How should missionaries be paid? Biblically, there can be only one answer to this question. As Paul says, the Lord has commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel (1 Cor 9.14). The teaching is very explicit. There are many examples of this principle being practiced in the Scriptures. Here are just a few:
- First and most significantly, Jesus’ ministry was funded by some of those who heard Him (Luke 8.1–3), and He taught the disciples to rely on others while ministering (Matthew 10.5–15).
- Second, Paul requested that the Roman church financially support Phoebe, one of the ministers at Cenchrae. (Romans 16.1–2)
- Third, Paul himself received support and was grateful for the support he received: Philippians 4.10–20 (people frequently assume that Paul always supported himself by making tents. Actually, that was the second-best option for him. See Acts 18.1–5, where Paul began by making tents and quit as soon as it was financially feasible to do so. See 1 Corinthians 9.1–18, where Paul’s whole point is that the Corinthians owed him support: he concludes the letter by telling them that he hopes to stop by and that he hopes they will provide for him to finish his journey in 1 Cor 16.5–6. Also see Romans 15.20–24, where Paul asks a church he has never visited before to fund him on his journey to Spain.) In addition, Paul explicitly teaches in Galatians 6.6 that Christians are obligated to provide for the needs of ministers.
- Fourth, the apostle John encouraged his friend to support a band of missionaries in 3 John 5–8.
- Fifth, the whole Levitical system in the Old Testament (the Levites were ministers) is predicated on the financial support of ministers by the rest of God’s people (Numbers 18.21–24 is a representative example). See Nehemiah 13.4–11 for how outraged Nehemiah was that the Levites had to go earn wages in another fashion.
In summary, there is an extremely strong Biblical case for missionaries raising financial support from the Body of Christ.
Which bring me to my point: we’re missionaries and we need your partnership! If you’d like to support our ministry financially, here’s how.
Incidentally, the word that we prefer to use when discussing financial supporters is partner. That word was chosen very carefully. If you’re curious, read about how missions is really a partnership
If you still have unanswered questions about supporting missionaries, you might be interested in our answers to common questions about supporting missionaries.