Now that we’ve got some good heart postures from our last blog (check it out here!), let’s continue on, building our foundation so we can move into support raising with confidence, boldness and faith, which are key aspects to support raising.
One of the most important things to get straight, I believe, is figuring out what the Bible says about all of this. I do not, and cannot, simply sign up for man’s agenda or ideas if they are not born out of a place of truth in God. So, let us turn to Scripture to find out what God has written and established for the topic of support raising in ministry/missions. Two main instances I want to look at are that of the Levites and the apostle Paul.
When the tribes of Israel entered the promised land, God divided up the land and gave to each tribe a portion of the Promised Land as their welfare that they would live off and cultivate. However, to the Levites He said this, “You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites.” (Numbers 18:20). Interesting… if that was the case, how would they both serve God with all of their time and energy in the Promised Land (as they were set apart to do) and still make a living for themselves and their families?
Well, in that same chapter as you continue to read, God establishes a system where the Levites are to take from the tithe that the people of God bring to the temple and use that as their welfare. So as people bring their livestock, their grains, their wines, etc, God gave to the Levites what they wanted/needed out of that tithe.
Here we see the very first example of this system we call support raising. God set apart a specific group of people to minister to people on His behalf in a particular way. In such a way that they would not be able to provide for themselves. How did God remedy that? He took what the people of God brought to Him as a sacrifice, and gave to the Levites out of that.
This highlights the fact that God first (not man) established a system where those He calls towards ministry are to be provided for by the people of God as God ordains.
So what about a New Testament example? Maybe that was just something that God had done with His people a long time ago, and maybe that’s not what He wanted to do after Jesus arrived on the scene, right? Well, to answer that, let’s look at the most renowned missionary in the Bible: Paul.
I am sure you have heard Paul referred to, or labeled as a “tent-maker” in the way that he went about doing his ministry.
If you haven’t been a part of the same conversations I have, or heard any of the multiple sermons on the topic, let me clarify: people often claim that Paul was self-sustaining in his ministry by operating a tent-making business wherever he went to fuel his ministry.
This is actually not true.
Yes, Paul made tents, and even did so during his ministry, but not often and for very specific purposes. Instead, for the large majority of his ministry he was supported by churches he gained relationships with during his travels. In fact you will constantly see him writing in his epistles (or letters to these very churches) thanking them for their generosity towards him with their gifts (Phil 4:14-19). Not only that, but Paul also exhorts the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 9:9 regarding them providing for him in his ministry among them.
So based off of these things, we see that Paul modeled this idea of trusting God to provide and looking to the people of God for that provision.
So Now What?
So now that we have established that we are pursuing a system set up by God and not man, and we know that even Paul himself did support raising to fund his ministry that God called him to, now what?
Well, I believe this is a very key foundation to start with when it comes to support raising, for a number of reasons.
- We can have confidence that we aren’t simply following some made up system that man created to try and figure out how to fuel ministry, but this system was created by God Himself.
- Since we know this is indeed “God’s way”, then we can also have confidence that He will support His way of doing things with His power and grace.
So hold your head up high. You are stepping into God’s plans for walking out your calling in this season of your life. Not only that but His power and His grace are coming in full power to unlock all that you need (and more!) in this time as you follow His path.
Make sure you stay tuned next blog for more practical strategies to build off this biblical foundation!
May God richly bless you according to the abundance found in His heart for you.