook friend requests, and we find this barrage overwhelming. Every one of these creates a very awkward situation and wastes our time. It could be a full time job just to respond to all of these.
An effective church plant or mission can be established by a missionary who receives funding through raising support using mission organizations as a backing. Ten local tithing families are enough to pay a pastor’s salary, thirty to also support a building rental and utilities. Beyond that, a congregation of 50 to 100 tithing families should be able to also cover regional relief services for those in need.
To summarize, please do not use Facebook Messenger to appeal for funding for your ministry by friending strangers. Jesus is our supply, and He knows our needs. We cannot employ the tactics of the world to meet them.