Giving With Wisdom

By Dr. Ken Matto

(2 Cor 9:7 KJV) Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

One of the dynamics of the Christian life which I learned as a young Christian was the giving of finances to ministries and missions which were sending forth the Gospel. Of course, we are commanded to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. (Mark 16:15 KJV) And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Let us be realistic in realizing that not every Christian can go to different countries and be a missionary. God has saved millions of Christians and kept them right where they were saved.

(Mark 5:18-19 KJV) And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. {19} Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.

The Gadarene Demoniac was such a person. Once Jesus had freed him from all those devils which possessed him, he felt so much love for Jesus and desired to follow Him in ministry. Instead, we read in the above verses that Jesus did not allow him to come with them but sent him home to his family and friends to be a witness to them. This is what happens to the majority of Christians when they become newly saved. God returns them to their homes and they become witnesses right where they are. There is another reason why God allows that because many Christians work and when a person works, they can finance ministries to send forth the Gospel. That Christian now has the opportunity to be a witness for Jesus right where they work and live.

(Mark 6:4 KJV) But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. Witnessing to people who knew you and the things you did before salvation is one of the toughest ministries a Christian can have but if they continue properly in the Christian life, people will eventually have to acknowledge there is definitely a change.

This article is about giving money to ministry with wisdom. God has allowed some Christians to gain great wealth in this world. Some names that come to mind are: R.G. Letourneau, Colgate, Welch’s Grape Juice and there are no doubt others. However, the normal pattern is that most Christians who God saves are workers who work for someone else and draw a paycheck. So this Christian wants to make sure that what they are giving is actually being used to further the Kingdom of God on earth. This is where it is absolutely necessary to use wisdom when giving because with limited funds you want to make sure that your gift has maximum impact for the Gospel and not winding up as a gold toilet seat in someone’s ministry like Joyce Meyer. There are many false preachers out there and especially the majority of them on TV are nothing but religious thieves. One of them is Mike Murdock who has a yearly income of about $20 million and brags that he has three Corvettes. That is not where you want your heard earned money winding up. We are responsible before the Lord to be wise stewards of the money He has entrusted to us. (1 Cor 4:2 KJV) Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. Notice that the verse says it is “required” that a steward be found faithful, it does not say it is an option. I would like to share with you some principles of wise giving which I have learned over the last 32 years of being saved. When desiring to give, it is always a good practice to investigate the mission or ministry to make sure your donation is not falling into a black hole. When seeking to support a certain ministry, there should be some basic questions which you must ask. Keep in mind that the Bible teaches that we are to be wise stewards of the Lord’s money. You may have a desire to give to a ministry which does general evangelism through teaching or preaching, or maybe a literature ministry or a shortwave radio ministry or even an Internet ministry and that is why you need to be an informed giver.

What is the Focus of the Ministry?
A focus is the “A central point; point of concentration,” according to the 1828 Webster Dictionary. This is where you match up your desire with their ministry. You may have a desire to reach a certain area of the world by shortwave, so you would check out some shortwave ministries to see where they broadcast to. Say you would like to reach South America, then you might want to support (Reach Beyond) HCJB which is headquartered in Quito, Ecuador. They got their start in 1931 which tells you that this ministry has been sending forth the Gospel for 86 years as of 2017. Now you will want to know what the focus of their ministry is such as, is it evangelism, teaching, discipleship, Bible translation, literacy (teaching people how to read), or other ministries? Let us say the focus of their ministry is evangelism, so with that being the focus then you would be investing the Lord’s money wisely in that ministry. You would be partnering (and that is what it is) with a ministry sending forth the Gospel for 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

What is their Method of Ministry?
You may be writer or even an avid reader of books and would like to invest in a literature ministry. You could look at World Missionary Press who publishes Bible booklets in more than 340 languages. Now you may not be concerned about reaching a specific people group but you have a heart’s desire to reach many. So you could invest with them on a monthly basis and just check the box “Where Needed Most” and let the Lord direct them where to use the funds. One month you might be helping to send booklets to India and another month to Cuba. (Eccl 11:1 KJV) Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. This is truly a fulfillment of the meaning of Ecclesiastes 11:1. You might be an airplane pilot and want to support an aviation ministry, so you might want to check out JAARS which flies missionaries and ministry materials around in a fleet of small planes. You may also want to partner with a Missions ministry which still sends missionaries to different parts of the world. You may like the idea of presenting the Gospel in a dramatic way so you might want to support Unshackled from Pacific Garden Mission or Lamplighter Theater. So it is always good to find out what method the ministry uses to send forth the Gospel because that would be a main emphasis and expense of the ministry.

