Third base – Finances
Third base is the financial base. God’s plan to finance the local church is through the tithes (10%) and offerings (Malachi 3:8-11; Matthew 23:23). However, when a church is being planted, there usually are not enough tithes to support a leader for the church. We need to prayerfully consider various options and take personal responsibility for our finances.
How does the Lord desire to fill your cup to provide for you and for your family? Luke 6:38 tells us that men will “give into our laps” (fill our cups) as we, in obedience, give to others. We must allow the Lord to fill our cup any way He chooses. Luke 16:10-11 teaches us that God uses our proper handling of money to prepare us for spiritual ministry. Our cups may be filled by a combination of sources. Here are some of the ways (potential sources of provision) the Lord may choose to fill our cups:
“He stayed with them and worked…” (Acts 18:1-3). Tent-making is working at a job or business to earn income to finance our family and the new church plant as the church is being planted. If your church grows more slowly than you anticipate, tent making will allow you to continue indefinitely if needed. Working part-time, (at least) has been a proven way to release much needed finances that allow the church to do more, earlier and longer. In addition, tent making provides natural oikos relationships. Oikos is the Greek word for household or house of people. Your oikos is that group of people whom you relate with on a regular basis. Every believer should apply the oikos principle to their lives as a way of infiltrating their spheres of influence with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Acts 10:2 speaks of Cornelius and all of his family (oikos), He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. “… Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends [his oikos]” (Acts 10:24).
In Matthew 17:27, Peter found a coin in the mouth of a fish to pay his taxes and Jesus’ taxes. This was not normal for Jesus’ provision; however, the Lord did feed the 5,000 supernaturally.
Support team of family and friends
In Luke 8:1-3, we read that Jesus had a team who supported Him from their substance. Many para-church ministries encourage missionaries and church planters to build a support team and send out newsletters, etc. This is a scriptural way for the Lord to provide for us.
First identify potential supporters. Then make a personal contact with them. Share your vision for extending the kingdom of God by church planting. Ask them for financial support. Then communicate monthly with those who are investing in the church plant.
Local church support
In 2 Corinthians 8:3-4, a gift was given to Paul from the local church. Some missionaries and church planters are blessed by the support of their local church as God’s way of providing for them. Sometimes a local church will segregate the tithes of those on the church planting team for the period of time leading up to the plant to build a “kitty” for the plant.
Living from the gospel
1 Corinthians 9:7-14 teaches us that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel. Galatians 6:6 says, “Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.” If a traveling fivefold minister (Ephesians 4:11-12) preaches the Word to a cell group or local church, the believers should bless him financially. This helps to fill his cup.
“Honor” given to an elder who is sent out
1 Timothy 5:17-18 tells us the laborer is worthy of his wages. Sometimes a local church leader will be supported as a local elder as he ministers for a season in another part of the world.
Proverbs 13:22 says a good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children. Some families have used inheritance money as God’s provision to support them as short-term missionaries and church planters.
Investments and business
In Matthew 25:14-18, Jesus gives the Parable of the Talents. Some successful businessmen who have been blessed to use their talents wisely give a season of their lives to missions and church planting. Retired military personnel have at times used their pension to support them financially in church planting and missions.
The ant method (work and save)
Proverbs 6:6-8 tells us that ants “labor hard in the summer, gathering food for the winter” (Living Bible). Some church planters work hard and save for a season and then use the money that is saved to support them on the mission field and in church planting.
Luke 10:7 tells us the laborer is worthy of his wages. “Kingdom breadwinning” is to be paid by the church or Christian ministry as a staff member of the church or ministry.
Church planting team members
One of the benefits of a sponsoring church is to provide you with team members to go with you who also help to financially support the church plant. These people will already share your vision and be willing to help you with the financial load. Hold a new church “baby shower” where people can donate supplies from a list that has been sent out to them.
Count the cost (Luke 14:28-30)
Count the cost with these questions regarding the Lord filling your financial cup in the way that He chooses:
“Lord, have you called me to be a church planter?”
“Lord, how do you desire to fill my cup?”
“Lord, what can I do now to start?”
Am I willing to count the cost and “bear the cross”? (God’s choice of provision not
being the same as ours can be our cross.)
- When one door of provision closes, am I willing to allow God to open another?
Unmet expectations bring a death blow to many church planters, spiritual leaders, translocal fivefold ministries, and missionaries. Here are some danger signs to avoid:
Dictating to God how to fill your cup
Comparing how God is filling our cup with how He fills others’ cups (2 Corinthians
10:12; John 21:21-22)
Seeing one area of provision as more spiritual than another with it becoming an idol in
our hearts (Ezekiel 14:3). If I trust any one area as being more spiritual, I get my eyes
off the Lord!
Not being willing to pay the “timing price.” (The Lord uses the process of filling our
cups to prepare us spiritually for service.)
Expecting another person, mission agency, or church to take the responsibility to provide the funds to fulfill “my” vision.
A Home Run
A home run is being sent out to plant a church or launching into a new ministry. God’s timing is crucial. The church planter can have all the information, plans and strategies possible, but if the timing is off then not much is accomplished. On the other hand, another church planter can go in without much information, plans or strategies, but gets the timing right and have immediate success. Church planting then needs to be approached from both a spiritual and a practical perspective. Prayer is often the key to know God’s timing to move ahead.
The sending church can rejoice with you as the new church is established. The order of these bases can be changed, but the key is for us to cover them all.
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