THERE'S NO DENYING that distinct tugging in your heart, and the calling God has put on your life. But once the butterflies settle and you know what you're supposed to do, inevitably you will ask, “Where is the money going to come from?” Yes, God provides. You'll find no bigger believer in that truth than me. However, many people overlook that they have a critical role in the ultimate effectiveness of that provision — and even whether they receive it at all.
The real truth is that the way you manage your money will make or break your ministry. Let me explain.
In Luke 16:10-11, Jesus said, “Suppose you can be trusted with very little. Then you can be trusted with a lot. But suppose you are not honest with very little. Then you will not be honest with a lot. Suppose you have not been worthy of trust in handling worldly wealth. Then who will trust you with true riches?” (New International Reader's Version).
It doesn't get much clearer than that. If you can't balance your checkbook, how can you run an organization? How can you harness and properly utilize resources for winning souls, if you can't even acquire enough money to put gas in your car?
Going into ministry — whether it's launching an organization, spearheading a business, going into the mission field, or becoming a pastor — has costs associated with it. It's more than just feeding hungry people, or praying with those who are hurt. It's work, it costs money, and often a lot of money. And (at least when initially launching your ministry) you can be sure that your personal discretionary income will go way, way down.
It's not only important to prepare for this sobering reality, it's vital that you leave behind the desire to “keep up with the Joneses.” Your ministry may require a lifestyle that is significantly different from your neighbors, friends, and extended family.
If you're ready to charge forward with your calling, and you're willing to live an uncommon life ... here are a few tips that will help you fund your ministry.
That may sound obvious, but stay with me for just a second. I once counseled a woman who was suffering through a terribly broken marriage. The couple had more than $50,000 in credit card debt, a house with more debt than it was worth, and two kids — one in college and one in high school — who weren't speaking to each other, let alone their parents. She hadn't worked outside the home in almost 20 years, and felt trapped. With no financial resources to leave her family and no emotional resources to stay, she crafted a “plan.” In the midst of this mess, she declared to me that God was calling her to Africa to become a missionary, and she wanted advice on getting the money to go. Right now.