There are some ministries out the which send Bibles free of charge to people as the money comes in. One such ministry is Bible For Today which sends bibles to prisoners on request and people can donate to that fund and partner in this ministry. Another such Ministry is Bearing Precious Seed who publish quality King James Bibles and many are sent overseas. So you can support ministries which produce Bibles. There is a Bible shortage in the world and this would be another great ministry to support because it fills in the needs for so many indigenous preachers in other countries. Many times, there may be only one Bible for an entire village.

Where do they Minister?
There are going to be many missionary organizations which have single focus on one area of the world. Sometimes they will focus only on one country or a region such as Gospel for Asia. One such single focus ministry is China Inland Mission which was started in 1865 and is now called OMF International and has a focus on East Asia. There are missionary organizations which focus on Africa, the Middle East, Europe and individual countries. You may have a burden for a certain country and will want to support ministry in that country. It is always important to know where a specific ministry ministers so you will be well informed as to where your donation will be ministering.

How long have they been in Ministry?
We have to be very careful here because with the advent of the Internet, there are people who set up ministries and throw “donate buttons” on the site and never plan to use any of the donated money for ministry. I have been on line for close to 20 years (11/20/1997-11/20/2017) and will not place a donate button on my site. If someone wants to donate, they can contact me and I will give them the particulars. There are some ministries which have been operating continually for many years and it is very safe to support them. We mentioned China Inland Mission which was started in 1865, then there is the Salvation Army which began in 1865, the Pacific Garden Mission which started in 1877, Africa Inland Mission which began in 1895, and Every Home for Christ started in 1946. A ministry that has been around for a long time is normally a good investment of funds but with longevity in ministry can come creeping liberalism which can water down the truth of the Gospel. If you choose to support a ministry which has been around a long time, then investigate if they are still proclaiming the true Gospel in all its strength. Read their materials or listen to their programs to check them out.

How much salary do the leaders draw?
This is important because in many false ministries the leaders draw salaries of hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. This is not only a spiritual disease in the charismatic movement but also in other ministries which do not support tongues. Here are just a few from Charity Navigator dot com:

Boston Rescue Mission CEO - John Samaan (6/2017) - $195,998
Christian Appalachian Project CEO - Guy Adams (8/2018) - $170,347
Crown Financial Ministries -CEO Chuck Bentley - (3/2018) - $206,748
America’s Keswick CEO - Bill Welte - (12/2017) - $136,486
Truth for Life - President, Pastor - Allistair Begg - (12/2017) - $258,050
In Touch Ministries CEO - Phillip Bowen (9/2017) - $361,527
Insight For Living CEO - Cynthia Swindoll (6/2017) - $199,667
Grace to You CEO - John MacArthur (6/2015) - $246,868

As you can see these eight ministries are among many who pay their people exorbitant salaries. In these positions out in business, the salary levels would be acceptable but these salaries are taken out of donations which means for these ministries a good portion of donations go to high salaries. Now there is nothing wrong about paying decent salaries in a ministry because people have to live and pay bills but when they get into the quarter million dollar levels, that is just wrong. Then these ministries cry the blues that they need money for every pet project and yet will not reduce the high salaries of the CEO. This is why when you are seeking out a ministry to support, it is important to know their salary philosophy because if they are in it for salaries, then the ministry needs will suffer and when donations come in, it will be directed into the salary needs.

