Growing our team is the biggest priority for us as an organisation and over the next few months we have several opportunities for recruitment. We're naturally focused on opportunities within the U.S., but we're also looking for in-roads within the UK and Europe.
Mobilisation: publications, conferences, advertisements
From fundraising and budget surpluses from short-term teams, we've created a budget of around £7,500. This covers most of our expenses related to two conferences in the U.S. - Urbana and the Cross Conference (held in Louisville, KY).
There are other conferences where we'd like to have representation, including many within the UK, such as Spring Harvest and the Big Church Day Out. We'd also like to better connect with Christian Unions at universities across the UK, taking advantage of speaking engagements and promotional opportunities where possible. We'd also like to take advantage of paid job listings for mission workers.
With an investment of £5,000 we could continue the mobilisation work here in the UK that we've already begun in the U.S.
As new families begin the process of joining us in the field, we want to help provide opportunities as they fundraise. Most missionaries rely on individuals and churches for financial support and the journey to the field can often be long, especially for workers in Western Europe who are raising initial start-up costs for moving, purchasing vehicles, and language school.
The average start-up costs for a couple can exceed £35,000 while ongoing monthly support aims for around £5,000. This pays not only a salary to cover living expenses, but also healthcare, self-employment taxes, travel funds, and administrative funds levied by sending agencies.
It's our hope to be able to refer candidate missionaries to churches who can in turn help support them financially, whether through individuals or through church collections. For instance, there's a couple from India who are very interested in joining our work among Welsh speakers. Given the exchange and cost of living difference, it would be very hard for them to join us here. Wouldn't it be great if we could connect them with churches who share our vision for European minority languages speakers?
Networking & Research
Over the past year John has been able to connect with surprising individuals and organisations focused on the Gospel in European heart languages in off-the-radar locations. His networking in Finland, Estonia and Russia connected him with other believers who share our vision for sharing the Gospel with minority language speakers. This was good news to us! We hope to incorporate students from a seminary in Estonia into our summer projects, once we can find a sustainable funding solution to help cover the cost-of-living difference.
This connection wouldn't have been made without a face-to-face visit and willingness to come, see and listen. As we extend our reach into Europe and search for like-minded partners, we need the flexibility and funds to make the time spent and travel possible. For instance, this November the team is meeting with a family serving Catalan speakers in Girona. While travelling in Europe is cheaper than in the U.S., it will still cost £330 per person. We're covering those costs out of our own budgets for the meantime, but it means that our options throughout the year are more limited.
With an investment of £6,000 we could expand our reach in Europe, continue to build connections and lay the foundation for future, incarnational missions built on partnerships and a good understanding of local contexts.
The following points include areas of growth that would be practical steps forward for Linguæ Christi, if not essential.
This year Linguæ Christi established a scholarship fund to help enable students to join our short-term projects over the summer. Some of these funds have already been used to support students coming from the U.S., but our future goal is to welcome European and international students with less access to funding. We already have some students in mind, specifically from a Bible college in Estonia.
We'd like to establish an ongoing fund that pays half of the costs for 3-5 students each year. With the average project costing £1,600, this fund would need an estimated £2,400-£4,000 each year.
Team-building & Training
Sharpening skills and learning about new movements continues to be an important part of a missionary's skillset. This is especially true for the multi-linguistic component of our work. As Linguæ Christi grows and welcome more members to our team, we'll also need to set aside time and resources to make sure we communicate and function well together, so that we can better serve our people groups and serve in our various roles.
At the moment each new missionary receives cross-cultural training and team coaching is available through partner organisations on a limited basis. In time, we want to train personnel to provide this support in-house. Training costs are an estimated £6,000.
Rented Office Space
20 years in ministry means we've built up materials resources–Bibles, sleeping bags, personnel files, the list goes on–beyond our capacity to store them at home. In light of these and our desire to establish ourselves as a recognised charity in the UK, an office space will be an eventual reality.
Local costs for rented office spaces and storage are around £300 per month, excluding phone lines, internet, insurance, and other utlities. Estimated annual costs are around £5,000.
These points represent long-range aims for Linguæ Christi that are on the back burner in light of more pressing issues. They include:
- A van for short-term teams, visitors and for use by local churches and charities
- A Greenhouse training for local church leaders as a means to encourage a missional, organic approach to church planting
- A building to serve as an office and shared spaced for community-based organisations and ventures
- Grant funds for local charities and organisations that we want to support