Partnership or Handout?

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By on July 2, 2019   /   Leave a comment

My biggest struggle when I first sensed God calling me into ministry was fundraising. I just could not see myself with a degree in mining engineering passing on a job in order to ask people for handouts. I equated fundraising to begging.

Is there a difference between fundraising for a gospel ministry and begging?

Part of my struggle was right in front of me as I drove in my car. Every time I stop at the Manda Hill traffic lights on Great East Road in Lusaka, I can’t help but notice the different people trying to make a living at these traffic lights. There are street vendors who sell merchandise: fruit, phones, shoes, etc.

And then there are beggars who appeal to drivers for handouts—street youths and people with various disabilities, the blind, lame and the deaf.

The street vendors work hard darting from one vehicle to the other to sell their merchandise. The beggars do the same except they are not selling anything but asking people for handouts. There can be various reasons, but some might see themselves as victims who deserve to be helped by the rest of society.

What about gospel workers who raise support? That was my struggle. Was I in the same category as those who ask for handouts at traffic lights?

Reluctantly I embraced fundraising. Convinced there was a better way, I started a taxi business but it failed. Shortly after that, I came across the passage in which Jesus was sending the seventy on a mission outreach.

The scriptures tell a different story. They portray gospel workers as legitimate and deserving a wage. When the Lord Jesus sent out the seventy He told them how they were to live.

“Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you,
For the worker deserves his wages.” –Luke 10:7

Jesus was not sending them to beg, but to partner with others to fulfill His mission. This was convicting and freeing!

Then later I learned that fundraising is not a matter of debate but obedience. This was convicting and energizing.

“In the same way the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.” –1 Corinthians 9:14

Clearly, a funding appeal for the Gospel is not handout.

It is partnership- God’s ordained way to provide for His workers!

When Nehemiah was about to embark on his vision to rebuild the wall, he had to partner with God and other people. He prayed as he was going to meet King Artaxerxes:

“O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant…Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” –Nehemiah 1:11

This demonstrates a tripartite partnership involving God, Nehemiah and King Artaxerxes. God answered his prayer; the king gave to support Nehemiah.

Gospel workers are not helpless victims who rely on people’s sympathy. God calls them into partnership with others to fulfill His vision.

I stepped down as National Director for the Navigators Zambia in July 2018. During the handover period, I traveled to Kitwe a city North of Lusaka to meet my successor.

During my journey I made a stop for lunch and bumped into a doctor who was previously involved with Navigators as a student. As we chatted, she asked me what my plans were now that I was no longer National Director. I told her God had given me a vision to pioneer an initiative that focuses on ministering to teachers. She was excited about this vision and asked how she could help. We agreed to meet upon my return from Kitwe.

Two weeks later I met her and shared in detail what this vision entails. I had in mind to ask her to pray about giving 500 Kwacha ($50). But as I shared, I felt the urge to ask her to pray about giving between 700 Kwacha and 1000 Kwacha. To my amazement she said, “I have been thinking since we last met and the figure I have in mind is 750 Kwacha ($75).

I was pleasantly surprised she already had a figure in mind. My lips peeled into a smile as I said, “Thank you very much for joining our support team.”

Is this partnership or handout? Was it a coincidence or “God-Incidence” of Holy Spirit leading? God was clearly at work in her heart. Evidently this is partnership!

“The Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.”

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