There is one thing I like about the salary philosophy of World Missionary Press and that is (as of 10/17), all employees make the same pay, from the President to the Pressman. They get $15.80 per hour which comes out to $32,878 per year. Compare that salary for the President of WMP to the salaries listed above. That is how ministry should be done and is a great example of wise stewardship.

What Partnerships have they formed?
This is very important because the wrong partnership can affect the quality of the ministry and the very message itself. For example, I would not give to the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview because this ministry is heavily involved with the Roman Catholic Church which is not a Christian church and does not teach the truth. It is good to know what organizations or people your target ministry is involved with because you may be helping a false religion. I remember some years ago I supported the American Life League until I found out they were giving donated money to the Roman Catholic Church. I wrote to them and told them to take me off their donor list as they will never get another penny from me. They never wrote back telling me I was wrong or had bad information. A real good partnership is World Missionary Press partnering with Every Home for Christ to evangelize as many places as possible using WMP materials.

What about smaller ministries?
So far I have only mentioned larger ministries but there are also smaller ministries out there which are doing a great job in evangelizing. There is a woman named Debbie Carver here in NJ who runs a small ministry called “Our Father’s Persistent Love Ministries” which is a ministry to prisoners. Her ministry has had great effect upon many prisoners. A small ministry with a focus like that is well worth supporting. There are many small ministries on the Internet which need to be approached with caution because many have started them just to raise money for personal use. Just because a ministry only has one or two people in it does not mean it is not playing an important role in the lives of those it comes in contact with. Technology has made it easy to do ministry and has cut down the need for much office space or personnel. One or two people today can handle what five or six did 20 years ago. Smaller ministries should never be overlooked because their outreach is just as important as those of the larger ministries.

Beware of the Hook
You will hear from some ministries, mostly charismatic, that if you send them $1000, then God will bless you with health and wealth. Do not fall for this satanic lie! Many of them interview people in the audience and they tell of how God has blessed them because they made a $1000 faith pledge to their ministry. These are shills! A shill is one who acts as a decoy being in league with the ministry or minister they are promoting. The money that goes to these type of ministries normally goes into mansion buying or personal jets for the preacher.

There is nothing wrong making a faith pledge because of your desire to send forth the Gospel. If you do, pick a reputable ministry like World Missionary Press or JAARS and send them a gift every month toward your faith pledge. (2 Cor 9:6-8 KJV) But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. {7} Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. {8} And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: Now it is true that God does bless in response to a person’s giving and their attitude toward the giving but He does so in different ways and not necessarily health and wealth. He may increase your finances as you go along or He may not. Instead, He might keep you from an accident or a sickness which could cause you to lose pay. However He does it, He does promise that He will bless the giver.

Giving is a great dynamic of the Christian Faith. Our money can get the word of God into places that we cannot go. As with anything in life, we must be very discerning as to where we send the money which we earn by the sweat of our brow. We want it to advance the Christian faith and not go into someone’s pocket. We are to make an impact in this world with the Gospel and evangelism is one way of invading Satan’s territory. The more people hear the true Gospel, the more will respond. Once the last one becomes saved which God has named then the end shall come. If the money we send is sequestered in someone’s bank account, then that money is dead for the spread of the Gospel. Let me once again reference World Missionary Press. They can manufacture 24 Gospel booklets for every dollar received. If you are able to just send $10 a month to them, that means you would be able to reach 240 people a month that you would otherwise be unable to reach. Multiply that by 12 months and you will have reached 2,880 people plus in different countries, the people who receive the booklets will share with others thus multiplying your gift further. So when you give unto the Lord, He will not only bless you but will multiply the outreach of the materials you fund. It is a great partnership and that is why it is important to do your homework and investigate the ministry or mission you desire to support.

Ministries Mentioned in this Article in a Positive Light:
Reach Beyond (Formerly HCJB)
World Missionary Press
Pacific Garden Mission
Lamplighter Theater
Bearing Precious Seed
Bible For Today
Africa Inland Mission
Every Home for Christ
Salvation Army
Our Father’s Persistent Love Ministries
OMF International

Please visit my article entitled "Salary Gluttons" which further investigates the high salaries paid by ministries: