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Missions Lesson 8

CALVARY Baptist CHURCH Instructor: J. VandenHurk

SCHOOL of the BIBLE Missions Lesson Eight

Missions Quote of the Week –

“God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.”

– Hudson Taylor (English missionary from Barnsley who founded the China Inland Mission)

LESSON EIGHT: “MISSIONARY FINANCES”

Church planting is the foundational method of missions. The Great Commission is clear that we are to go and teach, Mt. 28:19-20. The primary meaning of the word teach is to disciple, which is done in the context of local churches. This begins with preaching the Gospel and discipling. Local churches are the method of discipling. They are also the result of discipling.

Planting churches is the biblical method of discipling and spreading the Gospel across the face of the earth, while its members continue to grow in the grace of God.

A local church requires a place to baptize and teach converts. It requires certain physical items and teaching materials. On a practical level, the question often comes up, “How are these things to be paid for?”

In this lesson, we will try to answer the following questions:

— How are churches to operate financially?

— How are missionaries to be paid?

— How are local pastors to be paid?

HOW ARE CHURCHES TO OPERATE FINANCIALLY?

The Bible teaches THE TITHE as His method for supplying for the church.

Malachi 3:8-12

  1. The Tithe is to be brought into the storehouse, which is the church (Mal. 3:10; I Cor. 16:2)
  2. The Tithe is to be brought on the first day of the week (I Cor. 16:2)
  3. The Tithe is in proportion to a man’s income (I Cor. 16:2)
  4. The Tithe is ten percent, Lev. 27:32.
    1. * God does not own ten percent; God owns everything (Ps. 24:1; 50:10; Haggai 2:8; I Cor. 6:20). When we talk about tithing, we are talking about what God wants us to do as good stewards (I Cor. 4:2).
  5. The Tithe is holy unto the Lord, Lev. 27:30-32 (Deut. 7:6; 14:2,21; I Peter 1:16)
  6. The Tithe brings God’s promise of blessing (Mal. 3:10; I Cor. 2:9)
  7. The Tithe brings God’s promise of protection from the devil (Mal. 3:11; I Peter 5:8)
  8. The Tithe brings God’s promise of protection of our fruit (Mal. 3:11)
  9. The Tithe is was not only a part of the Levitical Law:
    1. Tithing was practiced before the Law (Gen. 14:20)
    2. Tithing was confirmed by the Lord Jesus (Matthew 23:23)
  10. The Tithe brings honour to the Lord, which must take first priority in our lives (Proverbs 3:9)
  11. If we do not bring the Tithe, we are robbing God (Mal. 3:8)
  12. The Tithe is not giving; it is bringing. When we tithe, we are bringing to the Lord what already belongs to Him (Mal. 3:10)
  13. The Tithe should not be brought in a legalistic sense, but willingly and of a free will (Ezra 2:68; 7:16; 2 Cor. 9:7). In the early church, this sometimes included giving much more than a tenth, as some believers sold homes or land to meet the needs that existed in the church (Acts 4:34-37).

How does this relate to missions?

— Through this provision of the tithe, it is possible for each local church to be selfsupporting anywhere in the world and not dependent upon foreign churches or missionaries.

— If you read the book of Acts, there is no hint that the churches among the Gentiles were supported by the Jewish congregations that sent out the missionaries. In fact, they were not only self-supporting, but they were even sending out missions gifts to famine stricken saints in Jerusalem (Acts 24:17; Rom. 15:26).

— If a congregation is not self-supporting, but relies on the missionary, it deprives them of the spiritual blessings and privilege of responsibility. If they do not have to sacrifice to support the work, they will become weak Christians and more inactive in the evangelism and responsibility of the work, and will be willing to allow the missionary to do everything. On the other hand, they will cherish a work which has cost them sacrifice / effort.

— Illustration: church property – a sense of responsibility and ownership makes a huge difference.

— Paul began churches in people’s homes. He got on with meeting people in the city and looking out for people who were friendly to the gospel message and gave the converts the responsibility to provide the meeting place (Acts 16:12-15).

— Illustration: Butterfly in a cocoon needs to struggle or it will die.

HOW ARE MISSIONARIES TO BE PAID?

Just as Christians partner with missionaries in prayer, they also share in the fruit of their labors through sacrificial, financial giving (Phil. 4:10-19).

It is a source of great joy to know that our gifts enable missionaries to stand in our stead, preaching the Gospel, and winning precious souls to Christ.

The financial cost of taking the Gospel to foreign lands is a formidable barrier to modern missions. While money alone can’t convert a single soul, missionaries are sent and sustained only by the consistent, sacrificial, financial commitment of God’s people. Lack of funds has a detrimental effect upon those who are called to take the Gospel to the world. It can significantly delay the departure of new missionaries.

