by Danny Steyne, MOW/The Mountain
“When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: “Take nothing for the journey — no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.” Luke 9:1-6
I’ve been watching the itinerant trend towards “charging” for speaking engagements. It’s been something I’ve been watching for a long time and have chosen to share my thoughts. To be sure there are reasons why this trend has happened and I’d like to share some perspective.
I’ve traveled extensively throughout my years in ministry, but most significantly over the last fifteen years. I’ve experienced the “reason” why some have resorted to requiring honorariums and various expenses and amenities prior to going to a conference or church.
I’m that guy whose name was used in a conference to take an offering to be given entirely to “our speaker” and not receiving one dime after the conference host thought he should keep it all. (Something that has happened more than once.)
I’m that guy whose spent a night in an unfinished dirt floor basement on an old pull-out couch with protruding bars and nothing but a sheet in a spider infested area (in the USA).
I’m that guy who was housed so remotely that there was no conceivable way I could find anything to eat or snack on if I needed to … (it did help my fasting and dieting though!) … nor was there cell phone coverage or Internet access … (in the USA)… leaving my days to pray ..(which is good).
I’m that guy who was told he would receive some property in lieu of an honorarium only to find there was no property.
I’m that guy who has done countless meetings with a handful of people because the host didn’t do their work in getting the word out about the meetings.
I’m that guy. I share that not to complain but to simply let you know that I understand the “reason” why people have certain requirements. I get it….
I grew up in the home of a Missionary, Pastor, and Christian Teacher… My Dad and Mom faithfully served around the world in more than twice the countries I have been to or through. I’ve been through about sixty one… My Dad, now in his late 80’s still travels doing missions every year in some of the most difficult areas like Haiti and Africa. My Mom is with the Lord now. I’ve watched through the years the grace on their lives as God has faithfully supplied for them in the most meaningful ways. I’ve never heard him complain about provision from the Lord, although I know his stories eclipse mine in difficulty. He’s one who returned offerings to hosts because it became evident they didn’t value what he had brought … his heart has never been towards the riches of men… but the wealth of the Kingdom.
I recall Keith Green in the early 1980’s as offering plates were passed and him saying, “If you have a need please take what you need from the offering!” I’ve watched the best of the best who’ve never required anything to go anywhere at any time. That sounds apostolic to me. Apostles and Prophets are not those who are “invited” they are sent. Their commission comes from the Father and as such it is the Father who will provide for their needs … often extremely supernaturally.
George Mueller, a man who saw at least 10,000 orphans go through his homes while he nurtured Jesus in them is one who carried an incredible story of faith, including denying an ongoing “provision account” from America because he so loved the simple faith of God providing daily without the need for raising funds. One such story is here: “The orphan children all had their dinners and were ready for bed. They always felt loved and cared for in the Bristol orphanage; little did they know that the orphanage had no money and there was no food for breakfast the next day. Though he did not know how, George Mueller was confident the Lord would provide for the orphans–after all, wasn’t he a “Father to the fatherless” (Psalm 68:5)? Mr. Mueller went to bed, committing the care of the orphans to God. The next morning he went for a walk, praying for God to supply the orphanage’s needs. In his walk he met a friend who asked him to accept some money for the orphanage. . . Mr. Mueller thanked him, but did not tell the friend about the pressing need. Instead, he praised God for the answer to prayer and went to the orphanage for breakfast. George Mueller had joyfully dedicated his “whole life to the object of exemplifying how much may be accomplished by prayer and faith.” When he had moved to Bristol in 1832 to take the pulpit of Gideon chapel, he and his wife Mary decided not to accept a salary from the congregation. They wanted to daily depend upon the Lord for their needs, and they accepted only unsolicited freewill offerings. Mueller’s journal is full of the amazing ways the Lord directed funds to them throughout his sixty-six years of ministry.”
That faith is amazing… but I would concur that’s not the only way God can move. I remember when I asked the Lord for the privilege of “living by faith” like Mueller and Loren Cunningham and others it was something that opened my eyes to seeing God move. Later, during some time with the Lord he said, “Danny, what are you going to do if I tell you to go to a widow and have you ask her for provision like I did with Elijah?” I realized that I couldn’t simply believe that what He had called me to do was the only way He would do it with HIS children. I was not allowed to judge, but I was allowed to see where that line is crossed … because it must be God who tells you to go to the widow, and not your needs, desires, or belief that you are entitled to it.
