The need for a ministry of this nature is much greater in these areas of focus (Townships, Rural Areas & Small Towns) for a number of reasons including the following:
- Many homes live on minimum wage (R3 500pm for a 40 hour week/R3 900pm for a 45 hour week), with very little, if anything at all, left to support the ministries of a local church where they fellowship. The Scriptures do not teach the church’s involvement to determine and establish wage measures and livelihood of people in secular societies. However, we also do not want to turn a blind eye to the needs of our brothers and sisters in these local churches with whom we share a common faith (Titus 1:4). To do so when faced with their known needs may be comparable to a man who has the world’s goods, and sees his brother without clothing and in need of daily food and yet closes his heart against him and says to him, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled.” (James 2:15 – 17, 1 John 3:16 – 17).
We desire to see these churches sustained and supported by the giving of their own congregants despite the socio-economic dynamics in some of these areas (2 Corinthians 8:2). However we also do not consider it a waste of our resources to put our hands to the plough and hold a rope for our brother-pastors in these areas to the degree possible. Following the words of our Lord, it is always more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35), regardless of whether we may witness tangible returns in our lifetime, especially when we have much more to give and it is for the sake of the gospel. The Lord will not praise us for how shrewd we were on our financial investments and savings strategies, but how faithful we were to His great commission with the resources He has provided us.
- The seed of the false health and wealth prosperity gospel has never been more fertile than on the African soil, particularly in these needier areas (though not exclusively because the heart of man is the ultimate problem, not his circumstances) as such most people are attracted by its phenomenon and schemes with a desire to escape marginal living. Some of the most well-built church facilities in South Africa are based in these areas and built by the last penny of the poor with the promise of future dividend returns in abundance, only to return week after week with nil investment returns.
To clarify, not everyone in these areas earns a minimum wage and is poor, there are some who are well-to-do with very few interested in true biblical Christianity. We must pray and labour and strive for the Lord to save His people (whether poor, middle class or wealthy) in these areas and bring them into local churches for further discipleship and advancement of His kingdom. To that end, we consider it a great privilege to partner with faithful pastors in these local churches so they can be freed up to do the Lord’s bidding.
- We have conversed with some of these faithful pastors who were honest to confess that they often feel the need and pressure to work a secular job in order to provide for the needs of their families and as such often neglect the primary responsibilities of their calling to preach, teach and shepherd the flock. There are times when the minister of the gospel may need to sacrificially give himself dually to tent-making and the preaching of the gospel (Acts 18:1 – 4, 1 Corinthians 9:12, 15) but we do not see that as the order of the New Testament. The spirit of the New Testament is for a preacher of the gospel to make his living from the gospel (Galatians 6:6, 2 Corinthians 11:8 – 9, Philippians 4:15 – 18). We believe it serves as a great encouragement to the congregation and awakens them to be considerate and aware of the needs of their pastor when they witness outside support.