Generosity-alive and warm in Your Heart Gives more Effectively when Your Mind is Informed and Discerning - Helping Your Heart

Does Your Ministry Group Support You?

Anyone who receives instruction in the Word - must share all good things...

If you are in Christian ministry, does your ministry group support you?

Ah... you are not sure you have a ministry group? Those are the people that know and agree with your vision. They may follow you around, or travel with you, such as your family and friends. Or, they may stay at home, but be praying hard for you while you are away on a ministry trip. When you come home they want to hear all the details of what you experienced. When these people see you have a practical need, they are the most likely to offer you help. They give you food and money - when they have it. They encourage you by rejoicing with your successes, and praying all the harder, when you have difficulties.

Jesus and His disciples were supported by just such a group, mostly women. (Luke 8:1-3) They were part of their entourage much of the time, and provided food and clothing, also their homes for hospitality. Some of the women, like Mary Magdalene, had been healed by Jesus, and they followed out of sheer gratitude, doing what they could to help the ministry of Jesus and the disciples.

These women did not have to be told, nor begged to help. They saw needs, and they stepped in just like any efficient mother, aunt, or friend would do - and to the extent of their capacity.

You may have such a ministry group, but you have your eyes peeled for the big donors or patron saints. People who will just hand you bags of money at regular intervals, and let you do as you please.

Maybe... just maybe you need to learn to appreciate and encourage that closer, intimate support group. They may not have as much money as the big sponsors in the Western countries, but these people close by may care a whole lot more, and have a mind to give and help you. If that group needs to be larger, maybe you need to share with your listeners and followers what your vision is for your ministry. What burden do you have from the Lord, to advance and increase your ministry work.

If this ministry group knows you better and your vision, God may just inspire them to work harder to support you and meet those needs, so you can do the work God has called you to do.

In Galatians 6:6, Paul gave counsel for supporting those that taught you. "Anyone who receives instruction in the Word must share all good things with his instructor."

I know that some itinerants ministers who go to preach the gospel in communities where there is no established church hesitate to ask those people for any support. Until you have spiritual fruit - that is, people who have accepted the gospel and decided to follow Jesus, it is better not to suggest they should support you, beyond the advice Jesus gave His disciples when they went out to preach the gospel; they were to accept hospitality from a worthy home.

However, once you have established some believers, it is good to teach them to do what they can to support those who have brought the gospel to them, and those who continue to teach them.

There seems to be two extremes; those who like to travel and teach and selfishly fleece their listeners for funds, and those who hesitate to mention any practical needs, out of a desire not to be a burden on others. Yet their travel and ministry suffers for lack of funds.

There should be a way to discourage the first type, and encourage the second to graciously teach their new converts the art of supporting those who bring them the good news and teach them God's Word.

Perhaps that is a thought to develop another time. For now, let's be aware that the Biblical example is for close family and friends and those blessed by your ministry to be your Ministry Group, and that you treat them like partners in the work. Also, for those who have been blessed with the life-transforming gospel to see their role in supporting those who ministered the teaching to them. Let's encourage these more, and let God work an increase through them.

Please Contact Ruth for permission to reprint this article.

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Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada