By Pat Dirkse, Pastor of City Church of Compton
Raising money isn’t easy. And it’s especially difficult for pastors of congregations in lower income areas—places like City Church of Compton in Compton, California, where I lead. The early church faced many of the same financial challenges as church planters do today. The New Testament offers several economic engines that can help sustain a movement financially.
Give: We can gather support from churches, family, and friends. This is the most traditional model, and many of us rely heavily on it for funding. So when we struggle to gather enough donor support, we believe our ministries are failing. Biblical missionaries may have used this model, too. For example, in Romans 16:1, Paul names Phoebe as “a benefactor of many and of myself as well.” This suggests she supported him financially. But Paul didn’t depend on donations alone.
Share: Many church planters aspire to the vision of a community that “has everything in common” painted in Acts 2. This community shared resources, and as Acts 4:34 says, there was “not a needy person among them.” There are many ways to follow this example. For instance, I share my lawnmower with four to five people. Another couple from City Church has a car that is nicknamed the “community car” because so many people borrow it that you rarely find the owners in it. The financial consultant for our church even shares his expertise at no cost to the church. When your church has a culture of sharing, what would typically feel like a financial strain turns into a relational investment. It is seen as a ministry and a gift to the church.
Make: We see in 2 Thessalonians 3:8 that missionaries like Paul did side jobs to fund their ministries. This way, they wouldn’t be a burden to their supporters. Making money by being bi-vocational is the reality for many pastors today, too. These pastors often find their “job” to be one of the best places to build relationships with those who don’t know Jesus.
This article is based on a teaching of 3DM. Read Leading Kingdom Movements by Mike Breen to learn more.