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Why Should We Ask For Money? - John S. Torell

 

October 5, 2011

Many people have heard the slogan, “the Gospel is free but the shipping and handling costs money.” In the secular world of television and radio programming, newspapers, magazines and websites are financed through paid advertisement. As a Christian I do not want to have our Gospel material sponsored by advertisers and that means only the people receiving our material are willing to pay for it. We can sell books online but it is impractical to charge for a preaching video or article on our website. We depend on the people who find value in material to help with the cost of production. So if you like to watch our videos and read our material, would you help support the work?

This leads me to another question, how do I effectively share the needs of the ministry? Do I share it with our supporters or only tell God? In this short article I want share my thoughts on this subject and begin with a letter that came to the ministry a few days ago from a dear Christian lady who has given her life to serve others in mission work:

Dear Pastor Torell,

I have learned a great deal from your in depth study into the Cabala, Illuminati and Freemasonry. I’ve been a missionary here in Haiti for 17 years….So much of what you say resonates deeply with my own experience her in “the Devil’s kitchen…”

…I don’t often take exception with you, but I will about one point. I believe that George Muller did understand God’s provision correctly; and my experience as a tent maker missionary has very much paralleled his. Almost no one has known my needs through the years, yet the Lord has always gloriously provided plus right on time!

Yes, it is hard to live this way, best way and blessed.

Likewise, you pray that the portion of His provision that He’s asked me to share with your work will produce much fruit.

This is a sweet letter is from a dear Christian lady, who has given her life to serve others in Haiti. After reading and praying over it, I decided to share with you what I think about this matter.

TWO SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT ON MEETING NEEDS

Pastor John S. Torell - message on WHY SHOULD WE ASK FOR MONEY? - Resurrection Life of Jesus Church: Carmichael, CA - Sacramento CountyThe first school of thought is to share needs with Christian brothers and sisters and ask them to help out. The apostle Paul made the decision to share the plight of the Christians in Jerusalem and started a campaign in the churches to raise funds for the poor in Jerusalem. (Romans 15:25-27; 1 Corinthians 16:1-3) By raising funds this way, Paul gave the people in the churches the opportunity to know the need of the Christians in Jerusalem, who were then to be able to participate in this project. In the world, this would be called “team work” whereas in the Christian church it is known as the body of Christ caring for its members.
(1 Corinthians 12:12-27)

The second school of thought is the way George Müller used to raise funds where he told no one but would spend time in prayer on his knees until the need was met. This is what he felt the Holy Spirit had guided him to do. I have read books about Müller and there is no question that he walked with Lord and heard from Him. Jesus told us to ask God and do it in faith. (Luke 11:5-13)

WALKING WITH JESUS FOR 46 YEARS

As a brand new believer in 1965, Jesus led my wife and me to a small Southern Baptist Church in Salt Lake City, Utah. There I was taught to tithe 10% of my income to God. It was clear to me that this is what God had spoken and from that time we have been tithing to God’s work and been super blessed during these years.

From time to time, missionaries would come to our church and share what they were doing and ask for financial help. Knowing the need was genuine; I felt that I had become a part with the missionary when I gave extra for missions. It was not only the missionary that worked in the mission field, I was there with my money and it was also my project.

When God called me to attend Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in 1969, my wife and I quit our jobs in Salt Lake City and moved to the seminary. We did not feel led to ask people to help us out, instead, we asked God to give us jobs so that I could attend school full time. God heard our prayers and we both worked the three and a half years we were at the seminary and were debt free when I graduated with a Master of Divinity degree.

In 1971 we traveled in Sweden and throughout California conducting revival meetings as evangelists. At that time we held no secular jobs and lived on the love offerings taken in churches for us. I decided that I wanted to have accountability in finances and we founded European-American Evangelistic Crusades (EAEC) in 1973 as a mission organization. We asked a number of people to become members and created a Board of Directors that set my salary. Thus all the money given in love offerings was sent to our headquarters in California and I was paid a salary from the proceedings. We never asked people in the churches to send us money; we prayed and lived on my salary.

I have been a pastor since 1975 and have been on a salary in the churches which I served. The same year I started a radio ministry with a 15 minute weekly program, it became clear that the cost for this outreach could not be paid entirely from church funds and I started to share the need with the radio listeners. During those years, hundreds of people responded and sent in a monthly gift and I told them that wouldn’t be a radio program without their support. Talking with our friends, it became clear that they felt they were part of this radio outreach to the lost and people in need.

