Before I say anything, I should probably note that my wife and I have been raise-your-own support staff members of two evangelical mission agencies. We served on those agencies for the better part of 9 years.
I have served on the boards of two agencies (including Mission India) and as a kind of board consultant to a third agency. My wife is a member of the board of the third agency that I have served as a kind of consultant.
It was about 10 years ago that my wife and I decided seriously to focus our charitable giving on "only" four or five specific organizations and to deliberately turn aside donation requests from others. That decision to focus has meant our giving has been very much more strategic; we have had very much more interaction with the various leaders of the different organizations to which we have given; and we have been able to have strategic input into these organizations far beyond mere financial donations. As noted above, we have now served (and are currently serving) on two of the organizations' boards of directors. . . .
Now for my "story" about Mission India. . . .
Mission India was one of the four agencies to which my wife and I committed ourselves 10 years ago. Honestly, at the time, it was "only" one and, frankly, we were only just barely aware of what it was all about.
Since that time, however, Mission India has become our favorite charitable group. We still give to all four organizations to which we originally committed ourselves, but when we have the opportunity to give a little more, we find ourselves always turning to Mission India.
Our reasons for feeling and thinking and acting as I have just outlined include the following:
* Mission India's ministry OBJECTIVE (church planting among all the people groups of India) in the world's spiritually neediest/least reached country.
* Mission India's METHODOLOGIES (enabling--without creating dependency--indigenous ministries to run effective evangelistic/church-planting Children's Bible Clubs and Literacy programs; and training effective and self-sustaining Church Planters), and these programs' proven EFFECTIVENESS (see next item). . . .
* Mission India has a proven (almost unbelievably strong) commitment to INTEGRITY IN MEASUREMENT of results, in tracking what its funding is used for and how its projects are being carried out. . . . What is particularly gratifying: these measurements are clearly NOT pursued primarily for self-promotion (though I think it would be foolish of the agency NOT to mention its statistics!), but, far more, it measures its outcomes in order to ENSURE EFFECTIVENESS and to PROVIDE GROUNDS FOR ONGOING IMPROVEMENT. I can attest to this commitment both as an outside DONOR and as a kind of "inside" BOARD MEMBER. I have seen this commitment worked out in practice.
* Mission India seeks to FOLLOW ALL SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES and to walk with integrity as humble servants who are DEPENDENT WHOLLY ON GOD. At the same time, however, it CONDUCTS ITS AFFAIRS LIKE A WELL-RUN BUSINESS. The Mission India board of directors is composed of more than business owners only, but it is strongly guided by [one could almost say, dominated by] business people who ask the kinds of questions and demand the kinds of accountability that savvy business owners should ask and should demand. This leads to what is, in my mind, an astonishing balance . . . and a hard-headedness that I have found less visible in other charitable organizations with which I have been associated.
* Mission India demonstrates a PRACTICAL COMMITMENT TO FUTURE GENERATIONS. --My wife and I have seen this not only in their Children's Bible Clubs programs, but in their investment on vision-building and educational programs for children in the United States. (My wife and I have had the privilege of helping to encourage all four of the agencies we support to create vision-building, educational fund-raising programs for children in the U.S. Mission India was the first agency to take us up on our offer to create such programs. They entered in enthusiastically, even though the potential payoff for such a commitment was unproven. Having done it once, they did it a second time. [See their www.mypassporttoindia.com program.] And we are working together on a third such program to be released in the fall of 2013. . . .) Clearly, Mission India has the LONG VIEW in mind.
* Mission India has shown the highest commitment we have found (among any of the agencies we have ever worked with or given to) to COOPERATE with and HELP other agencies who are intent on advancing the Kingdom of God. Put another way: the agency keeps THE BIG PICTURE in mind.
I just mentioned the children's programs. Following Mission India's lead, and at our urging, all of the other agencies my wife and I support have attempted to create similar programs for their own purposes. We have encouraged these agencies, then, to contact Mission India to acquire whatever insight Mission India may be able to provide.
My wife and I have seen Mission India readily, willingly, wholeheartedly and AT THEIR EXPENSE not only speak to these other agencies on the telephone and/or answer these other agencies' emails, but actually SEND STAFF MEMBERS to VISIT every one of these other agencies in order to provide them every kind of help, support, information and/or insight they might need to benefit from Mission India's experience.
I should note: this kind of cooperation often began without my wife's or my knowledge. It was certainly not a result of any arm-twisting or finagling on our part.
I am "just" really impressed with this organization and feel honored to be able to serve on its board.