M V Tronson says that he has often been told, that if he knew how it worked, he would have been a remarkable businessman. If that were so, he says it would have followed a family tradition as his great grandfather T B Tronson established a drapery business in Gympie Queensland during the gold rush and made a small fortune.
However, that was not the direction of his life's work as a Christian missionary and instead took a path as a 'faith-financed missionary'. Therefore it would seem a first step, is to define the income stream if a faith financed missionary.
This should not be confused with those who are funded through a Missions organisation or self-funded through established financial arrangements.
M V Tronson says the key term in such a definition is 'income stream'. The traditional understanding of someone who is a 'faith-financed missionary' is of someone dependent entirely on monetary gifts to enable them to fund their mission activity.
This definition excludes those who volunteer either part time or full time and using their own resources such as superannuation monies or investments to fund their mission activities.
Theologically, a directive was given by Jesus to the disciples to take nothing with them as their needs will be supplied in Kingdom ministry. It was functioning in the first five centuries of the Christian era and then regained prominence in the Middle Ages, as illustrated by Francis of Assisi.
It gathered momentum with the protesters (Protestants) in the post-Reformation era and became entrenched in Puritanism theology in the 18th century by John Wesley's followers, who came to be known as the Methodists as they followed a method for church governance, ministry and mission.
Over the following three hundred years, 'Evangelicals' (emphasising evangelism and strictly following the New Testament for their religious practice) took to 'faith-financed living' with a passion. You will meet 'faith-financed missionaries' anywhere, even in countries where you may least expect them.
Evangelicals and their financial supporters are normally not big spenders on alcohol, smoking or indulgent luxuries, and as with all working families, it is necessary to absorb any increased costs in medical, hospital, groceries, fuel, housing and education into weekly household budgets.
'Faith financed missionaries' can attest like their forebears, that with prayer, additional financial supporters are sent by the Lord, and many of their existing financial supporters are able to give a little more. The philosophy of Evangelical giving is that it is a gift to the Lord.
This explains the extraordinary mindset of Christians which has enabled funding 'faith-financed missionaries' over many centuries. It is an expression of 'love' to give to the Lord's work, an unexplainable joy. This is magnified in the real world, by the building of trust when those who give receive regular communication from the faith-financed ministries, detailing how their money is put to use.
Mark Tronson recounts a seminar he attended in 1988 at the Third World Congress on Sports Mission prior to the Seoul Olympics. We were instructed on two critical aspects of faith-funding, a viewpoint which changed his life.
First, when Christian people give, they 'trust you' with their money, and second, when you yourself give money to those in mission you receive the joy of the Lord, so too those who give to you likewise receive that same joy.
M V Tronson maintains that the corollary is also just as critical. The 'faith-financed missionary' has the 'Gift of Faith' to enable him to rely safely on the Lord for his needs to be met. This is a specific Gift from the Lord, as the person in mission needs to concentrate on the Lord's work, not on material gain nor where the next dollar is coming from.
Jesus promised our "needs" would be met and that has proved sufficient over the centuries, and this is in tune with the sacrificial life of missionaries.
These components: The Givers in Faith and the receivers who have the Gift of Faith, function as an integral coherent unit of trust in the Lord's provision.
There is a Biblical Kingdom supernatural principle which is difficult to explain and somewhat unfathomable, but the more one gives to the Lord with integrity of heart the more one receives in return in all manner of ways.