We started to publish The Dove magazine in the year 1979, and from the very first issue, it was decided that we would not charge for the magazine but send it out free of charge and ask God to move on people to pay for the cost. From our first year to the last year of 2005, God always saw to it that enough money came in to pay for the paper, printing and mailing costs.

Our radio ministry shut down around 2005 since the cost of buying air time was much greater than the money people were donating. I was sad as this 30 year radio ministry ended and didn’t know God had a new ministry for us – webcasting. There was no way that I would have had the time to do both radio and webcasting in addition to writing books.

I asked the Lord how to go about raising money for the webcasting equipment and the Holy Spirit led me to share with the people in the church and our former radio friends about this project. I told the church we would not start the project until we had the money. Initially I was told we would need $8k, which was later revised to $20k and then to $30k. I gave the go-ahead to start the project believing at that time we had all the money we needed but the final tally ended up being $40k. Some of you might ask, “Didn’t you know what you were doing?” No, we did not. God put together a team that had never done any webcasting and they built a fine studio in our church building. None of our camera operators, audio technicians or computer people had any training but these men and women had the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the project took off.

NEWS FROM OUR INTERNET MINISTRY

I want to take just a few minutes and share with you what God has done through our Internet ministry during the last three months. In the month of May we were contacted by a man from Sweden, Eric, who had immigrated to Canada and owned a large farm. He had great personal problems and wanted relief so he flew in during June and stayed a week while he went through deliverance.  He was very blessed and when he made a business trip back to Sweden in July, the Holy Spirit had me talk to him about another Swedish man who was in contact with us and needed deliverance desperately.

Eric called the man (Jan) and offered to pay for his ticket to come to Sacramento and be delivered if he would stop in Canada for a few weeks and help him with the wheat harvest. Jan had been watching our webcasts since March of 2011 was ecstatic since he had been unemployed for a long time and had no funds to make a trip to California. While we were waiting for John to come to Sacramento, Tim from Colorado had been watching our webcasts for a year or so and contacted us in desperation to see if he could come for deliverance. We were able to help him as he also stayed for about a week. Jan finally came in the beginning of September and stayed for a little over a week while he was taken through deliverance and is now greatly rejoicing.

All three of these men are now in our 16 week follow-up program using Christian Dynamics Course 3. Every week they are doing one lesson and sending it to me via e-mail and then the lesson is discussed over the phone. We have a special rate with the phone company so we can do counseling over the phone with people in the United States and other nations.

Currently we are preparing for a man from Montana and a married couple from Arizona who desperately need deliverance. They are planning to travel to Sacramento to get the help they need. Our ministry does not charge anything for the time we spend with these people. The only costs they have are for the materials used in deliverance, travel to and from Sacramento, food and lodging. We are also in contact with a man from Switzerland, who is planning to come to in April of 2012 for deliverance. 

During the month of August we had the following statistics from our website: 41,000 people visited our website and about 2,000 watched a sermon or music video from our church services.

We also have a large online bookstore that is separate from the general ministry. Through this outlet, we are able to expose people to our material and also offer great study Bibles, select Christian books and music which uplift the name of Jesus and builds faith in people. There are three volunteer people who are running this operation.

We also have five different websites in English, Swedish, Norwegian, German and Spanish.

MAINTAINING THE MINISTRY

During the last four years there has been a shift in the ministry support as hundreds of people who sent in their monthly gifts during the radio years have gone to be with the Lord. It has taken us time to make new friends via our webcasting, and from the written material we have on our website, but slowly new friends have joined us via the Internet. The only problem is that the growth has not kept up with the cost of maintaining the ministry. I do not have the same conviction of George Muller to not share our needs and just pray since the Holy Spirit has not laid that upon my heart and I would be operating in the flesh if I tried that. Therefore, I am continuing to share with people our needs just like the apostle Paul and the great evangelist, D.L. Moody.

WHAT ARE THE NEEDS NOW?

During the three quarters of 2011 we have been constantly running short every month, and the funds we have received have been used to pay rent on the church building, mortgages on the production center, salary for Pastor Charles and myself, utility costs, and the cost for printing books and newsletters.

Here is what I am asking: If you have never financially supported our ministry, would you send a gift today to keep us going and expand our ministry to you. If you already give to the ministry, would you consider sending a financial gift above and over what you normally give? Please remember that God uses His people to finance His work on this earth. God gives us the ability to work and make money, and if all our friends help us in this way, we will be back in the black. Thank you for being obedient and being part of our ministry.

“But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.” (Deuteronomy 8:18)

 

 

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From the Desk of John S. Torell