Financial Support for Local Apostles
Locality-based apostles will be moving frequently, so they will find it difficult to hold down permanent employment. They will receive their financial support in three different ways. The common factor is strong relationships.
1. Take No Purse
When Jesus apostled the twelve and the seventy, they took no purse.
Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep (Matt 10:9-10).
These apostles were not to take money from a central purse. Jesus specifically told them not to take a wallet. Instead, they were to rely on the hospitality of the people in the town or village they were going to visit.
Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave (Matt 10:11).
These Christians would bring healing to the people in the town. This would create tremendous good will. They would stay with the person of peace until the work in that village was complete. Being dependent on the person of peace made the apostle vulnerable, but it had a huge advantage. The person of peace would be discipled quickly, because the apostle's life would be transparent to them.
2. Tent Making
The Take No Purse approach would work in traditional cultures where providing hospitality is a normal part of life. It would not work in our Western culture, so apostles would need a different means of support. One option is tent making. Paul used this option in Corinth.
After these things he left Athens and went to Corinth and because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and they were working, for by trade they were tent-makers. And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath (Acts 18:1,3,4).
Paul stayed with the tentmakers with similar skills. This gave him credibility while witnessing to them, while allowing him to be independent financially.
In the Western world where part-time work can produce a good income, this will be the most common form of financing. Paul was quite staunch about people working for their living where they could.
We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone's food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this.. in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow... we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat." We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge. to settle down and earn the bread they eat (2 Thes 3:7-12).
In a world whether many religious leaders have fleeced their flock, this is an example that we need. Modern apostles should look at using their skills to earn their living by seeking part-time work.
Some apostles will encourage the development of neighbourhood businesses. This will provide financial support for other apostles and people in need. These businesses will come into their own when globalisation collapses in the future. They will be able to produce things that can no longer be imported. Some will be family businesses.
3. Pay It Forward
When an apostolic team is sent out to plant a new church, the church that sends them out will often provide financial support. Because this apostolic team will have established the sending church for free, they will pay it forward by supporting their apostles on their next venture. When Paul was in Thessalonica, the church in Philippi provided support for him.
You sent me aid again and again when I was in need (Phil 4:16).
The key to this support is person-to person relationships. Paul had lived in Philippi as an apostle. He had an excellent relationship with them. They could put something back into his ministry by providing him with financial support. Modern apostles will often receive help from the people they have discipled in churches where the previously exercised their ministry.
Giving to apostles must be voluntary. Apostles cannot enforce giving by the church that has sent them out. They do not have authority to require financial support from their sending churches. The sending church will support the apostles they send, because they love them and are committed to the apostolic task.
In the New Testament Model, money flows through relationships, not institutions. Person-to-person giving feeds on trust. Deacons will have a key role in building relationships between those in need and those who can give.
If churches go back to meeting in believer's homes, the overhead costs involved in planting a new Church very low. All that will be needed is a team of apostles and a home in which to meet. Often they will meet in the home of the first person converted, so there will be almost no expenses at all.
Centralised Finances are dangerous.