How can we better finance missions so that we can send and equip all whom God calls?

Faith Promise Mission Giving – A BIBLICAL METHOD

It was at Olney that William Carey first met Andrew Fuller. Carey was a young Christian and Fuller was preaching at the Northamptonshire Baptist Association meetings there. This was the beginning of a lifelong friendship and commitment to world mission. In 1789 Carey moved to Leicester to become minister at Harvey Lane. He continued to campaign for world mission and was invited to preach to the Association meetings in Nottingham in May 1792. He chose Isaiah 54:2,3 as his text and called on them to ‘Expect great things from God: attempt great things for God.’ His message was well received but called for action, which made most men hesitate or voice opposition. When discussion was turning to other affairs, Carey tugged Fuller’s sleeve, ‘Is there again nothing going to be done, sir?’ Fuller suggested that they should meet again in October with a view to setting up a mission society. This meeting was held in Kettering in Widow Wallis’ back parlour. (Her hospitable home was called ‘Gospel Inn’ and is now the Carey Mission House, a home for the elderly.) In a leap of faith, a group of 14 men agreed to form the Baptist Missionary Society. Fuller passed round his snuffbox to collect financial pledges of support, which amounted to £13 2s 6d. It was the first modern faith promise mission offering. Carey offered to be the first volunteer missionary to go to India. Then men excitedly compared the venture to a deep unexplored mine. Carey replied famously, “I will venture to go down, but remember that you must hold the ropes.” Fuller became the secretary and continued to raise support from home. 76 years after William Carey’s death, 1,200 missionaries and 160 mission boards met in Edinburgh, Scotland, to discuss how to encourage more churches to give toward missions. Most people credit the Canadian preacher A. B. Simpson (1843-1919) for developing the faith promise program. He claimed he got it from the Bible, and we agree. The program is inspired by the story of the famous snuffbox offering, but is built upon solid biblical principles. Practicing faith in finances is as necessary as practicing faith in all other areas of life.

Churches must send and give by faith:

No great work for God can be accomplished without faith, and 2 Corinthians 10:15-16 states the case for faith promise mission giving, “When your faith is increased…we shall be enlarged by you…to preach the gospel in the regions beyond.”

There are at least eight biblical principles in 2 Corinthians chapters eight and nine which define faith promise mission giving.

  1. Faith giving has a prerequisite that we first give ourselves to the Lord (2 Corinthians 8:5).
  2. Faith giving must come from an attitude that is cheerful (2 Corinthians 9:7).
  3. Faith giving comes from a willingness that demonstrates our desire to further the work of God (2 Corinthians 8:3, 8, 12; 9:7).
  4. Faith giving demonstrates our debt of gratitude for all that Christ has done for us (2 Corinthians 8:8-9, 24).
  5. Faith giving is connected with grace seven times in these two chapters, placing emphasis upon both the gift and the giver (2 Corinthians 8:1,6,7,9,19; 9:8,14).
  6. Faith giving carries the promises of God’s power just as He promises the power to abound in other Christian areas. Faith giving allows believers to give “beyond their power” to the cause of world missions (2 Corinthians 8:2-3, 7).
  7. Faith giving is defined as sacrificial giving. We are to give out of our need rather than out of our excess, even in the presence of trials and poverty (2 Corinthians 8:2).
  8. No one is exempt from participation in faith promise giving. God’s plan is allinclusive; participating is not optional, but the amount we participate with is between us and God (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Paul commends the impoverished Macedonian believers for exemplifying these eight principles of giving, demonstrating that financing missions does not depend so much on deep pocketbooks, but on willing hearts (we give out of our willingness, not our wealth). As its name suggests, faith promise mission giving is based on a faith commitment, in addition to regular tithes and offerings. The church increases its missionary commitments for the next year based on these anonymous commitments. This is not a pledge to the church, but a commitment to Christ and world missions.

The challenge of faith promise is not, “How much can I trust God to give me for a faith promise commitment each week?” Rather, the question is, “How much can I give to faith promise each week and still trust God to meet my own needs?” The first question does not really involve faith, except on the missionary’s part. The latter question exercises real faith because I accept my commitment as a firm obligation and determine to trust God to help me live within His provision. Churches also exercise faith that members will not use their tithes and offerings to pay their faith promise commitment. The fact is that tithes, offerings, and ministry involvement usually increase when faith promise is biblically implemented, because the exercise of this faith produces greater faithfulness in other areas as well.

The simplicity of the faith promise program makes it appropriate for churches of all sizes. A mission conference or dinner perhaps should biblically present faith promise and demonstrate how the funds will be used to send the Gospel around the world. The sacrifices of the missionaries serve as examples of selfless commitment to the Great Commission.

