33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” Acts 20:33-35
Throughout his journeys Paul paid his own way. Earlier we saw that Paul made tents for a living, plus he continued to preach and teach.
That same idea is still prevalent today and has been over the centuries. In smaller churches, pastors often have a job in the community to “make ends meet.” Bivocational pastors are will common throughout the country.
Overseas, missionaries work inside the country and preach on the side. Not surprisingly, they are called tentmakers. Often those missionaries are in countries that are hostile towards the Gospel and towards Christians. Many Muslim countries still forbid the preaching of the Gospel so workers must bring a professional skill to the country. English teaching, engineers, professors, and other similar professions have done well in those lands. In fact, most workers do not even like to use the term “missionary” as it often has a negative connotation.
While I’ve only been referring to Western Christians, Believers from Asia are entering the Muslim nations as tentmakers too, and often in places where western Christians could never go.
Pray for these Asian tentmakers. They are often placed in what we might call “menial” jobs, but their effectiveness shouldn’t be dismissed. The body of Christ is comprised of workers of all skills, socioeconomic backgrounds, and giftings. Pray that they will be bold in their approach, and yet wise as doves.