A lot of people have asked me to explain what I do during the short time I’ve been in ministry. Me sitting across the table or on the other end of the couch blabbing about my work is too familiar a sight now. I try not to make it routine, but I can still always accurately predict how a meeting will unfold. After the pleasantries, a little catch up will always follow. Then either at my request or at my companion’s asking, I will start explaining what I do and how I would like for him/ her to be a part.
Sometimes they have an idea, and sometimes they don’t. Other times they ask questions mid my presentation; other times they just sit and listen till am done. So I never stick to an ordered script. But I always make sure to cover the important stuff. I’ll definitely explain from God’s Word His mission calling to every Christian that we take the blessing of the Gospel to all nations. I never miss to show who these nations are in God’s world that we live in. Probably give a few statistics about them and show their desperate (possibly even an understatement) need for the Gospel. Then I might close with ways we could each be involved in God’s Work, making sure to show the misplaced focus we’ve had as Christians and hindered the advancement of God’s Kingdom as a result.
We could pray for the unreached, give to missionary efforts, go witness to them ourselves in their communities, reach out to the ones we have in our neighborhoods and cities, or mobilize the rest of the Christians and their resources to focus on them. That last one, mobilization, is what I do. What would you do if I told you that there are 2.1 billion Christians in the world today, and then there are also 2.9 billion people with no access to the Gospel meant to be reached by the Christians? But, of the Christians, only less than 10% are living their lives on mission through any of the five practices listed above. Which completes the job faster and better; sending out the 10% with their already stretched resources to the billions yet to be reached, or igniting a sense of mission agency among the 90% where the bulk of resources are to join with the 10%? The latter is what mobilization seeks to accomplish.
That’s what my life since leaving campus has been. God grouped me with other wonderful Christians who desire nothing but to see His vision to bless all nations accomplished and our Messiah return for us. Real sojourners here on earth. They live here but invest where our real home is. Quite unlike some of our parliamentarians who represent the village but invest in the city; an accurate example of many Christians. We mostly mobilize through trainings, but basically every other time it’s what we think about. I might be a bit of an exception though because I think a lot about Isla and our wedding plans too, hehe. Anyway, we mobilize full time. We don’t hit some office in town the rest of the week for a monthly paycheck and then do this on the weekends. No, we do it every day.
Have we wasted our careers because we don’t actively practice them? It depends on what you think is a better profit to God for the investment He’s made in you in form of knowledge, training and gifting all through your years of learning. A few millions of shillings over your lifetime that majorly serves you and your family or a harvest of souls to inherit His Kingdom eternally? Few ever understand what we do to survive. Support raising we call it. Being called to ministry didn’t mean we’d have any lesser responsibilities to ourselves, families, society and the government than other people. We too have mouths to feed and bills to pay and we need money for those. We do acknowledge that not every Christian will be called to serve in full time ministry as we do. That doesn’t mean there are those of us excused to be part time Christians with a lesser responsibility to fulfill God’s mission purpose; though most live like that.
So we invite basically every Christian around us to commit to giving, preferably monthly, to our work and needs. It’s a very Biblical model and one that’s very sustainable. You’ll see it in how the Levite priests in the Old testament lived, and also in how the early church funded its ministry. You will especially see it in Jesus’ ministry. He, the God of the universe, preferred depending on His created beings for His needs to miraculously popping gold stacks out of fish mouths though He could effortlessly do that! He modeled this divine interdependence that is a hallmark of supporting ministry. The giver understands that their wealth is not theirs to keep but God’s to use, and the receiver appreciates that their success in ministry is not theirs to boast in but Christ’s to glory in and His Church to rejoice in.
It would be wonderful if everyone in ministry were attached at some church and received salary every month. But that would still deny many Christians the beauty of personal involvement and taking responsibility for God’s purpose. It would be no different from how we’ve poorly tithed and given offerings in church. Few ever care to find out how they are used. A true giver’s heart seeks more than just parting with a few bucks though. It concerns itself with their use, what challenges the cause might be facing, how to pray, etcetera. Nothing creates that better than the individual relationships built on support raising. The thought that every time I invite someone to support my ministry I am God’s instrument in offering them a privileged opportunity to experience that has been one great encouragement to keep going. So I will always end those presentations from across the table with “Would you like to join me by committing to be giving monthly?”
“Kindly do allow me to pray about it then get back to you.”
