Tent Making again!

A friend, Mark, from Portugal wrote me the following:

“I enjoyed the post about Tent Making Missionaries. I have only been here two months and have encountered this discussion. It sounds good, and I guess any full-time missionary would appreciate a mature, involved Christian to move to his field and be a help, but you raise a good point about being double minded. Also, when this is presented it is not as a help to a full time missionary, but as a replacement for the full-time model.”
Notice he would like anyone to come to his field and help. That would be a great blessing. The problem is that most people that are talking about being “tent makers” are simply afraid of deputation. They are looking for an easier way to get to the field.

The problem is that once they get to the field the great majority will be so consumed with their business that it will cause them to not have enough time to do the work correctly.

I understand that if a missionary is only going to have one service a week then maybe being a “tent maker” is ok. The majority of men who work another job are working 2 full time jobs, trying to balance family, ministry, and work. They usually end up hurting all 3 but usually one will suffer more than the other. The one that ends up suffering the most is either the family or the ministry. The job is too important to slight!

Jesus said that the workman was worthy of his hire. Paul said that the Lord had ordained that those that preach the gospel should live of the gospel. I Corinthians 9:14. He told the Corinthian church that they were an inferior church and apologized. He said it was because he had not been a burden to them.

II Corinthians 12:13 For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong.

Timothy was told that the churches should pay the elders, pastors, very well that teach and preach the Bible.

I Timothy 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. 18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.

Things don’t change just because you cross the border to another country. If you should pay a pastor here in the states then it can and will work where you are going. Now if you are not going as a church planting, leader trainer then maybe you could be a “tent maker” so that those that will be laboring in the word and doctrine could be better supported!

I welcome comments and opinions, even if you disagree with me!

About the author

Austin Gardner is pastor of Vision Baptist Church in Alpharetta, GA. Previously he was church planting missionary in Peru for 20 years.

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