This somewhat cynical yet somewhat honest question still haunts me.
I’m not the only religious professional who’s been asked that question. I recently heard about two vocational Christian workers who were sharing the Gospel with a university student. The university student was ready to receive Christ. Right before he prayed he asked, “If I pray this prayer will you get paid?” In essence he was asking if they worked on commission.
Even the Apostle Paul was accused of lining his pockets by preaching the Gospel. He wrote much of First and Second Corinthians to defend the purity of his motives. In Acts 20:33-34 Paul said, “I coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me.” In First Thessalonians 2:9 he said, “We worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.”
Paul, the missional entrepreneur, could honestly say, “No one’s paying me to change you. I’ve got a day job.”
However, Paul was not opposed to receiving what we call donor income. In Philippians 4:18 Paul said that he was well supplied by the financial gifts from the church in Philippi.
In some cases he actually sought donor income. Paul asked for financial backing from the believers in Rome (Romans 15:23, 24). Paul, the apostle, needed donor income to pioneer new ministries and was not ashamed to ask for help.
I would submit that Paul used a hybrid funding model. At times he earned his living through his enterprise. At other times he sought gift income.
Bigger than the funding model is Paul’s motivation. He never sought money for himself but for the sake of the Gospel.
- GEN Desk Contributing Writer
GEN Desk Commentary – we want your ideas!
What's the right balance of business income, ministry donations, time to run a business, and ministering to people? What conflicts arise when thinking of these comparisons?