I grew up hearing, “Give money to those who serve in ministry. Donate to God’s work.”
The Bible teaches that every Christian is called to ministry. Ministry occurs when a person surrenders their role as a businessperson, fireman, doctor, janitor, parent, missionary or a pastor to God’s purposes. Ministers are people who understand all that they are, do and own is God’s and they are stewards of God’s possessions. God’s work includes building and selling a product that improves people’s lives. God’s work includes stacking cinderblocks rejoicing that God provided the health to serve others. The fee received is part of God’s plan to fund the ministry of stewarding His earth.
There are many pastors, business-people and others who are NOT ministers as they see their work independent of God. A career role does not determine if a person is a minister. A minister stewards God’s role for them and God’s work through them in whatever career they serve.
God’s allows freedom for us to choose a variety of careers. The role of pastor is an important calling with many responsibilities that deserves respect of the authority God has given them. Yet, God doesn’t measure us by our impact, but by our faithfulness. The influence of our ministry is affected by our faithfulness, obedience, stewardship, character, and dependence upon God. I would imagine a teacher who faithfully taught second-grade for 40 years with joy in God’s calling will receive just as enthusiastic “Well done good and faithful servant” as the evangelist who brought hundreds to Christ. Both are ministers.
Ministers sustain their ministries in a variety of ways through:
1. Fees paid by customers for the services and products they provide.
2. Fees and donations as they serve people who cannot pay enough fees to offset the costs of the products and services they provide.
3. Donations as God desires these ministers to experience on-going financial dependence upon God and provide the joy of giving to others by being fully dependent upon donations.
As a university with three colleges of business, urban studies, and Christian theology, BGU trains students who sustain their ministries in all three ways listed above. BGU sustains its ministry through both fees and donations as 70% of its student body is located outside of North America often in some of the poorest regions in the world. We train ministers in many vocations, helping them discover their gifts and calling and providing perspective and practical skills to be life-long stewards of God calling for them.
There are ministry advantages for BGU to be sustained by fees for services provided as well as donations of others. It is a good practice to be held accountable by paying customers who rightfully require BGU to improve our services to meet customer’s needs. It is a joy to be reminded constantly of our dependence upon God as we seek donations from fellow ministers in callings of business, and other careers. As you reflect upon your own ministry, please pray if God is calling you to be part of BGU’s ministry as we develop ministers in a variety of careers throughout the world.
Thank you for considering this request.