1.Your own local church, of course. Give regularly, give generously. Ten percent is a good place to start. Remember, it’s not your money, anyway. Be involved in the work, the plans and the future of your church. Make it your own. Teach, clean, paint, serve, entertain, open your home, visit shut-ins. Find a ministry that fits the gifts you’ve been given.
2.Christian education, if it’s within your means to do so. I know, not everyone who wants to, can send their children to a Christian school. There were a few years when our kids went to the local public school as well. But overall, our daughters have been blessed by it. I don’t expect the school to do my job as a parent. And I don’t like Christian schools where they feed a kid’s delusion that because they are being raised in a Christian home, they are automatically headed for heaven. I like that my kids hear the gospel everyday, with the underlying message that they need to make it their own faith, and I like that the teachers are Christians and see their job as a calling, and that the curriculum is God-centred and doesn’t contradict what we teach them at home and church, but rather, reinforces it.
3.Wycliffe Bible Translators. If the Bible can be translated into a previously unwritten language, it preserves the language, speaks to that people group in their “heart language”, and continues to impact and teach that group long after that missionary is gone. Supporting individual missionaries in an organization like this makes it personal.
4.The Bible League. They provide Bibles, rather inexpensively, to people in countries where the Bible is inaccessible or outlawed, like China. The Word of God is not bound.
5.Answers in Genesis. This organization is involved primarily in teaching about origins, but flowing from a proper understanding of the book of Genesis, is a correct view of marriage, the sanctity of life, the fall, and our need of a Redeemer.
6.New Missions. They operate in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. This is primarily a child sponsorship program. There are others out there, like World Vision, Christian Children’s Fund, Compassion Canada, or Foster Parents’ Plan. But as far as I know, those others do not offer a Christian education to the child, whereas this one does. We support a girl in Haiti, who is close in age to our daughters. This is one of those things we planned to do for many years before we actually did it. She receives a good Christian education, a healthy meal each day, and free health care. What good is it to take care of the body only, and neglect the soul?
7.Conferences and retreats that teach and encourage your faith. There are many organizations that offer them. It gives you a chance to recharge your spiritual batteries, have Christian fellowship and buy books. We find the Canadian Carey Family Conference to be a foretaste of glory.
8.Missions organizations or other para-church ministries that are close to your heart. One stroll through the main room at Missionfest gives you an idea of the scope of the opportunities to assist in the worldwide mandate of the church. Choose one that has a role in building up or equipping the church, i.e. Toronto Baptist Seminary, Carey Outreach Ministries, the Sovereign Grace Fellowship of Canada, The Christian Blind Mission, or a local Crisis Pregnancy Centre.
9.International Aid, either regularly or at times of crisis. Some examples are the Red Cross, Samaritan’s Purse, S.I.M., Emmanuel International, or Mercy Ships, which goes to foreign ports around the world, offering free medical, dental or surgical care to those without access.
10.Local Christian camps or programs within your church. Our kids have benefitted from the experience of Christian camps and have also volunteered or worked at them. The Scott Mission Camp is a good example. The Scott Mission, itself, in downtown Toronto is also a good place to help out in the kitchen or the food bank. Our church has an outreach called Time Out for Young Moms, which addresses the reality of the neighbourhood in which we serve.
There’s no shortage of places to use your time and money. They say you can tell a lot about someone if you look at their chequebook and datebook. If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?