If a Loving Church Congregation Sponsors Your Ministry

If a loving church congregation sponsors your ministry – you are in a most delightful position. You do not have to beg or make constant appeals for funds; you merely send reports and thank you letters.

a loving church congregation

This was the case with the Apostle Paul and the church congregation at Philippi, which he had founded in one of his missionary trips. The believers there loved and cared for Paul, and frequently sent financial gifts. Sometimes these gifts were delivered in person by one of their own, such as Epaphroditus.

Acts chapter 14 tells how Paul and Silas first came to Philippi, met some women at the river on the Sabbath, including Lydia, a seller of purple, having a prayer meeting. They shared the Good News of Jesus and His finished work on the cross for them.

Paul also cast out an evil spirit from a fortune-telling slave girl. This upset her owners and they soon started a riot in which Paul and Silas were beaten, flogged and thrown into a prison. That night an earthquake set them free, and they helped the warden and his family to all come to trust in Christ for salvation.

From that nucleus of believers, a business woman, a slave girl, and a prison warden and his family, a small congregation of the Church of Christ was started in Philippi. Yet it grew and became the loving church of Philippians, who kept in touch with Paul as he continued his travels, starting more churches.

Because they made it their business to keep in touch with Paul they were aware when he was in financial need. I doubt that Lydia was the only giver in that congregation. Though it is likely that her business expertise may have made her a leader in planning how they would gather up funds, and deliver them to Paul – wherever he was.

We do know from reading Paul’s letter to the Philippians, that they had overseers and deacons, so it may have grown considerably and included people from all levels of social strata.

The question now is; how can you get a loving church congregation to sponsor your ministry? Do you have to be an itinerant missionary first, like Paul, and found such a church somewhere?

Well, that sounds like a good start!

But what about your home church? The one where you heard the gospel first, and where you have been taught and grounded in God’s Word? You have been well grounded in the truths and principles of God’s Word, right? That would be your best starting place.

If not, take time to find such a Bible-practicing church congregation, and become a part of it. Show them love and joy and confidence, and they are likely to gladly agree to be your supporting church in prayers and gifts.

What an ideal – when a loving church congregation sponsors your ministry! I wish that for you!

Caring Generosity

 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_age

Caring has many facets and is seen in such a variety of situations. This week I have seen and been reminded afresh of such Caring Generosity. Watching one of the staff in a restaurant so naturally sharing with a senior grandmother in a wheelchair. Sharing a special drink with her sip by sip over 10 mins or so. Really special for sure.

Then hearing of other family members who push their senior parent in a wheelchair about a quarter of a mile to a restaurant to enjoy a meal together roughly once a week. Devotion and quality Caring Generosity.

The Free Wheel Chair project seeks to make such mobility enhancement tools available internationally. What a blessing to those who receive them. They send a container load to organisations worldwide. Caring Generosity indeed. https://www.freewheelchairmission.org/ourwheelchairs

Global Nomad

How to Get Christian Workers Back to Work

We can learn how to get Christian workers back to work from that cup-bearer, Nehemiah-turned-Administrator in Jerusalem.

Nehemiah had his ‘hands full.’ He was in charge or restoration and rebuilding in Jerusalem. Then he learned that the food resources that should be – were not given to the Levites. They were the tribe assigned to tabernacle – then temple – duty. They were to serve there on behalf of all of Israel as God had ordained back in the desert, when He gave Moses instructions for building and managing the Tabernacle. The Levites were to serve there full-time and to be supported by the tithes and offerings brought in by the other tribes.

When Nehemiah learned that the Levites and the singers were leaving their posts in the House of the Lord, and going back to their villages to work their fields – (they had to feed their families somehow, right?) – he knew it was time for an executive decision.

We read in Nehemiah 13:10-13 that Nehemiah rebuked the officials for allowing the House of God to be neglected. He called the Levites together and got them back to work at their posts.

I don’t see that Nehemiah made any big public announcement, but the officials he had rebuked must have done what they were suppose to do because in the next verse we read, “All Judah brought the tithes of grain, new wine and oil into the storerooms.” Then he assigned Shelemiah the priest, and Zadok the scribe, and a Levite named Pedaiah to be in charge of the storerooms. He made Hanan son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah, their assistant.

How nice to read the next phrase, “. . . Because these men were considered trustworthy. They were made responsible for distributing the supplies to their brothers.” That’s what it takes to run something like that; trustworthy people looking after the management.

