Apostle Paul in Prison by Rembrandt
People often wonder how Aimee and I make it financially. And I don't blame them for wondering. After all, it doesn't add up. He used to be a senior pastor
, some think to themselves, but now what does he do? How does he make money? How does he support his family?
QUESTION/TOPIC IN FOCUS: Learning to trust the Lord with finances when making disciples and planting churches is one of your top priorities
When I first set out on the organic journey, I vividly remember walking across a parking lot in South-Central L.A. with Neil Cole, author of Organic Church
. Curious about how others were making it, I asked, "So, how do apostle-types like me support their families?" Although I can't remember Neil's response verbatim, I do remember the sense his response left me with. Because there are no easy answers, I don't want to emotionally scar you by pointing out this whole organic thing isn't exactly lucrative. And since some answers are better processed by discovery, I'll just let this one play out for you in time.
Through Christ Who Gives Us Strength
Excerpted from Paul the Aposle's letter to the Philippians
The Apostle Paul by Rembrandt
I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength (4:10-13).
|My Reflections |
Here's a realistic picture of my financial life since embarking on this journey. First, Aimee and I do have trouble making it. Second, my ego does hurt at times. Although my head tells me my identity is in Christ alone, my heart sometimes feels a little awkward when I have to explain to those who knew me as a senior pastor that I now substitute teach at a local middle and high school (Aimee subs, too). Yes, I do make a little money doing adjunct work for a local Christian college and seminary, but the courses are few and far between and hardly provide enough income to make ends meet. In short, there have been difficult times. Yet, God has proven faithful to Aimee and me over and over. Because of God's faithfulness, our needs
are continually met. What's more, Aimee and I are well aware that we and our two boys have grown in ways we never would have had the financial hardships not been allowed by God (Jms 1:2-4).
By way of reflection, consider some of the many thoughts/discoveries I've had over the past several years.
- I cannot find one example of a salaried position in the Bible
- Yeshua, a well-qualified minister, was not well-supported (Mt 8:20)
- Paul, another well-qualified minister, was not well-supported (2 Co 11:9; 1 Thess 2:6)
- The church is not a career path; let's not treat it like one
- We proliferate that which we continue to reward
- If an ample supply of money and a growing congregation are indicators of God's favor, then the Wal-Mart corporation is God's favorite (hmmm, maybe we need to rethink the "indicators")
- Why is the Old Testament law (teaching) of tithing emphasized while the rest of the law is not? Let's be consistent
- People like the idea of expert and celebrity
- People have a business-like view of spiritual leadership or "covering"
Friends in Christ, I am not a doctor, a substitute teacher, a theologian, or a man without health insurance. Instead, I am a persecuted alien (Jn 8:23, 2 Co 4:9), a man in chains (Php 1:13), and a man wholeheartedly committed to fighting the good fight (1 Tim 6:12). When I am weak, He is strong (2 Co 12:10). When my strength is gone, I'll just stand (Eph 6:13).
Let my story be an encouragement to you. We are not of this world.
Hope this was of some benefit to you.
Traver Dougherty (bio)
The Banqueting Table