“The Gospel is free but the road it travels on takes money, and lots of it.”-Mike Turner
I wanted to take a moment to share a few principles that have been on my heart about giving and how mission partnership works. I have found that for many in my generation or newer generations, there is not much of an understanding of how missions giving fits into the world of supporting the Kingdom of God today.
I believe there are at least 3 main levels of giving that support the advancing of God’s Kingdom in the world today and that all believers should be involved in.
Here is a little summary of my thoughts on each.
- Tithes- This is when you, as member, give 10% of your gross income support the operation and ministry of your local church. Without this baseline giving, the local church remains largely weak and ineffective, unable to move forward in advancing the Kingdom. I believe every local church administration should be tithing as well. Their tithe should go to promote God’s mission works all over the world. Many new church plants don’t even support one full time missionary. We have the resources, it’s just a matter of making giving to missions and supporting cross cultural workers a priority.
- Freewill offerings- This is where the majority of missionaries receive their income to live and minister cross culturally. I believe that through free will offering, God increases and blesses the lives of those who give abundantly. Many people are helped in ways that missionaries could never do on our own. The result is thanksgiving and glory to God and advancement of his Kingdom. Without the free will offerings of Christians everywhere, the Gospel would not make inroads into many places that still have very few, if any, disciples of Jesus. Orphans would not be taken care of, outreaches would not be accomplished, projects would be left undone, and weaker churches would not be encouraged and equipped without these offerings.
- Alms-This is giving to the poor. The early Christians were considerate of the poor and looked for ways to bless and help them, especially those who belong to the local church. Local Churches give this way through ongoing benevolence ministries. Missionaries are generally always engaged in the opportunity to give in this way. Their presence ensures that certain people that would not generally have an opportunity to receive are given that opportunity. And there is a greater equality throughout the global Church, so that ones abundance provides for the others lack demonstrating God’s love and care for all his people. Although we can and should give alms as the Spirit leads us, we must never forget that the true need of every human is to be reconnected with the one who created them and forgiven by Him.
Beyond this, there are some people who choose not to give in any systematic way, but rather choose what some would call “grace giving.” They give according to who they feel merits the support within the timing that they feel grace to give it. I do believe all giving should be grace based, but sometimes I feel that people cut themselves short on this approach. The only way that they would not be cut short, would be to give so generously above and beyond with a cheerful heart that God couldn’t help but bless them.
Partnership means that we share in the “fruit”, or benefits of the Gospel work, together.
The Apostle Paul knew this when he spoke to the Philippian church concerning their provision of support for him and his ministry. (see Phil 4:10-19) He stated that he had learned the secret of being content in all things, whether he was down to his last dime or whether he had loads of resources to use for spreading the Gospel.
Yet he called his partners to remember that their giving resulted in “fruit that abounded to their account.”
In other words, there was real benefit from their partnership.
It was never a one way deal with Paul doing all the receiving and the church not receiving anything. Their blessing, whether recognized yet or not, came from their partnership in the Gospel.
If God has given you the ability to make a ton of money, you should consider how after you have provided for your own, you can use that blessing for the glory of God. If you find yourself with very little, you can still challenge yourself to do what you are able, in the same way that the widow in Jesus’ time gave out of her own poverty and thus gave more than any of the others who were throwing in large amounts into the offering.
As Mary, the mother of Jesus, once said, “Whatever he tells you to do, do it.”
That is the key to miracles, financial and otherwise.
Thank you to all of our partners. Without you, we could not do what we do.