The Benefits of Partnering With a Ministry
I first heard the term “partnering” from various television preachers decades ago. They would end their programs by asking the viewing audience to partner with them, which means to obligate themselves to give a specific donation. Back in the day, Evangelist Billy Graham spoke of how his partners helped sustain his ministry. It takes money to run large ministries and I’m sure there are many that, like Billy Graham, use the money to further the gospel and help the poor. This should always be the purpose when funds are raised for work in His kingdom. There are some ministries that use the funds from their partners to keep their television programs on the air, which is also part of getting the gospel into all the world. That said, not all preachers have such good intentions and many lives have been destroyed because of their greed.
Misusing Partnering in the Modern Church
In our modern society, the use of partnering is being misused. Today, many television evangelists ask the viewing audience to partner with them, but the motives seem to have changed. In addition to ministry work, all of todays popular preachers are multimillionaires who preached the prosperity gospel. Ken Copeland is worth 300 million, Joyce Meyer is worth 18 million, while TD Jakes and Rick Warren are both worth 25 million. All of these individuals write books and sell CDs, so there is no way to prove that they have misused money from ministry partners. Likewise, no one can say with certainty that the funds are not going into their personal accounts. With this amount personal wealth, these preachers should be donating their own money and not asking for donations, but they do.
Pastors of smaller churches are now using partnering as a method to put money in their own pockets. I once belonged to a church where the pastor began with a salary. Next, he instituted "first fruits," where members gave him the income from the first raise they got each year. His preacher friends came to the church four or five times a year, asking members for $500—$1,000 each for the pastor. Later, he began a partnership and asked members to give to it, but there was never any explanation as to why the money was needed. In this church, the members tithed and gave offerings. Every other month, there was an additional extra offering called "Super Sunday." This was supposed to be for projects that regular tithes and offerings did not cover. The thing is, the church was never told of any extra projects. Meanwhile, the pastor preached prosperity from the Lord, but was actually obtaining his “Increase” from the different streams that all came from the parishioner. This method has now made its way onto social media.
Some Preachers Use Social Media to Get Rich
There are small ministries whose preachers use Facebook Live to deliver sermons and give the viewing audience the opportunity to sow financial seeds or partner with them. When you have a church building, there is a need to pay bills and keep things going (this money still benefits Kingdom work). Unfortunately, there are preachers who use partnering to simply earn extra money for their own pockets. Facebook Live is free, yet preachers use it for sermons, then ask for money. Within the past year I have seen an increasing number of videos that end with the speaker basically saying, "You owe me for this message." Some point out that you can’t get free food at McDonald’s, so you should pay for the word of God.
The scripture they use is I Timothy 5:18, which reads:
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“For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, the labourer is worthy of his reward.”
What they don’t recall, is what Christ said when he sent out His disciples. Matthew 10:8 reads:
"Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give."
I've watched videos where ministers began asking for a live offering if you enjoyed the message. Some ask for tithes if you don’t have a church home. Now, on Facebook Live, I’ve seen a number of ministers asking the viewers to partner with them, but they do not have large ministries that need sustaining. Naturally, I cannot prove what they are doing with the money, but when they also preach prosperity, this is suspect. The bottom line is that, should you hear someone asking you to partner with them, be informed before you part with your money. Find out exactly where the money is going.
If you desire to give to enrich a preacher’s personal life, that's your personal choice. That said, ask yourself, "Is this true to Christ's message?"
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Cheryl E Preston