When doling out your missions budget and considering who you will support, what process do you employ to decide where it will go? I am presuming you do have some grounds on which you will give or not give. Based on that presumption, what are they?
For many of us, our decision essentially amounts to whether we like the individual(s) we are thinking of supporting. By like, I don’t mean think they are undertaking vital work, I mean we just like them. They’re either our pals, we’ve met them at some conference or other and we hit it off or they’ve managed to talk the talk and play the game so that we seriously consider supporting them.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I think the Lord puts people in our circle of friends, and in our families, in his sovereignty. If people in our particular social circle (or whatever) happen to be doing work that we think is vital, it makes perfect sense to support them. But there is the key, isn’t it? Not, ‘they’re my mate so I’ll support them just because’ but ‘they’re doing vital work that should be supported, mate or not.’ It makes sense to support people to whom we’re properly linked rather than fashion links with people we don’t know doing the same thing. But the grounds for our support ought not to be our friendship – that is just cronyism by any other name – but the specific gospel work they’re doing.
That should really be the grounds for our support. If our priority is the Lord and his kingdom, whilst we might support our mates because they’re genuinely breaking new ground, it may also mean we support people we don’t know because they’re the ones engaged in the most vital ministry. The basis of our support has to be the importance of the gospel ministry the person is doing, not how much we like the guy doing it or whether they happened to present themselves in a way that tickled our ears.
If the grounds of our giving ought to be the gospel ministry itself, then those who are involved in reaching the unreached ought to be high on our agenda. They may or may not already be our mates, or play the game in the way we think it ought to be played, or click with us like people from our culture, but none of that should be all that important. Our priority has to be reaching the lost, not just financing our pals.
I am grateful to all those who have taken this approach in supporting Oldham Bethel Church. Whilst some of the people supporting our church might like me, I don’t delude myself into thinking everybody does. But those things are immaterial. What matters is that there are people facing a lost eternity outside of Christ. If someone who is not disqualified from ministry is about the business of reaching them, however much we may or may not click with them personally, what matters is supporting a ministry in a place that desperately needs the gospel.
Let’s make sure that we are driven by gospel priorities. We need to be sure that we are supporting ministry because we believe in the ministry itself. Our giving and partnerships should be driven primarily by need, not just by who we happen to like the most.
If you would like to support the work of Oldham Bethel Church, you can do so by visiting our giving page.