If anyone that has shared my side of the conversation will tell you, they have received that response maybe ninety percent of the time; and there are hundreds of thousands of us. While that’s not a bad response to give, it is also sometimes not a good one. Eight months down the line and someone is still praying? Or they just went quiet? I wish I didn’t say this, but so many times Christians have given that response because it is the appropriate answer to give and not because they genuinely wish to go pray about what you asked. There may be many genuine reasons why Christians at some point might not be able to give in support of God’s work, but not knowing whether it is His will or not should never be one.
We have a tendency to treat with bias the various aspects of our lives basing on whether we consider them more sacred or secular. Christians have fallen into the trap of treating other aspects of life as spiritual and others as not. Let me put the record straight. There is nothing about a man made of body, spirit and soul that can have only physical significance and no real spiritual significance. Your breathing is as spiritual an activity as a biological one. Or we try taking away your spirit from you and see if you will still breathe? We hardly see the light moments of fun and laughter as spiritual activities that God would be present in, but they are. They are no different from that time in church when we are deep in worship. God delights in all these aspects of our lives.
We pray so hard asking God to show us His will on whom to marry, and that’s a good thing because it shows we understand the weight of the matter and wouldn’t want to mess up. It reveals our trust and dependence on God. But do we ever seek His will the same way on where we should work for example? That’s as easy as applying for jobs your training qualifies you for and taking whichever opening that comes. Unfortunately, such an approach shows our reliance on self in this other area of our lives. Career is equally as sacred as marriage, and both deserve the careful seeking of God’s will.
Now, I would be okay if someone told me they can’t support ministry because maybe their resources are too thinly spread. Which sometimes is a terrible excuse because 200 or 500 shillings wouldn’t kill if you parted with that monthly, would it? We never ask for so much. I wouldn’t take an offense if someone said they were already supporting another ministry or individual (I always rejoice at that because it is more about people supporting God’s work than supporting me), or if they asked to pray over whom or where, or how much to give. But, I would mind, or hurt even, if you asked to go find out from God if it’s okay that you invest His resources in His work. That’s just absurd! How many times has He to speak?
If you ever ask God every evening you heading home from work whether it is okay to buy food for your family, then give me that gibberish! If you ever ask God if it is His will that you pay your school fees or keep it instead, again I say, bring me that hogwash! I’ll take it. Do we ever need to make some special prayer and find out what the God honoring thing to do in those situations would be? No! Why then do we seek some sort of divine voice to determine if it’s okay to be a part of making disciples of all nations? How clearer should God get? We shouldn’t need any special convincing to join, instead we need one not to. Serving in God’s mission should be the special yet normal Christian thing. If there’s any special calling required, being a Christian/ born again should be all.
The question is never whether we should support missions or not. The question is whether we are willing to. I’ve heard of and witnessed enough individuals, families and ministries terribly suffer because they lacked funding. I’ve had my own share of anxieties too. While God has faithfully used these experiences to build our faith, I still find it unacceptable that some will suffer not because God has willed it, but because others have disobeyed.
You see, dear Christian, I appreciate that you show concern for my welfare and my family’s, and you encourage me to find a ‘meaningful’ job that pays. You even use how the Bible warns that the man who doesn’t provide for his family is worse than a non-believer (1 Timothy 5:8). That’s thoughtful, and I do sincerely thank you. But if I should be faithful in what God has called me to do and it meant I can’t engage in any other activity that brought me a paycheck, then the reality of that verse should encourage you to join with me and ensure I don’t become worse than the non-believer rather than use it to make me quit. Neither I, nor my family, will ever be your responsibility. That’s mine. But God’s work which He has called us to is your responsibility too and we just might suffer if you fail on your part. Think about this. If you held a rope for me to go into a deep pit and rescue a friend of ours. Would I survive if you let go off the rope? I hope you are answered.
That scripture should never be used to discourage people in ministry away from serving as has been the case often. Instead it should be used to encourage complacent Christians not actively involved in seeing God’s purposes accomplished to join those who are already at it. The man not providing for his family may be worse than a non-believer, but the man doing nothing to advance God’s Kingdom is no better. He is of no benefit to the Kingdom just as the unbeliever in the other kingdom.
I know it may feel like I wrote this for my own selfish reasons, maybe because I hope that you will be convinced to support next time it’s you I’m grabbing coffee with. You may also think I did this for the countless men and women in ministry depending entirely on support. Quite honestly, to an extent yes. Yes, I did it for us. But more significantly, I did it for you. You who hasn’t been on mission with God and will continue feeling hollow until you join Him. This is for you who awaits a supernatural experience to heed His call when it will never get any more supernatural than ‘because He said it’. This is for you to pray, go, give/send, welcome and mobilize. Will you please avoid the spiritual excuse that you will pray about it and just get to it?