Today I hand the Ticker over to my ministry partner Nick Peters for a personal story -- which is thematically related to our last post.
Years ago, my wife and I were just married and getting into our rather strained financial situation. I am sure it was in 2010, because it was a Sunday, and was in fact my birthday that day, and while in town visiting my parents for the day, my wife and I went to the church that I attended when I left town.
Keep in mind we were still newlyweds then, as we would have been married just under two months at that point. I did not have a job, having been laid off from where I had been working three months before the wedding and we were struggling financially with no income whatsoever. We had some savings and some wedding gift money we were using, but that was it.
So we’re in the church service and hearing the associate pastor share about all the money that the church had raised for their mission project. How much was it? $2 million, and it took a long time. Now that the money was in, they could continue the ministry that they were doing of….
Going on mission trips to places like Peru, or going where Christians are being persecuted? Nope.
Setting up places to feed the hungry, and shelters for the homeless to stay in? Nope.
Giving aid to women who are considering abortion and setting up areas of benefit so that they will choose life? Nope.
Or dare I say it...supporting an apologetics ministry that was started by a former church member, who at the time who was in a serious financial situation? Nope.
The ministry was….
Yes. All that money was spent to focus on a basketball program.
Dare I say it, but give J.P. Holding or myself even 1% of all of that and we will go to town and start informing the masses about the faith once and for all delivered to the saints, and drive our efforts to study more and more. You see, we’re going to do the work anyway. If we were poor and destitute, we’d still be doing the work. The reality is donations to a ministry like ours help us do it more. Give us a little and we’ll use it for a lot, such as building good websites and ordering books that we need and buying computer equipment to help us reach as many people as possible.
For people like us, our lives revolve around what we do. The support of others helps us to rest easy and know that we can provide for our families. Both of us would keep going into debt if we had to because the cause of the mission is that important.
Afterwards, my wife Allie and I figured we’d try to talk to the pastor about this. Allie was more blunt than I was, mentioning that we were poor and going broke.
Which was immediately followed by a request of how they could help us out in any way. Could they send a donation to us to help sponsor us?
Well. No. It wasn’t followed with that.
Instead, it was followed with a time of prayer together where we prayed God would open the doors of Heaven and help His servants.
Well. No. It wasn’t followed with that.
Rather, it was followed with a voice of sympathy expressing sorrow for our situation and the hopes that things get better.
No. It wasn’t even that.
It was followed with….
Naturally, my wife and I left and we have never looked back. When we did move back to the same area, we never even considered going there.
To this day, we’re still in a strained financial situation, but we have a small number of donors that give us some sort of support. But it’s a burden to me every time, especially knowing we can’t support ourselves independently.
Note in saying this I am not saying the apologetics ministry is the only ministry. By all means, there are several ministries that need to be supported, but we need to best prioritize the finances that we’re using. Is $2 million for doing basketball really the best usage of the resources a church has been given? Especially since many kids that could be reached could go off to college and be talked out of their newfound faith very easily.
I look forward to the day that the church wakes up to the waste that they have going on. The church has not been faithful with the resources God has given it, and it will be held accountable.