[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.
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6 replies on “Guest post from Dan Hubbell: 7 principles of financial cooperation between churches”
Mr. Hubbell and Ms. Dale,
As an elder I’ve debated point six with the pastor of our fellowship. Currently our church of 100+ is supported nationally by people giving while the local fellowship gives a percentage. There’s transparency with the money. We know that it goes mainly to staff. I’ve argued that I’m not sure if this is a continued thing thing BUT a once-in-a-while thing. I always go, ‘Paul made tents to.’ I feel there’s a dependancy being built up with gifts always coming and not enough leaders being built locally.
Can a local fellowship be continually funded nationally?
We have started a congregation (www.breadfellowship.com) and have Christians from outside our fellowship providing financial support. There are many Christians who have far more to give than they will ever give to their own church. When they are given the opportunity, they will respond well to this type of support for others. We also encourage our folks to give and try to use that money for minstry to others. We are committed to now owning property and leadership is bi-vocational.
Terry, I assume you mean “not” owning property. I think that is the reason other Christians from outside feel safe giving to you, knowing the money is not being used on internal needs.
Jonathan, an interesting question. My main concern with the situation you describe is that it is not reproducible if you plan on multiplication. One of my future posts will look at how dependence on outside finance can prevent a church planting movement. Having said that, when the Scriptures are not clear, we listen to God and do what He says. If this is how the Lord is leading you, whether for a short season or longer, that is fine.
I’ll be interested to hear what Dan thinks.
The other factor I should mention is that we do live in a poor (slow gentrification is happening) predominately non white area. The church was planted by a non profit from a denomination. IMO Fundraising is in the the DNA
Thanks for the comment Dan, I guess I would want to know class wise who your fellowship is.
Ms. Dale. I hear your concern. Sometimes I feel like firing everyone (at least the non profit arm) and start over with plain ol discipleship
Hi Felicity so encouraged by your post. We finance missions as God leads us to do so. However as a main sponsor we have been led by The Holy Spirit to be
‘mindful’ of His works of impartation of ‘being led by faith’ i.e to some who would become ‘dependant’ on outside financial help. Father wants us those ones be ‘dependant’ on His help and led by him. We are learning to not assume that we are the source, but that he is the source and we therefore ‘wait upon the Lord’ before we distribute funding. In this way we are accountable before Him and others for direction and distribution. As house church planters we also supply all receipts etc to those who are led to ‘give’ and supply all beneficiares with the details of the ‘giver’ this way all is held accountable in some form or other and we are simply the conduit for transfers of gifts. Previous we were ‘members’ of a larger denomination and each year a ‘financial statement’ was issued to each financial member. However it was supporting staff and administrations which never seemed to us to line up with the word. We knew that the word stated clearly..’for the enabling of the work of the kingdom and the spreading of the gospel’…yet so little discipleship was being done! Now we enforce that all is required for the furthering of the gospel through multiplication and for the orphans,widows and poor. Administrative issues are mimimal and trasparent. We are still working on it! PTL indeed!
Great comments, mdrjames. One of my next blog posts will be on how finances are so often used unwisely and create dependence on outside funds.