Financial Dangers and Difficulties

  • I Timothy 6:6 “But godliness with contentment is great gain.
  • 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
  • 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
  • 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
  • 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
  • 11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.”

We have already seen some Physical, Spiritual, and Social dangers and difficulties of the evangelist’s ministry. As we continue this series, this article focuses on the Financial dangers and difficulties of the evangelist’s ministry.

Money in itself and of itself is not wrong. “The love of money is the root of all evil.” (vs. 10) Coveting after money is sin. (vs. 10) An evangelist can be tempted and fall into the trap (vs. 9) of appeasing the “itching ears” of his listeners (II Timothy 4:3-4) in order to get more meetings and make more money. In his book, “The Evangelist”, John R. Rice relates a story about his brother Dr. Bill Rice concerning money.

“My brother, Dr. Bill Rice, also an evangelist, held a blessed revival campaign in a big tent in a city in California known as the ‘wine capital of America.’ …Some of the wealthy churchmen, in the wine business, approached my brother and said, ‘Some of us plan to put $2,000.00 in your love offering if you do not disturb the business from which so many nice people get their livelihood.’ But he went boldly before that congregation and preached, ‘Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink,’ from Habakkuk 2:15.”

Evangelists must preach the gospel and not “water it down” no matter what it may cost.

A second thing to bring up: the evangelist can also struggle with not receiving enough money. Some believe that money itself will corrupt God’s preachers so they pay them little. However, Paul states in I Corinthians 9:14, “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” This verse would apply to both pastors and evangelists alike, but how clearly it is connected to evangelists. Evangelists are to “preach the gospel” because they are “preachers of the gospel.” And since, “they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel”, evangelists should be financially recompensed so that they can actually “live of the gospel.” Evangelists should not just get a tip for preaching. They should be able to “live of the gospel.” However, evangelists are normally coming to churches that are not revived. So, even though it doesn’t make it right, it is understandable why many churches do not pay evangelists properly. This lack of money can make evangelism difficult. Some churches are known for even taking the evangelist’s love offering or lying about what actually came in for the evangelist. Dr. Dennis Corle, an evangelist who traveled with Dr. Joe Boyd as a young man, has related this illustration to help evangelists and pastors concerning ethics. At the end of one of Evangelist Joe Boyd’s revivals, he came into the church office looking for the pastor. He happened to notice his name written on a financial statement that said, “Cut Boyd off here.” The church had been taking up love offerings for Evangelist Boyd every night. But unbeknownst to the people giving or to Dr. Boyd, the pastor had decided to have a cut-off point for the money. The people continued to give towards Dr. Joe Boyd’s love offering thinking that all the money was going to be given to him at the end of the meeting. It is important that both the evangelist and the pastor are honest in their dealings with money.

A third thought: many evangelists have to quit evangelism because of their bad handling of money. Since an evangelist does not have a promised income, the evangelist must be “diligent” with his money. This author is himself an evangelist, and I have taught and preached on how to handle money biblically. This website,, has a series on money called “Money Matters” that any believer should definitely check out.

A final word of caution concerning money: many an evangelist has erred in trying to supplement his income with extra employment. There is a reason the Apostle Paul declares in Phil. 3:13, “…this one thing I do….” And there is a reason why the “…widows were neglected in the daily ministration” in Acts 6:1 and why the apostles chose servants or deacons to help in that matter while they declared for themselves in vs. 4, “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” Contrary to popular belief, “…the work of the ministry…” (Eph 4:12) is a full-time job. Anyone who has listened to this evangelist preach or read my articles knows that I frequently reference the Bible, “preach the word” not my words, and literally speak through God’s Word quoting it regularly and replacing my words with God’s constantly. Such a practice does not come without practice, labor (“a laborer” II Tim. 2:15), diligence (Ex. 15:26, Deut. 6:7, 17, 11:13, 22, etc…) and study (II Tim. 2:15). This is what Evangelist Timothy was commanded by God through Paul to do:

  • II Tim. 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

There is a dearth of God’s Word in the land, and God’s people are destroyed as a result.

  • Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”

The dearth is a result of “lack of knowledge”, and this lack is because believers have “forgotten the law of” their God, and this forgetting is because believers have “rejected knowledge”. But all of this starts with leadership. God’s leaders are not giving themselves to “prayer and the word” (Acts 6:4). When “the Levites” were found by Nehemiah to have “ fled every one to his field” in Neh. 13:10 because they had not been provided for by God’s people, neither God nor Nehemiah praised the Levites for their ingenuity in how to make extra money.

  • Neh. 13:11 “Then contended I with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God forsaken? And I gathered them together, and set them in their place.”

Of course, Paul is used as an example of making money by being a tentmaker.

  • Acts 18:3 “And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.”

Did you know this is the only passage that refers to or reveals Paul as a tentmaker? Until the modern era of freedom and technical advances, one could not merely choose what his occupation was to be. You were trained in one craft. For example, why was Jesus called “the carpenter” (Mk. 6:3)? Because His earthly father, Joseph, was a carpenter (Mt. 13:5), and as the custom was for a man to teach his son his craft, Jesus likewise became a carpenter (Mk. 6:3). Paul’s craft was tentmaking. In the instance of Acts 18, this similarity allowed Paul to abide with believers Aquila and Priscilla. (vs. 2) They would later start a church (I Cor. 16:19). At the time of Acts 18, though, the husband and wife had recently come from Rome and were providing for themselves by their craft of tentmaking. Paul shared in their expertise of tentmaking and “wrought” with them while “he abode with them”. However, this one example does not give any credence nor permission to God’s ministers having an extra income. In fact, Paul himself is the one who repeatedly in the New Testament stresses not only the need of churches (not ministers) to provide for those who preach the gospel (I Cor. 9; Rom. 15:27; I Tim. 5:17), but also of preachers to “forbear working”.

  • I Cor. 9:6 “Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?”

Make sure to keep reading the passage:

  • I Cor. 9:7 “Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?
  • 8 Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?
  • 9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?
  • 10 Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.
  • 11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?
  • 12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.
  • 13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?
  • 14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.”

From Old Testament to New Testament, God has always wanted His ministers to focus on the one task He gave them of ministering. Extra employment always distracts, weakens, side-tracks, convolutes, etc… the main task.

Other examples and passages concerning Paul’s employment and income and what Paul emphasized:

  • -In II Thess. 3:8-9, Paul reveals, “Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.” The lesson wasn’t making money nor finding food to eat, but being “an ensample” of work and faithfulness. For in the very next verse, Paul reminds, “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”
  • -In II Cor. 11:7-9, Paul reveals that he “freely” preached the gospel to them of Corinth, but admits the failure of this practice: “Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?
  • 8 I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.
  • 9 And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.”

Robbing other churches is not an analogy to be taken lightly. Also, Paul did not say he went out and made tents to earn extra money. Paul states that “Macedonia supplied” him with what he needed. Dear reader, the evangelist (and pastor) must not divert their limited time (Ps. 103:15; Jms. 4:14; I Pt. 1:24) and energy and life to earn extra income. Pray to God for provision. Trust in Him and His promises to provide. You must give what little time you have (Ps. 103:15; Jms. 4:14; I Pt. 1:24) to your kids, your wife, and to God and His Word. Remember that it is the whitened harvest (Jn. 4:35) before you that has few laborers. (Mt. 9:37, Lk. 10:2) Do not be distracted.