What is a Self-Sustaining Church
An organisation which relies only upon itself in self-sustaining, just as an individual who is self-reliant is able to sustain themselves independently of assistance.
By profession, Paul was a tent-maker. However, with his missionary travels, it must have become difficult to stop to make tents along the road, at least sometimes.
Looking at 1 Corinthians 9, Paul goes to some lengths to explain that he does not seek income from the believers to whom he writes and yet he does need to eat:
“Do we have no right to eat and drink?” (v4)
“Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock?” (v7)
Should Paul not receive some kind of sustenance from those to whom he teaches?
“For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” Is it oxen God is concerned about?” (v9)
“If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?” (v11)
Likewise, do we not need to support the church in the measure we are able, to ensure it is financially healthy and viable?
I’m not going to discuss dept or tithing. Rather, I’ll simply say that we are not responsible for what we do not have, but we are responsible for what the LORD has provided to us.
And I’ll hi-light one other point which I think is important:
We the church body of Christ, must not be unequally yoked.
This is a corporate matter just as it is a matter of individuals in business or marriage partnerships.
Being yoked to government may enhance income but it can block our communion with and our reliance upon GOD (through His people) alone.
“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)
We “cannot serve GOD and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24)
Worldwide we are in a time of increasing darkness. Some governments may still seek to do righteously by their citizens but there is much darkness in politics today. And the governments who once served — or at least paid lip service to — the Creator GOD rarely exist, though praise the LORD there are many individual members within governments to do worship GOD.
Countries that allow charity status to churches are rarely Godly nations now. Darkness is and is coming.
Do we really want or need money that comes from ungodly sources?