Keeping pace with God is a principle of working with God’s providence.
A ministry gets ahead of God by creating debts, then seeking God’s supply. If an opportunity seems wonderful but fleeting, people borrow money to take the opportunity. Then they pray for God to provide. God’s provision at any time is a miracle, and He can do the miracle now as well as later. He can provide before we borrow as easily as afterward; and His provision gives a good indication of His will.
We get behind God by waiting for money before vision. Some ministries never take on a new challenge, because they don’t have the money for it. They never will have the money for it. God does not fill the bank account so you can consider what to do with the money. He provides when you pursue an inspired vision.
God uses people at every stage of His kingdom work. He sends people to do the work of the ministry and uses other people to supply the needs of those ministers. Paul refers to the principle of not muzzling the ox to say that the person who ministers God’s Word is to be supported by those who benefit from his teaching (I Cor. 9:9-14).
It has long been Christian practice to send missionaries to preach the gospel in other lands and to supply their needs as they minister. Those who remain at home give and pray, thus participating in the ministries (and rewards) of those who go (Philippians 4:15-17).
As new churches are planted and grow, they should take on the responsibility of supporting the pastors and teachers whom God raises up to minister to them.
People supporting people who minister – a basic biblical principle for funding God’s work.
Let us never forget that money cannot be given unless it is first “made.” God gives us abilities to work, create, or serve. In the process of doing that work, wealth is created. God primarily funds His work with our work (Titus 3:14).
We should constantly be looking for ways in missions for developing locally sustained economies, teaching people to fish rather than simply giving them fish. An example? Buying a motorcycle for a pastor who will then use that as a tool for ministry as well as to generate income for his family.
God uses people to fund his work. People give to people. It is through the people we know and through relationships that we cultivate that ministry is funded. We give where our hearts are engaged. Effectively communicating the impact of giving is one way that God touches people’s hearts to give more.
We must not presume to define one way in which God must work. God used a cruse of oil (1 Kings 17), a group of ladies to support Jesus’ ministry (Lk 8:1-3), the generosity of God’s people (Ex 35:7), and even a fish (Matt 17:27). God uses many means, but a few principles are consistent throughout these accounts:
1) God is sovereign. He may use a fish.
2) God chooses to work through people. He will probably use the gifts of God’s people. Why?
3) Perhaps because as we become financial partners in God’s work, we are changed. Not only the recipient, but the giver is transformed. When Gentile churches gave to Paul’s offering for the Jerusalem Christians, they experienced the reality of being a universal church in which there is no Jew or Gentile. The offering helped to break down the racial barriers in the first century church.
“According to your faith will it be done to you.” -- Jesus Christ.
“God’s work, done God’s way, will never lack God’s supply.” -- J. Hudson Taylor
“Prayer is the Christian’s chief resource available to him.” -- Will Byler
Prayer is vital regarding funding as the Lord shared in the Model Prayer: “…give us this day our daily bread.” In other words, dependency upon the Lord is an important principle. I personally have interest in something called “marketing within ministry.” However, I see abuses of it within the church world and I shudder when I think about where we may be heading. If we embrace man-centered marketing as our primary resource for funding, we quickly become manipulative. The Lord is our fundamental source. Be God-centered. Taylor said it well, for as we do God’s will, God’s way, I believe good things will happen.