Bubba Justice shoots straight about the power of giving and missions
by Jason Chatraw
Money plays a large role in expanding ministry especially in the area of missions. Cutting Edge spoke with Inverness Vineyard (Alabama) Senior Pastor Bubba Justice about money and missions. Bubba is an anomaly among pastors: He entered into ministry after spending 10 years working in the financial field as both an accountant for a “Big Six” accounting firm and as a company CFO. He enjoys talking about missions and money from the pulpit and with other pastors. He is now functioning part time as the VUSA national coordinator.
This is part 3 of a 4-part series. Click here for part 1.
CE: Where are some places the Bible talks about missions and giving?
BJ: The most extensive Biblical teaching on money is found in 2 Corinthians 8-9. The entire passage deals with giving money to missions as a relief effort to the church in Jerusalem. Paul’s focus has more to do with taking this missions offering than taking an offering for their own local church. So we should read this passage within the context of a missions offering being taken at a local church to support disaster relief efforts – namely, famine – in Jerusalem.
CE: How can this whole approach to giving impact missions partnerships?
BJ: One of the things we’ve found is that if a church can’t fully participate by sending someone on one of their partnership’s short-term trips, they can easily feel disconnected from the larger vision of the partnership. A smaller church often says, “We just don’t have the resources to participate in a partnership.” And yet, it can be very empowering for smaller churches to realize that while they might not be able to invest as much in short-term mission trips right now, they can still stay fully connected, whether it’s through prayer or the encouragement of those ministering in-country or through their regular giving.
It’s easy to forget that in other countries, the average annual earning may be $300 per person, a relatively small amount for many of us. A gift of $300, then, would be the equivalent of someone contributing $40,000 to one of our churches in Africa. We think our small amount won’t make much of a difference, but a relatively small investment here really can have a big impact there.
Every year that I’ve gone on a mission trip to Africa, I’ve always taken someone from another church with me. Sometimes, I’m taking pastors or leaders from very small churches – churches that simply couldn’t afford to send more than just the one person. And yet, because of that trip, they’re able to see what a significant impact their church can have in teaming up with an established mission partnership. Suddenly, in spite of very limited finances, they’re able to “play.”
In fact, we’ve discovered that because of their own unique contexts, the churches we are ministering to in other countries often have more in common with our smaller church pastors than with those pastoring larger churches. And so, when we go overseas and interact with local pastors and leaders about how to “do church,” our smaller church pastors and church planters have more working insights to share with them than the others do.
The bottom line is; smaller churches should never underestimate the value they add to missions.
This is part 3 of a 4-part series. Click here for part 4.
Bubba has led the Inverness Vineyard in Birmingham, Alabama since 1994. For over a decade, he's led the East Africa (now Kenya) Partnership, and he served as an APCL for the Southeast. In 2013 Bubba began leading the Learning Community Team for Vineyard Missions USA training, and he has been on the Missions Task Force representing the Southeast since 2007. With Bubba's ten years' experience as a financial manager for various companies, including working as a CPA for the international accounting firm Ernst and Young, he is now serving as the newly-appointed National Coordinator for Vineyard USA.