If you are a Christian, you should believe that God is a provider. It’s one of His known names Jahweh Jireh. A good God who provides for his children, specifically if they serve Him.
If you are in church/Christian ministry you might add something to the previous statement.
I was last month in a conversation with a ministry leader and I brought the challenge of financial support if I need to devote all my time to ministry. And I heard the cliche: “If He has called you, He will provide”. I have heard it dozens of time, sometimes comforting, sometimes reassuring, but that day was somehow more than a challenge. It looked to me like a test. If God has called me, the provision will be there. Being most of my Christian ministry life financially challenged, I have seen how the provision has been usually made.
My first salary in 97′ came from my former pastor (who was the church planter of the group I was part of) and friend, who took part of his support and gave it to me. (I’ve learned that many years later). Then through his intervention, the network we were part of gave some extra support (i’m not giving you the numbers as they will not make sense to you with American dollars. Remember I was in Albania). Then the church where I was one of the associate pastors paid me a salary that was good as a single man who lived with his parents, but not for a married man who doubled the expenses with the same salary. When I was part of the church planting effort among Albanians here in Toronto, the church planting organization through the support from the denomination church and members, was able to support me fully and partially.
If this person was right (and many share the same thinking) than the financial support would be a strong factor of a good christian to tell himself and the rest of the world that God has called in that particular ministry.
I asked the new friend (who was less than 3 years in this Canadian important city) who was an American Missionary in Canada if his financial support came from the local churches in that particular city. He said NO. I teased him asking if he is bringing a God-given ministry as a gift to that city, churches in that area should jump and support such a blessing. But NO, all he support came from his environment, his church back in States.
Basically everyone I’ve met had a similar story. They had a back-up church or churches and many times blood related supporters. And I thought about myself. When I started doing work among Albanians two churches I’ve been involved in Albania send me two financial gifts that I put in the Albanian church budget (by the way, they were not personal support). The amount they sent was small in Canadian context, but huge to compare with the percentage of those churches budget. They gave sacrificially maybe 10% of their yearly budget to pay the church rent for one month in Toronto.
So I didn’t had a back’up financially church from my country of origin. I didn;t had Christian family who was joyful thinking that one of their kin is reaching diaspora with the Gospel. Be aware that I was the first convert in my extended family and most of my relatives were not Christian when I left Albania.
I believe that God wanted me to work among Albanians, and I did it for more than 6 years. Very difficult years financially. To believe that God was not the provider in my situation would be very wrong. I believe that He used earthly channels to do His work. What if his channels are not very open to share their financial burden with outsiders and unusual church planters (ex from the third world diaspora)? What if the Western model, works only for western churches and not for everyone?
In Western churches looks to me that the church planter or pastor needs to be more a good fundraiser and not everyone is successful in it. I get it. My challenge is when this becomes a theological concept and in my case-a burden.
What are your thoughts?