If properly implemented as a biblical faith response rather than just a new method, faith promise mission giving has proven to be a remarkably effective tool in financing missions.

— Success breeds success as churches experience significant increases in commitments each year.

— Faith for giving spills over into other areas of living by faith, injecting spiritual vitality into local churches.

— Systematic giving provides more money for missions than periodic emotional appeals and promotes a greater commitment and attachment to missions and missionaries.

— The faith promise plan allows for significant increases to the missions budget as the congregation approaches each year with an open heart, a growing burden, and a sense of expectancy and urgency.

Missionaries must live and receive by faith:

The life of a missionary and the life of every believer is to be a life of faith. This means we are simply to depend on the Lord and look to Him alone to supply all of our needs (Philippians 4:19).

The great pioneer missionary to China, Hudson Taylor, established what was called The China Inland Mission. This mission believed that missionaries were to operate by faith. In order to maintain this faith principle they followed certain rules. For example, they were never to ask for funds. They believed God would supply their needs in response to believing prayer. Also the missionaries were never to have a “fixed income,” because God was the One who supplied, and whether little would come in or whether much would come in, God would take care of His servants!

In order to live and be content, what two things do people need (see 1 Timothy 6:8)?

Does God promise to supply His children with these two things (Matthew 6:25-34)?

As Hudson Taylor often reminded his workers, “God’s work done faithfully in God’s way” (seek ye first the kingdom of God –Matthew 6:33) “will never lack God’s supply” (and all these things shall be added unto you–Matthew 6:33)!

Old time missionaries used to get on the boat and sail to the foreign field often with very little funds. They looked to God to meet their needs and they found that God was faithful.

Today some missionaries believe that they need thousands and thousands of dollars before they will even consider going to the mission field.

MONEY and FINANCES have become quite a problem.

More and more people (both in churches and on the mission field are looking to MEN to meet their needs and less and less are looking to God.

How does God’s Word say that we should live and walk (2 Corinthians 5:7)?

A missionary who lives by faith and has to trust God is usually more spiritually healthy and will last in the long run (Judges 7:2-7; I Cor. 10:12)

* As a missionary, Paul never received money from the churches he was working in, only from outside churches (I Cor. 9:12,18; 2 Cor. 11:8).

* As a missionary in a pioneering work, it was sometimes necessary for him ot find some secular employment (Acts 18:3; 20:35)

HOW ARE LOCAL PASTORS TO BE PAID?

The Bible teaches that unlike the missionary, churches are responsible to provide for their own pastors.

  1. The Lord has ordained that pastors should be provided for, I Cor. 9:14.
  2. It is logical that pastors should be provided for, I Cor. 9:7.
  3. Pastors bring spiritual food, which is worth more than physical, I Cor. 9:11,
  4. Pastors are to be honoured, I Tim. 5:17.
  5. Pastors who do well are to be given double honour, I Tim. 5:17.
  6. Pastors are worth more than oxen, I Tim. 5:18.
  7. Pastors are to be given reward / wages, I Tim. 5:18.

Under ordinary circumstances even the poorest can support a pastor according to their own standard of living if there are ten or more faithful tithing families in the congregation.

In an old, thought provoking book, Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours, Roland Allen describes Paul as following three principles in finances:

  1. He did not seek financial help from the new churches
  2. He did not take finances to them
  3. He did not administer the local church’s finances

Paul’s principles did not leave churches he started dependent upon outside help.

Paul did not seek financial help from the new churches

Certainly, missionaries themselves must be sent out of established churches and be maintained by them. But he must not take money from the church he is building. Any foreign missionary is considered questionable in building a church. People whose minds are steeped in idolatry may think that they can buy benefits. Paul did not give a basis to the devil by which his sincerity and ministry might be called into question.

Paul did not take finances to them

It is unfortunate that the function and livelihood of many churches and pastors in foreign lands are dependent upon American finances for their existence. National pastors from other countries flooding American and British churches for personal support is an indictment on the mission methods of churches and missionaries. It is planned weakness for flash-in-the-pan results.

Biblical mission methods have been changed with a utilitarian spirit. This, of course, does not relieve Western churches of responsibility in disaster areas and financial encouragement in mission projects in other lands. Paul helped the Judaean believers from Achaia and Macedonia. If national pastors are to helped financially, it must be for a designated period of time only. To make a pastor or church dependent upon outside finances is robbing them of their faith and the blessing of knowing God’s provision through faith. The issue is whether the methods used result in dependence or independence for churches.

Paul allowed each local church to administer their own finances.

No church will grow without attendant financial growth. The cornerstone of Baptist polity is individual responsibility. A missionary must follow biblical methods and accomplish this or his job is never complete. The goal must be local, self-supporting, indigenous churches.