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Member Finances

This page details fundraising goals we feel are good for our team members to aim for, details the YWAM Sendai Team Member Contribution, and gives some tips on budgeting.

Financial Support Levels

In YWAM, nobody gets paid by YWAM! In fact, YWAMers pay to work! (See contribution below). In all honesty, we have a value for total reliance on God and to have faith that God is who He says He is - Provider. We believe that God will fully provide for those He calls to the mission field.

As a mission field, Japan is a particularly expensive place for a missionary. We have seen people come in faith, with hardly any pledged financial support. Actually, God has led YWAMers in this way and provided for them fully! And we believe God is still capable of doing that in Japan! But we have seen people like this struggle, and for whatever reason, their finances do not come in. This is disheartening. But it is especially difficult when people start to get into debt because it is so expensive to live here! We don't know the reasons why God allows for this, but we don't believe its ever God's plan for people to struggle continuously and to get into debt.

We have prayerfully decided to set financial support levels that our team members are to aim for when fundraising to join our team. We believe reaching these levels of support will allow our community to focus on Jesus and the Japanese people, rather than being distracted by a lack of finances.

To keep things simple, we have two levels: Minimum Support Level (MSL) and Recommended Support Level (RSL).

The MSL is what we feel to be the very minimum amount of monthly income to have in order to live in Japan. We will not start a new team member's visa process until they have reached this level.

The RSL is what we feel to be a moderately comfortable amount of monthly income to have. This allows for more generosity as well as to be able to save for an emergency fund.

We have set different amounts depending on one's circumstances. Here are the current support levels:

Category MSL RSL
Individual ¥110,000 ¥150,000
Couple ¥190,000 ¥250,000
Family (1 child) ¥260,000 ¥350,000

Moving-in and Setup Costs

Along with monthly financial support, you will also need an amount of money on top of that when starting life in Japan. Here is an example of some initial costs:

  • Flight to Japan
  • Initial fees for moving into an apartment (this can cost anywhere from an extra 2 to 4 months worth of rent!)
  • Furnature & appliances (and any devices such as a Japan-compatible mobile phone if you don't already have one)

These costs will vary depending on the cost of your rent and how much they require as a deposit.

As a guide, we recommend that you have at least one month's RSL amount in the bank when you arrive in Japan, in addition to monthly support and cost of flights:

Category Amount
Individual ¥150,000
Couple ¥250,000
Family ¥350,000

Team Member Contribution

As each team member is financially supported in order to live in Japan, team members' needs are met. Though this is the case, YWAM Sendai has expenses as a community that are not met because YWAM Sendai does not have its own regular income. In order to meet these needs, we ask that each team member donate a monthly Team Member Contribution. As a guideline, we suggest that this be around 5 of monthly income.

You can work out 5% of something by doing [income] x 0.05. For example:

Category Income 5% Member Contribution
Individual ¥150,000 ¥7,500
Couple ¥250,000 ¥12,500
Family ¥350,000 ¥17,500

We understand the actual amount will fluctuate month-to-month depending on one's financial support: some months will be higher or lower than others. We ask that this will be done prayerfully with a heart of thanks for what God has provided for us as individuals. And we encourage generosity! We do not see this as an "administration fee" or "staff fee" like a mission organisation would have (remember: we are a movement), but as a way we can together give to further God's kingdom in Sendai through our own community.

The following are ways in which this money is used:

  • YWAM Japan National Office monthly fee
  • Fund to purchase and maintain a building (for office, meetings, school lectures, public worship etc.)
  • Emergency fund (disaster relief etc.)
  • Ministry events
  • Admin costs (printing, website, office supplies etc.)
  • Purchasing shared assets (computer, projector, instruments, vehicle etc.)
  • Community meeting supplies (coffee, snacks etc.)
  • Fund to purchase and maintain a vehicle
  • Hospitality (hosting guests, volunteers & teams)
  • Donate to local churches and ministries

Please feel free to ask specific questions regarding this Team Member Contribution. We want to be as transparent as possible in regards to community finances!

Financial Records & Budgeting

Not everyone knows how to, or has experience with, budgeting. Not only do we want to be good stewards of the money God is entrusting us with, but it is also practically helpful to budget and keep track of our finances.

We encourage all of our team members to set monthly budgets and to record income and expenses.

Coming soon: links to budget template docs

Taxes & State Pension

It is important that all of our team members ask their local tax office for information on how to file taxes. It may be the case that you will be considered self employed and a proportion of your income would be taxable. Please do this before arrival.

It may also be worth looking into whether you would like to pay into a state pension in your home country. You will be enrolled into the state pension in Japan as is required for all residents. As it tends to be fairly pricey, you will likely have the option of opting out of making contributions due to your low income. We do recommend you pay into a state pension in either your home country or Japan and that you budget accordingly.

Working in Japan

As you will likely be on a Religious Workers Visa, there are rules about making money in Japan.

You are permitted to earn money if the purpose is related to religious activities. For example, if a church pays you to teach English or make a website for them.

If you wanted to earn supplimentary income while in Japan by other means unrelated to your missionary work, you must apply for a specific work permit. Though this would only be for work that does not take away your time or focus from your missionary activities.

That's the legal side! Regardless, we expect that all of our team members will be fully supported financially to be in Japan. If you would like to apply for a work permit while in Japan, please discuss this with your assigned elder(s).