[Editors note]: What makes this guest post from Dan Hubbell, an apostolic father in the Kingdom, so remarkable is its context. The churches in his city, whatever their denomination, cooperate together for the Kingdom. This includes at a financial level. So I asked Dan to tell a little of his story to preface his comments:
My wife Laurel and I have lived in Winnsboro, Texas for 42 years (1969-2011). We came to Winnsboro as pastor of the First Baptist Church where we ministered for 10 years. (We served in pastoral ministries in Baptist churches in Texas for a total of 28 years.)
We left the pastorate “in search for a new wineskin” and began to gather relationally in homes throughout our town/area. The subsequent 32 years (1979-2011) that we have been in Winnsboro, the Lord has led us to be “sent out” from our Antioch/Winnsboro to the nations of the world equipping Ephesians 4 servants to reach their respective nations for Christ.
The Lord has blessed us with a very unique relationship and ministry to the whole Body of Christ in our town/area. When we first left the traditional pastorate here in Winnsboro, our family was persecuted and even accused of being cultic; however over the subsequent years, the Lord led us by His grace to respond to the persecution by obeying His command to “pray, love, speak well of and do good to” those who persecute us. As a result of the Lord’s faithfulness to our obedience to His word, relationships have been wonderfully restored and we now have close and loving fellowship with the whole body of Christ here in our town/area.
In addition to participating in the home gatherings, we’ve had the joy of sharing in fellowship and ministering in various denominational congregations throughout our city/area, i.e., preaching, teaching, equipping, etc. When we go out on mission to the nations, the congregations of our whole town/area come together to lay hands on the mission team and “send us out.” When we return home, we are invited by these same congregations to come and share what the Lord did on our missionary journey.
Felicity, in response to your appeal for “other peoples’ experiences,” I will share briefly how the Lord has led us as believers over the years here in Winnsboro and area to respond to financial needs both personal/collectively to local and foreign financial needs:
- First of all, the examples and principles in the Scripture are our guide as led by the Spirit.
- Paul as a missionary was supported financially by both individuals (women, etc.) and churches (Philippi, etc.).
- Paul also as the need arose, ministered personally to his own needs and to the needs of his companions, i.e. via tent making.
- The churches, at Paul’s urging, collected funds from the Gentile churches to send collectively to the needs of the Jewish believers in Jerusalem/Judea.
- It is important to note that Paul, along with other servants, with great transparency, gathered the funds from the churches, and delivered these funds to the servants of the church in Jerusalem. This example of transparency is important so that we do not unnecessarily cause those who receive funds to be tempted to be mercenary or use the funds inappropriately, because others were not included in the distribution of these funds.
- Thus we encourage believers here to give both personally to needs and collectively through the various churches who in turn, together through the direction of the Spirit, determine the needs of widows, orphans, the poor.
- When there are needs outside of our Jerusalem, i.e., “Judea, Samaria unto the uttermost,” then the churches collectively gather funds and send them either by apostolic/elder teams and/or Western Union, Direct bank deposit, etc.