Does it Take Money to Spread the Gospel?
Money, they say, makes the world go round. But does it make the Gospel go round too? If you posed this question to most radio/TV preachers and presidents of Christian ministries the answer to this question would be a resounding, "YES!" As far as they are concerned, and would like us to believe, it does take money to spread the Gospel.
But does it really take money to spread the Gospel? Really? To which I’d have to answer, with a resounding, "NO!" It does not take money to spread the Gospel! If it does, Jesus would not have sent out His disciples to preach the Gospel without money. Twice, not once, when Jesus sent out His disciples to preach the Gospel, (first the twelve and then the seventy disciples -- Luke 9:1-6 and Luke 10:1-30); He told them not to take anything with them for the journey. Not money, not extra clothes, not extra shoes, not food, etc.
You know that sounds more like God, because it’s contrary to what we would do in the natural. Remember, His thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are not our ways… (Isaiah 55:8). Conventional wisdom, on the other hand, says that you need, and should take these things before embarking on a journey. But Jesus said don’t take these things.
Have you ever wondered why Jesus would tell His disciples not to take basic necessities with them when they went out to preach? Perhaps the reason Jesus said don’t take these things was because He knew that these things, rather than be an aid to the Gospel, could easily become a distraction to the Gospel.
I mean, common-sense dictates that you at least take money, even if you don’t take the other things, because you can buy the other things with money. But "faith-sense" says that you trust the One sending you on such a journey to provide and meet all your needs -- everything necessary to accomplish the task. That is His responsibility.
Therefore, if God sends you on a mission or an assignment, it is His responsibility to provide for you while on the assignment. After all, it is His assignment. So, you don’t need to come up with tricks or gimmicks or marketing strategies on how to provide for yourself.
You say, "But Paul asked the Corinthians for money to support his ministry. Why do you say that it doesn’t take money to spread the Gospel?" No! Paul did not ask the Corinthians for money to support his ministry. Rather, he reminded them of the promise they made to support the other saints (2 Corinthians 9:5). The money was meant to meet the needs of the other saints in need (2 Corinthians 9:1, 12). Not for spreading the Gospel. There’s a difference (Read the whole of 2 Corinthians 8 and 9). This was similar to what the Early Christians did in Acts 2:41-47 and 4:33-37.
You know that Paul did not beg for money to because in his first letter to the Corinthians he wrote to them concerning giving, and whether a minister of the Gospel should be compensated for his efforts, saying:
If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more?
Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar?
Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel. But I have used none of these things, nor have I written these things that it should be done so to me; for it would be better for me to die than that anyone should make my boasting void…What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel. 1 Corinthians 9:11-15 & 18
I have heard radio and TV preachers say something like this, "the Gospel is free but someone has to put in the plumbing work to get it to the people." True. But that’s for God to worry about. I don’t believe that a preacher has to beg for money to help put in the "plumbing work."
You say, "But how would the people know that there’s a need if you don’t tell them?" To which I say, "By the Holy Spirit." Whenever and wherever there’s a need in the Body of Christ or a church, God moves upon the hearts of people to meet the need. God knows a need even before we know there’s a need. That’s why He makes sure that He moves on the heart of the people to meet the need. But I guess we don’t trust God enough to meet our needs that way.
I believe that one of the reasons most ministries or ministers come up with all kinds of schemes to raise money is because they over-stretch their ministries, all in the name of acting out in faith. And when they are not able to meet their enormous bills, they resort to all kinds of tricks and schemes.
Another reason is just due to their sheer extravagance, in the name of making God look ‘good.’ You often see such unnecessary extravagance in multi-million dollar church buildings or ministry buildings or campuses.
Therefore, one age-old scam churches and preachers have been running for years is having church building funds, where they ask the people to give above and beyond their tithes and offerings to build what they call "God’s House." First of all, let me say that God does not dwell in temples made by hands (Acts 17:24). Rather, He dwells in the hearts of men. We are His temple (1 Corinthians 3:16)!
Second of all, God doesn’t care about where we worship; whether we worship under a tree, in a tent, a school or a cathedral. He only cares about our worship, i.e., how we worship Him –- in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). He only cares about being resident in our hearts, not in brick and mortar.
That’s why Jesus told His disciples when they were caught up admiring the beauty of the temple at Jerusalem that the temple would soon be destroyed. (Mark 13:1-2).
Perhaps, you say, "But how about in the Old Testament, where God told Moses to tell the people to bring their gold, silver, etc. to build the tabernacle?" (Exodus 25:1-3) That’s true. That was in the Old Testament, and that’s why it’s the Old Testament! It does not apply to us in the New Testament, in the dispensation of Grace. Remember that the tabernacle was a make-shift, collapsible tent. It was a temporary structure. God had to dwell in the tabernacle because in the Old Testament, God’s Spirit couldn’t reside in man because Jesus had not yet come and man had not been redeemed yet.
Even when King Solomon built the first temple, he acknowledged the fact that heaven could not contain God, much less for Him to dwell in a temple (1 Kings 8:27).
So, don’t let anyone con you into giving into a building fund. If the Lord lays it on your heart to do so, you may. But don’t be cajoled or pressured to give by any sweet-talking salesperson, in the name of a preacher, to give to a church building fund.
