What is ministry Partnership?
Being a musician, worship leader, and instructor of worship pastors, I strongly relate to the Old Testament Levites. These worship leaders, set apart by God, have been the example and foundation for much of my ministry and teaching. God continually opens my eyes to new things, both about Himself and ministry, through the study of the Levites. Through them, God demonstrates the concept of tithing and supporting those in ministry/missions.
In the Bible, the book of Numbers, chapter 18 discusses the Levites, the servant-priest-worship leader-musicians to the people. The Levites served particular religious duties for the Israelites. When God brought the Israelites into the Promised Land, the Levites were instructed by God to remain behind while the rest of the Hebrews went in to take their inheritance. The Levites were not to have an inheritance like the others – their inheritance was to come directly from God, by means of His people. God established that the Hebrews would give their best tithes and offerings to God, and God gave the best to his workers (Levites), and they in turn offered their best back to God (a tithe of the tithe). This laid the foundation of God’s people sharing in partnership with those in Christian ministry.
As people of God, we are to support the ministries of God with our tithes and offerings. Jesus Himself, was supported by His people. In Luke 8:1-3, it describes Jesus and His disciples going from city to city proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God. It mentions several of the people who were with them “…and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means.” Another example of the people partnering with those in ministry can be found in Luke 10:1-8, where Jesus instructs His disciples to go out into the world and preach the Gospel. As part of this instruction, He basically instructs them that their “wages” would come from others, “…for the laborer is worthy of his wages.” There are many other examples of God’s people partnering with those in ministry to provide for both the needs of the ministry worker and the ministry.
To do this, we should be in prayer, asking God which ministries He would have us partner with, then be obedient in giving our best. I love a phrase of Corrie ten Boom’s: “I’d rather have a dollar which the Lord directs you to give, than a thousand which He hasn’t!” God tells us that everyone is to give, no exceptions. But, the giving needs to be guided by the Lord to the right ministries.
In the book, The God Ask, by Steve Shadrack, how this partnership relationship is seen through God’s eyes is beautifully described:
I am simply a mediator seeking to connect His people and His resources with His plan…The Lord calls some of us to be missionaries in Kenya, and some to be campus workers in America. Others are supposed to wear coats and ties and spend their days investing funds or buying real estate. Once we realize we’re all in the game, it’s a fixed result. We all simply play the role God has assigned us, faithfully fulfilling the Lord’s purpose in our lives. (p.23)
He describes this partnership as a triangle:
As a ministry worker, called by God to this ministry, I am called to be faithful to what God has called me to, but it is not my job to get the funds. It’s God's. My calling, my ministry, the people who will be asked to partner in the ministry, their assets, everything is all His. So, when a person is asked to join in partnership in the ministry, it is a “God Ask”. We go to God, asking for provision – funds, fuel for the ministry. God’s people ask God where to invest their tithes and offerings. This is a beautiful way of looking at ministry the way God intends.
As a personal testimony, Doug and I have taken God at His word and tried to faithfully give our tithes and offerings over the years, no matter how tight our finances were. We established this priority as a young married couple almost 40 years ago. Through the years, we have supported our local church as well as various missionaries/ministries and God has been faithful to provide for us, even when our finances looked impossible on paper. We chose to be obedient and give to Him first, and then to our bills with what was left. The result was that God always provided and we never missed a payment. Now, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all easy – sometimes the checkbook got down to pennies and we had to be creative in how we managed the money, but it always worked.
If you would like to discuss more of the biblical foundation for partnership, please feel free to contact me at any time. I pray that you get to experience the blessing that God has for you when you are invested both financially and in prayer with the right ministries. If that happens to be Created to Worship¸ I would be honored to share this amazing journey with you.
If you feel led to partner with me in this ministry, follow this link to my donation page!