If you read my last blog post about making sure to thank your supporters, then you may leave with the impression that’s the exclusive way I support myself–through donations. Well, not the case. I supplement it with some online freelancing I do. I consider myself one of many missional entrepreneurs.
I’ve been thinking about this stuff ever since I read a recent post by Doug Paul called Why It’s Not Bi-Vocational vs. Fulltime Ministry and it has helped encourage me a lot.
I also recently wrote a blog post that served as a rough newsletter update but had decided to cut out of it what else I was doing to fund my ministry because it was making the post longer and more scatter-brained. I’m glad I did since they can serve better as a separate post altogether for today about missional entrepreneurs.
For nearly a year, if not more, I’ve been re-evaluating how I support myself, and drifting away gradually from some of the support/donation methods I’ve used in the past.
I still live on support, mind you, in order to fulfill my mission of raising up Holy Spirit-filled disciples of Christ in Peru, but I also supplement that now with actual income.
This is nothing new, it’s modern day tentmaking.
The apostle Paul worked at building and making tents in some phases of his ministry so as to support himself and not rely on those he was ministering to for support.
He also received collections from other churches he ministered to. It could be argued that he did one over the other at different seasons of his life and ministry, and it can also be argued that he did a little bit of both, since some of his different epistles say things to indicate both.
That being neither here nor there, I personally have had a re-invigoration of focus and direction and finally feel like I’m hitting my stride in a more focused way.
Many Missionaries Are Needing to Become Missional Entrepreneurs
Based on many thoughts, prayers, and observations, such as I’ve shared in recent blog posts, I do feel the age of missionaries “living on support” is coming to a rapid close, or at least a radical change in its implementation.
Ministers, preachers and missionaries are soon going to need to have other forms of income to support their works, as the Western economy is in serious and obvious trouble, Church attendance is declining, and never mind the fact that people my age have been and are leaving the organized church in droves (and our generation is HUGE) and along with it the financial giving towards missions decreasing if the pool of money to draw from is drying up.
This personal opinion of mine is also confirmed from having conversed with many other missionaries, in a variety of different organizations, in different locations around the world, who tell me of struggles they’re having with their support levels more so in recent years than in the past, and different entrepreneurial ways they are starting to supplement their support, or outright support themselves entirely differently than the support/donations model they’d been exclusively relying on previously.
I merely view myself as an ‘early adopter’ of a new breed of missionary, and one day more and more people will merely be doing the same thing(s). I choose to no longer try using methods that may have worked in the past — or that may still work in the present, but much better for others than they do for me.
And, I am finding much more success, peace, and fruit doing what I’m doing.
As well as enjoyment.
Missional Entrepreneurs & Creative Methods of Financing The Spreading of The Gospel
I know friends who teach English in certain nations that are hostile to the Gospel being preached, and this provides both the reason for them being in those nations, as well as income, making them independent and not as in need of traditional support.
I know other missionaries who have on-the-ground methods of generating income so as to have a product to sell, whose revenue supplants or replaces ‘support’ altogether.
I know an individual who oversaw a feeding program, and every time a container was shipped into the host country, he’d receive a decent-sized percentage of income from using his ministry’s credentials to help get the food into the nation properly and legally.
I’ve personally been freelancing using my keyboard, whether through copywriting or building WordPress sites for people. Lately I have moved into a more daily/weekly role for a mobile marketing company whose social media presence I’m also overseeing.
In the months and years to come, I’ll blog about my successes and failures regarding some other logs I have in the fire regarding affiliate marketing.
I’m Not the Only Missional Entrepreneur
Recently before moving to a new location in Peru, I sent out a prayer request to my mailing list. I had been having trouble finding a suitable place to live that was in my budget, and walking distance from the rest of the team I’d be joining. A friend responded with some encouragement about a remark I made in it about funding myself more and more through the methods I’ve mentioned:
I found this post refreshing and wanted to respond — I, for one, am surrounded by people “in ministry” (a line that should be blurry or non-existent between it and the secular anyways), and who believe, as I do, that business, is part of the equation.
I follow the musings of (name removed) — do you know him? A prophetic teacher who has his own publishing company (a for profit company). I love that he has given up most of the prophetic conference opportunities afforded him in order to avoid the “dog and pony show” of a conference with many teachers in that renewal conference setting. And he’s given up those opportunities to write, to teach, to mentor, and to invest in smaller churches that he feels really led to. This transition has only been possible as his for profit book business has expanded. He has of late spoken publicly about his desire to see more business and less direct donor ministry.
My own church is full of business people, some more successful than others, and my pastor is giving a lot of thought to businesses the church itself can set up a separate corporation to run.
Of course I wrote her back and let her know how much of an encouragement this was to me, and it has helped serve the purpose of being a few more logs in this fire that I’m burning with.
For now, these are just some thoughts and experiences still in budding and in blossoming format in my spirit. I’m not “making it rich” or “living high on the hog”, but I’m finding a lot more financial stability and ability to plough forward in my calling here in this nation without being distracted by fears or worries as much as in the past.
I’m also thankful to God for those of you still supporting me, since I’m not making enough income to replace all of my support, since, the point is not to become so busy doing my online work that I’m useless and not doing what that money is intended for: making disciples here on the field.
Please continue to pray for me that God would show me how to be more entrepreneurial. I don’t want to just live on support, but would love to GIVE a lot more to others than I have been, as I reflected a bit on in my last post — I do like giving and helping others as well.
Thoughts For Reflection
What original ways have you seen others fund themselves and mission?
When trusting God to take care of you and provide for you, is it possible it doesn’t come in the form of money or direct provision, but in the form of a new job or new idea for making money?
— Steve Bremner (@StephenGBremner) October 31, 2012
New vs Old Wineskins — Thoughts from the World of Technology
Face to Face – No Need For Media?
Is It Possible To Make Disciples Online?
Is Technology Helping or Hindering Your Message?
Prophetic Vision and Today’s Technology – fairly recent podcast episode with Dave Edwards.