God's Pattern for Evangelism
In an earlier article we took note of the fact that God has a pattern for what we are to do. We noted that when His patten is ignored or changed we bring down the wrath of God upon ourselves.
One example of this is found in the Israelites disregard for Gods pattern for transporting the ark of the covenant. God had directed only the house of Kohath was to carry the ark of the covenant, (cf. Numbers 4:15), but no one was to touch it. When the Israelites decided to move it on one occasion and did not follow the pattern God had set up, they were cursed in their efforts. When Uzza reached out to keep the ark from falling, God struck him dead (1 Chronicles 13:7-10). Later, King David recognized his error (1 Chronicles 15:1-2), and corrected it. David also acknowledged his wrong. "For because you did not do it the first time, the LORD our God broke out against us, because we did not consult Him about the proper order." So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel. And the children of the Levites bore the ark of God on their shoulders, by its poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the LORD" (1 Chronicles 15:13-15).
As we look at the pattern or order that God has for supporting those who preach the Gospel, we see that many today are not following the divine pattern God has set. Today, among those who have chosen the wisdom of men above what God has said, "sponsoring churches" have been set up to receive funds from other congregations and, (the sponsoring churches), in turn send money to preachers. This may sound like a good way to take care of the preachers' needs, but we must ask ourselves if this is in accord with the pattern set by God. How were preachers supported in the first century? How did the men in the days of the apostles receive their support in regard to money needed? Let us look to the pages of divine inspiration and see how it was done so that we will have full assurance that if we do it the same way today, we will be following Gods pattern and thus be pleasing to Him.
When Paul was in need of support did several churches send to one church and have them send the funds needed to him? Look at the scriptures. "Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God" (Philippians 4:15-18). When Paul was at Corinth he received his support from several churches but they sent it direct to him and not through another church. "I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you. And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself" (2 Corinthians 11:8-9).
Money for the support of an evangelist was not only not sent through another church, it was sent direct to him and not through any church. Compare that today to those who are practicing the "sponsoring church" arrangement where one church collects money from several churches and then sends the money. One may say, "What is wrong with that?" and the answer comes from Holy script, It does not fit the pattern! Remember what happened to Uzza who, no doubt in all good conscience, touched the ark to keep it from falling? He was struck dead! May we get back to respecting and observing Gods order or pattern in all things. If you are a preacher, does your support come to you direct from a contributing church? Or does it come from a church that has been used to collect funds from other churches and then send those funds on to you? Are you worshiping with a church that is involved in such a sponsoring church arrangement? If so, that church is not following the divine pattern. Think about it.