How to Help Financially Without Hurting

ABWE Vice President John Taylor explains how we can help nationals on the field financially without building unhealthy dependency.

More money, more problems. Wealth, generosity, pay scales, financial practices, and differing standards of living can all be hair-trigger issues in dealing with relationships with nationals while serving on the foreign field. Sometimes when we mean to help, we end up hurting those we’re serving in the long-term. And it’s not just limited to developing countries; anywhere we go in the world, different cultures are likely to have different views of wealth. How do we avoid misunderstandings with nationals? How can we avoid fostering dependency on Western missionaries, or unintentionally fostering an attitude of paternalism? ABWE Vice President of Training John Taylor joins us to discuss five problems with the “wealth of nations,” four solutions that don’t work, and some better strategies that do.

John and his wife Jacky were appointed as missionaries by ABWE Canada in 1991 and served in Odessa, Ukraine for more than 22 years. There, they served on the leadership team of two church plants, served as team leaders, and mentored and assisted many Ukrainian church planters and pastors. John was co-founder of the Church Ministries Institute (Eurasia), and served for many years as its president.

John holds graduate degrees in missions, theology and education. John is passionate about facilitating learning in communities of faith, and joined the ABWE training team in 2016, while Jacky has a passion for the lost throughout the world and for developing relationships with unbelievers.

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Alex Kocman & Scott Dunford

Alex Kocman is the Director of Communications and Engagement for ABWE. He serves as general editor for Message Magazine and co-hosts The Missions Podcast. After earning his M.A. in Communication and B.S. in Biblical Studies, he served as an online apologetics instructor with Liberty University and a youth pastor in Pennsylvania, where he now resides with his wife and three children. Read his blog or follow him on X/Twitter.

Scott Dunford is the pastor of Western Hills Church in San Mateo, Calif. Previously, Scott served as Vice President of Mobilization and Communications for ABWE and as a missionary in East Asia. Scott graduated from Northland International University (B.A. in Pastoral Studies), earned his M.A. in biblical studies from Central Baptist Theological Seminary, his M.B.A. from Cornerstone University, and is currently enrolled in Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s D.Min. program with an emphasis on missions.