Since 2006 I have lived by faith on the promises of the Lord Jesus Christ. I wrote this article to share my experiences and advice living as a full-time evangelist.
Here are some prerequisites for being a full-time worker for the Lord. You have to be called by the Lord and you have to have faith. I have always had a tug on my heart and then by reading the Word I have faith to believe God will provide. This was a struggle for many years and I was frustrated in my unbelief. I am asked often, “How do you know you are called?” My simple answer is; because I am doing it. I could not do the ministry I am involved in if I were not called by the Lord. Left to myself I would never do what I am doing. Luke 5:27-28
Working for the Lord full time begins with an attitude. Even if you are working a 40 hour a week job you must have the mindset that you are a minister first and foremost. I use to witness on the job quite a bit. On one job it got to the point where I almost got fired but I was such a good worker they didn’t fire me. If you are not witnessing right where you are at right now, it is doubtful that you will ever be a full time evangelist. He who is faithful in little will be faithful in much. Luke 16:10
Although we are use to large living budgets here in America the only way I could be full time is that I owe no debts. I am single, which is a great advantage. I don’t own a lot of stuff. I recently fit everything I owned in an older model Jeep Cherokee. Simple economics; less expenses requires less income to operate. Food and transportation are some of the largest expenses. The bottom line is to have the lowest operating budget as you can. 1 Cor 7:31
It is an advantage to have had prior experience in the secular workplace and have developed a good work ethic. You will have to be somewhat of a self starter. No one necessarily is hovering over you to tell you what to do every waking moment. You must have incentive to not only go out and work the fields but do those disciplines necessary for preparation. One of the confirmations that I should be doing this full time is that the Lord has graced me to be able to read the Bible and pray for long periods in preparation. Some people think full time ministry is easy and you will often be judged as a lazy bum. On the contrary working for the King is hard work. It is not an easy life but one I desire. Col 4:17
Paid Church Staff Member
Not many Churches care to financially support a minister that goes out evangelizing full time, especially street preaching. This could be for many reasons. One of the reasons I was told by an outreach pastor is that as a paid staff outreach or evangelism minister, you have to produce church members and preferably those who will become givers. The idea of going out and preaching Christ to people for the most part who will not get saved, let alone come to your church is not something that is thought of as “effective”. This is a sad situation since the Lord told us to go and preach the Gospel to every creature, Mark 16:15 not just ones that will come to your church. Christ is the one who builds the church we just need to be faithful to go out into the highways and byways and tell them the Gospel. God bless the churches that do provide support. Unless you are blessed to have such an arrangement where you are a paid staff member you then must look to other means of support. Matt 6:33
Paul made tents on occasion to help support himself in the ministry. Acts 18:3 Some of the “tent making” jobs I have had in the past six years while serving the Lord are administrations, website and internet work, carpet cleaning, moving trash, painting, and other odd jobs that were mainly day labor. One of the struggles I have faced is when to know how much work I should take on and for how long. The more you work the less time you have to serve the Lord in public preaching. Remember serving the Lord is work and with a wage. So don’t feel bad living from the Gospel. Again, you will be perceived as a lazy bum by some; just remember that. You will be told that it is “not for today” among other discouraging comments. Worse yet is the silence received sometimes. Luke 10:7 1 Tim 5:18
The idea of raising support for several years before you launch out on your mission is the norm for today’s ministers. I realize this may not be prevented when going to a foreign country. Years ago the Lord showed me not to solicit funds or support from people. I tried asking for awhile years ago in a ministry I was involved in and it just didn’t work. Once I stopped going around asking for financial support the Lord provided. Even recently I have been tempted to ask but have forgone this as I read in the scriptures that the disciples didn’t go around on a circuit asking for money before going on their mission. You may want to work for the summer for example, and then use that money to get you through the rest (or part) of the year.
Living By Faith
An interesting Scripture is found in Joshua. The priests were instructed to carry the ark across the Jordan river leading the people of Israel. It says that once the priest’s feet stepped into the Jordan the river would part but not until. I would feel more comfortable waiting on the river’s edge and then once the river would part I would then cross. Real faith is stepping in the river trusting the Lord will do what He says. Joshua 3:13
I think everyone of us have to trust the Lord for our provision at some point. There are many testimonies concerning the Lord’s miraculous provision. George Mueller comes to mind. Most of the last six years has been living by faith. What I mean by that is this; as I serve the Lord, He brings in what I need when I need it. Many of this has been the generous gifts from the saints and sometimes from strangers and even unbelievers too. Whoever gives to the Lord’s work is a partner; both you and the giver must remember this. I have been blessed by the many who have given to me by believers to preach the Gospel. 3 John 1:6-8 1 Cor 9:14
I have lots of stories of how the Lord has come through. I want to share one testimony that stands out. A few years ago we were ready to leave on an outreach and I had some time to pray by myself. I was telling the Lord that a certain bill was due. (paid off now) I had told the agency I would pay $100 a month on my medical bill. I had no money but a few dollars, less than $20 and I was saving that for food. I prayed and asked the Lord to somehow provide this money for my bill. I left for the outreach and like many times forgot what I prayed hours later. I was preaching and a lady who looked like she needed a hand out herself came up to me and shook my hand. As I reached out I felt the money she had tucked in my hand. I continued to preach as I put the money in my pocket. Later I remembered I had some money and I thought it was a dollar and I planned to go buy a burger. I looked and it was a $100 bill. I didn’t spend it but paid the medical bill with it. Praise the Lord! Phil 4:19