So what principle can we find here for how to get support for your present-day ministry in a Biblical way?

First, it is rather obvious, isn’t it – that if God’s people are faithful in giving their tithes to the Lord – aka our local church, then the servants of the Lord will have their expenses and living for their families covered. God’s plan is not flawed.

The problem is with the people who do not obey God’s command. Doing that would be how to get Christian workers back to work.

Now, there are those who argue that today we are not held to the Old Testament commands. Maybe not in a legalistic way, but common sense shows that God’s principles still hold true. We ought to support our fellow believers who are serving the Lord full-time. If all of us who are part of a Church body (which means we are part of the Body of Christ, the Church universal) were to simply bring in a tithe of our income every week, we would not lack for our pastoral staff, education and childrens’ ministries, benevolent works in the community and even sending missionaries to other places that have not heard the gospel.

Maybe what we need now is an administrative person like Nehemiah to call attention to this, and put the Christian workers to work. Then if those who who are in authority will announce that this is how it is to be done.

Those who are in ministry work in the church or on a new field, – we can pray that God will convict the people and cause them to give.He has the power and knows how to get the Christian workers back to work.

Friendly Letters, Emails, Videos, for Fund-raising

Friendly Letters - for fundraising

There is great value in fund-raising by writing friendly letters and emails. Do you write interesting letters or emails to your supporters?

Let’s look at Paul’s letter to the believers at Rome.

“But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to see you, I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to visit you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while.

Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the saints there. For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.

So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this fruit, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way. I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.” (Romans 15:23-29 NIV)

Paul, the first travelling missionary, in the early church, had a way of thinking ahead when it came to fund-raising. He was heading to Jerusalem with some financial gifts from other small churches meant to help out the Jewish believers there who were experiencing food shortages.

However, he took time to write a friendly letter, full of doctrinal teaching, to the church at Rome, and confided that he hoped to visit them when he made his next missionary trip to Spain. He told them about his present trip to Jerusalem with funds given by the churches in
Macedonia and Archaia. Then he suggested that they also put such a gift together to help out the Jews, from whom all the Gentiles had received the blessing of the gospel.

We know from reading Acts and the subsequent friendly letters of Paul in the New Testament, that he did get to Rome, but not quite as he had planned. He was not on the way to Spain, but brought in chains to appeal the charges made against him in Jerusalem to Caesar himself. All this took several years!

What can we learn here about fund-raising for our ministries with friendly letters, or for believers in need?

I think much can be accomplished with written communications, such as friendly letters and emails. Not everyone can naturally express themselves clearly in a written format, much less persuade others to cheerfully part with their money and make a generous gift.

(In fact, if you ever look into copywriting, you will find that those rare individuals who can write an effective sales letter, which persuades the reader to buy or donate – such writers can command very high fees for their services! I’m talking in the range of $50,000 or more for 20 minutes of work, writing just one or two pages of text!)

So then, is it impossible for a missionary or ministry leader to write effective friendly letters, to raise their support, or to get funds for a specific project?

No. I don’t think you need to hire a costly copywriter. If you pray earnestly, asking God to help you, and you write sincerely, sharing from your heart, about the work you are doing, and the needs as you see them, and if you write your letters or emails often enough so that people who care can feel that they understand what is going on in your world and what God is doing through you, then it is up to the Holy Spirit to persuade them to give generously. Our role is just to provide enough information for the Holy Spirit to work with.

It might be helpful if you can get one or more persons back home, or where you are reporting to, who will write back and dialogue with you. That way you can find out if your letters are clear enough. If your correspondent asks questions that indicate he or she did not understand all you wrote, you need to write again to the whole group or church, and make it more plain.

Today, we have so many other options. If you can’t express yourself well in written format, or you can’t spell worth three beans, how about learning to create videos? Or talking with people via Skype or such online programs? It is almost as good as being there in person!

Hmm… maybe we’ll have to prepare some lessons in this some time on this blog.

GENEROSITY ON WHEELS

Having wheels can be such a blessing.  Especially when folks are on leave in their home country for a month or so. It has been so encouraging to meet up with groups internationally who have the vision to assist in such situations. There are two currently operational in the UK. If you’d like to know more about them, do drop me a line.

Have also been aware of one in South Africa but have not read about it recently. Such provision channels are brilliant and enable folk to achieve their home assignments well. There are so many ways to be generous.

Global Nomad

## Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

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