Some of these preachers even have the gall to ask their members and radio or TV audience to contribute towards purchasing a private jet or upgrading their private jets, so that they can take the Gospel to the rest of the world! Lie! Most of them use the private jets for their personal pleasure than they do actual ministry work!
For instance, Christian ministries like TBN, Daystar, etc., raise money every year during a telethon (as someone put it, "Con-a-thon") in the name of taking the Gospel to the outermost parts of the world or that they are reaching the world for Christ. Lie! They raise money to sustain the lavish lifestyles of their founders Paul and his wife Jan Crouch (TBN), Marcus and Joni Lamb (Daystar). They are not reaching the world for Christ; rather they are only reaching the Body of Christ or better yet the spiritually gullible for themselves; to grow their own personal empires!
I mean, how are you reaching the world for Christ, when the majority of your viewers are Christians, not unbelievers? For the most part, unbelievers don’t watch Christian stations or programming! So, if anyone is truly trying to reach sinners, he/she would go where sinners are or broadcast on secular radio or TV stations that sinners listen to or watch, not Christian stations!
I don’t know about you, but when I was a sinner, a Christian station or religious programming was the last thing I wanted to see. Even if I was channel-surfing, and came upon a religious programming, I changed the channel quickly to go on to something else. I mean, who wants to watch a preacher whooping and hollering when I could be watching musical videos on BET?
Is it any wonder then why Christianity lacks credibility around the world? If all people see are the money-hungry, con-artists on TBN and Daystar; the likes of Rod Parsley, Juanita Bynum, Paula White, etc. Or some of the other preachers who misuse and take scriptures out of context, the likes of Creflo Dollar, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyers and a host of others.
For instance, just recently, Paula White at a TBN telethon, read Psalm 66:12, to ask the viewers to call in to pledge $66.12 for the next 12 months to help support TBN, so that they can get the blessing of Psalm 66:12! My goodness! How do these people come up with these scams? Ah! How are they able to sleep at night? Don’t they have a conscience?
By the way, just in case you are wondering what Psalm 66:12 says…it says
You have caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; but You brought us out to rich fulfillment.
Anyway, moving right along…
So, if it does not take money to spread the Gospel, what does it take and how is the Gospel going to reach the outermost parts of the world? The same way the Gospel got to us through Jesus and His disciples. The same way the Gospel reached the world in biblical days – by each one reaching one.
No where in the Bible would you find anyone beg the people for money to help spread the Gospel. And please don’t tell me that things have changed since biblical times. Or that today, it takes more money to spread the Gospel than it did in biblical times. Lie! Nothing has changed. At least, not as it relates to spreading the Gospel. The same old-fashioned way of each one reach one will still get the job done, today and in the future!
The reason we think that it takes money to spread the Gospel is because we’d rather throw money at a problem than be personally involved. We’d rather send money or use electronic media to go where we ought to go. We think that when Jesus said that the end of the world shall not come until the Gospel has been preached in all parts of the world (Matthew 24:14), that he meant by radio, TV, newspaper, books, telephone, fax, internet, etc. No! He meant by each one reaching one. He meant each one of us personally preaching the Gospel to a lost and dying world.
Think about it, if it takes money to spread the Gospel, then cults like the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons would not have followers. Yet, you never see them on radio or TV evangelizing or even begging you for money at that. Why? Simply because they are busy doing simple, old-fashioned evangelism; going door-to-door, and each one reaching one. That’s what we, the Church of Jesus Christ, are called to do! Not preach through radio, TV or the internet or beg for money at that!
Sure, using the media is good. It makes evangelism easier. I have nothing against it. Thank God for radio, TV, the internet, etc. There’s nothing wrong with them. If not, you won’t be reading this article now. But that’s not the primary way we are to spread the Gospel. It’s definitely not a reason to beg for money. You either can afford to have a radio/TV ministry or not.
I can’t stand it when radio/TV preachers or hosts say that if people don’t support their ministries that they’d go off the air. So? Go away! Bye! And as my mother-in-law would say jokingly in her broken Spanish, "Adios amigo!" You don’t need to threaten people about going off the air. If it is God’s ministry, He would find a way to support His ministry. You can’t stop God’s work. Sadly, many respected preachers of the Gospel and Christian ministry leaders have resorted to raising money this way.
Now, am I saying don’t give to the work of the Lord? No! All I’m saying is that it should be a willful offering, from the heart. Not because someone begged for it, but because the Holy Spirit prompted you. Matter of fact, I’ll go as far as saying that if someone has to beg or ask for it, chances are it’s not for the work of the Lord. Rather, it’s the work of man – to make the person look good or save face.
If it is truly the work of the Lord, the Lord will prompt you by His Spirit. Just as He prompted the Philippians to give to Paul’s ministry without him asking them. In fact, Paul said that they begged him to take their gift (2 Corinthians 8:4). If you are truly born of God’s Spirit and filled with God’s Spirit, you will be prompted to give! And if you really love the Lord, you can’t help but give to the work of the Lord. But let your giving come from the heart, not grudgingly or of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7).
So again I ask, "Does it take money to spread the Gospel?" Again, I say, "No!" What it takes is a yielded and willing vessel. All it takes is each one reaching one. That was how the Gospel got to us; that is how we ought to get the Gospel to the outermost parts of the world!
Now, the question is, "Are you a yielded and willing vessel?"