It’s rare to meet someone with an infectious enthusiasm for accountancy – rarer still to meet someone with the same enthusiasm for mission accountancy. But Darren Campbell, Serving In Mission’s International Director of Finance, is that person.
Almost from his schooldays growing up in Northern Ireland, he has wanted to combine his love of mission with his love of accountancy.
Darren, who lives and works in the US, says: “I’m passionate about mission finance because it matters so much.
“Think what would happen to SIM if we didn’t care about these things? Even though we are often short-staffed and might not have staff with all the correct qualifications, we must strive for excellence in the way we run our financial affairs.
“If we did things badly, the damage to us, and more importantly to our witness for Christ, would be enormous.
“We are stewards of God’s money and we have a responsibility to spend it wisely. It’s also vital that we have accountability across SIM and that the people who are responsible for the money, are accountable for the way it is spent. Ultimately, we’re all accountable to God.”
Darren is also passionate about training people to manage SIM’s money well, recognising that in many countries, there are not enough qualified people to do that work.
He adds: “That’s a key part of my role and is absolutely vital, especially in places where it is difficult to find trustworthy accountants. It’s a great way to witness to local Christians and to their churches, that we want to do things properly and not cut corners.
“It’s vital we get new workers because so many of our fields are struggling to find suitable people. That means we suffer a lot of burnout among our finance people, because they have such a huge workload.”
Darren and his wife Ruthie, who also works for SIM International, are sent by Cheam Baptist Church, which they joined when Darren was training as an accountant in London.
Ruthie grew up as an MK (Missionary Kid) in Nigeria and the couple met on the field in Kenya, where they both were serving in short-term roles with AIM (Africa Inland Mission). The couple also served with SIM in South Africa before God led them to the US.
Darren says: “I’ve always wanted to work wherever I felt my gifts and my passion for mission finance could be best used. Our children were very reluctant to leave South Africa and move to America, but we prayed about it and we feel blessed by what we do.”
The continuing need to raise personal support is a particular challenge for the couple, as they don’t have the kind of roles that even committed Christians often feel drawn to support.
“As passionate as I am about mission finance, I find it very difficult to talk about our own support-raising needs. We are very blessed to have two great churches behind us, who really support us well in all sorts of ways,” he admits.
“The costs in America are much higher than in South Africa, especially when it comes to health insurance, but we trust in God to provide the finance. If he wants us to stay in our roles, then he will provide the finance.
“It’s a privilege to do the work I do and to serve SIM, which makes the gospel its first priority.”
By Tim Allan
- Give thanks for all those using their finance and accountancy skills, which are so vital to the integrity and future of God’s kingdom.
- For Darren and the SIM International finance team, as they serve SIM’s global leadership and support SIM finance workers around the world.
- For David, Graham and Sam in the SIM UK finance team, whose work makes it possible for others to continue serving the least-reached communities with the gospel.