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Ministry Challenge

The Spiritual Entrepreneur

by Dr. Chuck Missler

If our mission is “Equipping the saints for the work of the ministry,” this requires three primary foundations: Education, Experience, and Enablement.

Throughout the entire history of the Church since Pentecost, small groups of Biblical believers have been struggling to remain faithful to the Word of God but have been oppressed and persecuted by the local religious establishments.[1] Even if all the established religious institutions become prostituted to serve the siren calls of social injustices (and there will be plenty to deal with!), there remains a powerful alternative…a unique, yet Biblically based concept for the support of the independent missionary pursuing an unbridled mission for the Coming King.

An Example: The Apostle Paul

The role and contributions of the independent entrepreneur are legendary, and the factors that contribute to his success have been well studied in the management literature. Being driven by a vision, his persistence and commitment to his self-appointed goals have embroidered the tapestry of both technological and economic progress throughout the centuries. However, the degree to which these characteristics characterized the Apostle Paul in the spiritual realm has rarely been adequately recognized in our contemporary missionary perspectives.

If our Mission is “equipping the saints for the work of the ministry,”[2] this requires three primary foundations: Education, Experience, and Enablement (financial support). It is this last one that requires a creative focus: it is supporting the missionary “in the field,” which typically involves one of three approaches:

1) Full-time employment with an established organization. This is the typical career path in major denominations or other organizations, but this route can suffer from management stasis, mission shifts, and the frustrations of various bureaucratic inefficiencies. (It also intrinsically suffers from a form of “Nicolaitanism,” which was specifically distained by our Lord[3] yet emerged in early church history and continues throughout traditional practices.)

2) Solicitation of personal support. This is the approach of Youth With A Mission (YWAM), Campus Crusade, et al. For a specific project or a limited season, this can be quite effective. However, as a continuing career path, it proves inefficient—often requiring over 50% of the manpower just soliciting continuing personal support “piecemeal.” (And in an increasingly hostile environment, this path may prove problematical in the times ahead.)

3) Self-support. This was the path that the Apostle Paul resorted to and his results speak for themselves.[4] Res ipsa locquitur.[5]

His independence was important to him and his ministry: It cut off criticism,[10] set a worthy example,[11] proved his unselfish love for them,[12] and allowed him to share his meager means with those in need.[13]

Combining casual vocational income along with careful management of invested capital, this alternative can facilitate a ministry undertaking which is not economically dependent upon the specific mission being served. Furthermore, by relying on vocational skills for support, an operative can maintain a lower-profile cover to mask his primary commitments from adversarial elements while he serves covertly as an Ambassador of the Coming King.

Perspectives from the Early Church’s Spiritual Entrepreneurs

1) They were not “on their own.” They had a real sense of community. “Ye are not your own; ye are bought with a price.”[14]

2) They understood that the gifts of the Spirit opened up a ministry for every single believer. (Those that were not exercising their gifts were defrauding the Body.)

3) Life is a battle; a battle to the death!

It is even possible to design a way to support the Spiritual Entrepreneur that favors the truly competent and proven committed, that also provides for distributed accountability, and yet retains the funds in the ministry in perpetuity. However, we don’t want to let such plans fall into adversarial hands. Please go to http://www.kitrust.org/kmf/spiritual-entrepreneur for more information.

Remember this exhortation found twice in Proverbs (in Proverbs 27:12 and 22:3):

The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.


Notes

  1. E. H. Broadbent, The Pilgrim Church, 1931, Gospel Folio Press, Grand Rapids MI, 1999 edition. A must-read for every serious Christian.  ↩

  2. Ephesians 4:12.  ↩

  3. Revelation 2:6, 15.  ↩

  4. Acts 18:2,3; 20:34,35; 1 Corinthians 4:11–13; et al.  ↩

  5. “The thing speaks for itself,” as an attorney might cite.  ↩

  6. Philippians 4:15.  ↩

  7. Acts 18:3.  ↩

  8. 1 Corinthians 9:11–12.  ↩

  9. Acts 20:34.  ↩

  10. 2 Corinthians 11:7–12.  ↩

  11. 2 Thessalonians 3:7–9.  ↩

  12. 2 Corinthians 12:13–18.  ↩

  13. Acts 20:34–35.  ↩

  14. 1 Corinthians 6:19,20.  ↩

This article was originally published in the
March 2014 Personal Update NewsJournal.

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