Ministry Support Team for Jesus of Nazareth
Luke 8 shows this is not such a new idea
Many of us have been asked to support mission workers through Ministry Support Team fundraising initiatives.
It’s the new approach to fundraising for missions. It personalizes giving and makes it possible to give directly to friends and family members who are called into service and need to raise support.
As it turns out, this is not such a new idea at all. In Luke 8, we are given a glimpse into the support network that Jesus developed for his own ministry.
A wandering, itinerate preacher can’t do this fulltime work without financial support. What’s interesting is the way this group is described by Luke in this brief introduction prior to the parable of the Sower.
After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means. — Luke 8:1-3 (NIV)
We are told that “the Twelve” were with Jesus, along with some women. Unlike the Twelve, three of the women are actually named. They are Mary, called Magdalene; Joanna; and Susanna.
These women were most likely community leaders, based on how they were introduced. And the fact that Jesus and his band of 12 were included in their choice of beneficiaries is notable for Luke. Providing financial support for this entourage of 16-plus followers was no small commitment.
We are also told that some of these women had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities. What we might infer from this is that they were contributing to Jesus’ ministry because of a deep sense of gratitude for the healing and transformation they experienced. Gratitude and personal relationships are two of the best motivations for generosity.
As a church, we are called to build relationships and to be communities of healing. In what ways are we appealing to our people to support the local church as this kind of transformational community?
Maybe we should consider renaming our Finance and Stewardship Committees. We could call them our Ministry Support Teams. Our end goal in appealing to our members for financial support is to continue the work that Jesus began, as described in Luke 8. Part of that work included raising money to carry on the ministry.
To learn more about how we can shape our ministry on Jesus’ model in Luke 8, consider attending a Cultivating Generous Congregations (CGC) training sponsored by Everence®. Watch this two-minute introduction to CGC, which highlights testimonies from two pastors who have experienced transformation in the ministry as a result of attending a CGC training.
For more information about Cultivating Generous Congregations, contact your Everence Stewardship Consultant or Beryl Jantzi, Everence Director of Stewardship Education, at firstname.lastname@example.org.