Paul traveled to foreign cities, telling the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection for sinners everywhere he went. He supported himself by making tents (Acts 18:1-4; 1 Thessalonians 2:9). This model for self-supporting Gospel work has become known as “tentmaking.” I encourage you to consider it, whether you are called to vocational mission work or you are a Christian who has a job, career, or profession that might allow you to work out of the country. (I am primarily addressing US citizens, but the concept applies to others as well).
In a recent message, I presented 10 reasons why Christians should consider moving out of the country to a gospel-starved area, working to support themselves while having Gospel impact on the people around them. The globalization of business, education, and medicine, and the possibility of working from anywhere with a high-speed Internet connection has greatly increased the opportunities for this. If you haven’t heard the message, please listen to it here. The main points are reproduced below without comment. I have borrowed from various sources, including Worldwide Tentmakers and Globalopps.org.
Here are 10 reasons to consider the tentmaking model:
- Build relationships with people who are far from God.
- Establish the credibility of Christianity.
- Give people opportunity to see and know a Christian firsthand.
- Conserve missions funds for those who can’t go without support.
- Make Christ known in places where mission work is restricted.
- Overcome resistance with love.
- Maximize the portability of your occupation or profession.
- Help existing Gospel work.
- Use your skills for a Kingdom purpose.
- Experience the ultimate in adventure and fulfillment.