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” (Romans 12:3)
And then there is the Didache … written somewhere between 80AD and 90AD… the “tone” of the first generation of believers…. not Scripture… but certainly thought that was believed by the early church and needed in this hour. The twelve apostles definitely lived this way and it’s good wisdom to look at what they did so we truly carry the heart of the Lord into this generation. “…concerning apostles and prophets, you must discern them based on the mandate of the Gospel. Let every apostle who comes to you be received as you would receive the Lord; but he shouldn’t stay for more than a single day or maybe two at the most, but if he stays for three days, he is a false prophet. If he asks for money, he is a false prophet. Also, if a prophet is speaking in the Spirit for his own gain, don’t try to discern, sins are forgiven, but using the Spirit for his gain, is not forgivable. Not everyone who speaks in the Spirit is a prophet, but only if he has the ways of the Lord in his life. From his ways, the false prophet and the true prophet will be recognized.” (Didache 11:8-13)
The provision of Jesus obviously came supernaturally, yet we never see him requiring anything. Even the provision for his taxes was supernatural. We can claim we live supernaturally with signs and wonders and healings… but if we haven’t discovered the supernatural provision of the Father as declared by Jesus in direct response to provision for food, clothing, and necessities, we haven’t touched the most basic of all supernatural expressions. “Seek first the Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
I have personally come to the place where if I don’t see Kingdom Servants investing in Kingdom Practice, but rather grazing off the Body of Christ, I really don’t care what they say. They aren’t the ones I really believe are the “Fathers” and “Mothers” of the faith that I want to speak into either my life or the lives of those I love. To be sure, some who have stipulations have them ONLY because they want the local or regional leaders to do their work because they want the greatest impact on a region possible… and they often are the greatest investors into the Kingdom that I know. I know, and have, stories where individuals who have done meetings have ended up investing the entire offering into ministry in a region, to missions, or to the poor.
Ministry is not a job. It’s a calling. It’s what you would do whether you get paid or not. It’s who you are when you are anywhere. It’s not based on the audience size, offering size, comfort, nor location… it’s impacting lives in the mud or in the mansions, whether to presidents or the poor. We are actually called to “abound” and “abase” (Philippians 4:12). Some don’t ever want to know the experience of trusting the Father… they would rather simply trust their demands. I don’t believe we as His Servants are called to “perform” and “act” for pay … Jesus calls those hirelings. “The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. (John 10:12-13) Really, the question is… “Who are you, and what did Jesus call you to do FOR His Sheep?” He didn’t ask us to “glean” from His Sheep…but rather to feed them.
I remember in 1982, one of the first words that I heard at the Vineyard Yorba Linda was “… God wants His sheep back.” It was from Ezekiel 34 and in it we read the heart of the Lord that speaks really clearly about not feeding off of the sheep. It’s not a popular word right now, but that too is in the Word!
In our earliest Mountain Of Worship (MOW) Conferences we actually wrote the speakers who would come and told them that if they required an honorarium, we wouldn’t invite them… but we promised to bless them if they came! They came, they were blessed… and a few of them repeatedly wanted to come to those conferences. We are once again moving into that place where we believe that we MUST trust HIM for ourselves and bring others in who trust Him for themselves. I have traveled with some of these around the world… they are amazing. Their faith is not only obvious… the provision of God is also constant in their lives. They never require… they always believe with great joy! The challenge to do this without earthly backup and resource is formidable, but God has never wanted His Bride to trust earthly mammon for heavenly purpose. Our trust is in the Lord. We are those who believe.
A precious father of mine, and one who has demonstrated well what it means to trust, is Rolland Baker. A number of years ago as my journey began in this realm I was amazed by his wisdom. Through the years I remembered sending him notes on thoughts I had to “raise money” and he would always say… “You’ll definitely get money from that letter but the Lord would never let me send that out!” The understated impact of his and Heidi’s life is firmly planted in this firm foundation of faith… that any water that He calls us to walk on is more solid than the greatest rock or concrete! It was his responses to my letters that hinted well at the need we had at the moment that pressed my faith harder… to trust Jesus more… to actually live Christianity the way God has always wanted it to be lived… with faith… not in each other… not in His people… but in Him!
I believe God is raising up the Champions in this hour who will carry this supernatural reality in their lives… “…who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.” (Hebrews 11:33-34)
© 2019 MOW/The Mountain, email content posted with permission
Related story: Danny Steyne Says to Persevere