(taken from U of N Kona website)
The importance of relationship-based missions
Since YWAM’s inception, the founders Loren and Darlene Cunningham felt from the Lord that the work of each missionary, ministry and campus should be built on the principles of “living by faith” and “support-raising.” As a result, YWAM adopted a relationship-based approach to missions: everyone is required to raise their own support, primarily through enlisting the partnership of friends, families, and churches in order to serve with the mission. This means volunteers do not receive a salary or remuneration from YWAM for their work with YWAM.
This lifestyle of faith is the model given to us by the Levitical priests, Jesus Himself, the Apostle Paul, and the missionary teams of the New Testament (Numbers 18:21-24; Luke 8:1-3; Matthew 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 9:13; Philippians). Each account recorded in the Bible reminds us of two things.
First, that our security is not in money, but in God, who will be faithful to provide everything needed to accomplish His plans on the earth.
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:30-33 (NIV)
Second, that He enjoys involving people in His plans and therefore invites like-minded believers to partner with those in full-time ministry.
“After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.” Luke 8:1-3 (NIV)
The body of Christ was intended to function in interdependence. God calls each one of us to play a unique role in fulfilling the Great Commission, whether in the church or one of the other spheres of society. It is in unity that we will be most effective in reaching the entire world with the Good News!
As it says in 1 Corinthians 12, “God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be… The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’” Ministry partnerships formed between missionaries and their supporters are invaluable – not only for the financial support, but more importantly for the mutual prayer, encouragement, and accountability that comes with it.
If a person believes in a missionary enough to support them financially, they will also pray for them, which is even more indispensable than financial support. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21 (NIV)
At the end of the day, it’s about relationship. As believers, we are meant to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24, NIV), by bearing one another’s burdens and sharing testimonies of God’s work in our lives that inspire the Church to trust God for greater things!