How to Choose a Christian Ministry to Support

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Today we hear a lot of negative things about TV evangelists and radio ministries.  We tend to group them altogether and believe that they are just in it for the money.  Truly some are but many others are legitimate.  How can you know which are sound, theological ministries and which are not?  How can we be sure that they are not just taking our money or taking advantage of us?  Is there a way to ensure that they are fiscally sound with the donations that they receive?

How To Choose A Christian Ministry To Support

There are so many Christian programs and ministries that are only trying to take your money.

Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing

There are so many Christian programs and ministries that are only trying to take your money.  They are milking money from widows; they are promising blessings for those who send in their “seeds of faith.”  They make God out to be quid pro quo.  That is, if you donate, then God will do this or do that for you.  I have heard some promise that if they send in their donations or a “seed of faith“, they will have their mortgage paid off or have their business prosper.  Donors are promised to have showers of blessings rained down upon them if only they will send in their money.  God will open up the windows of heaven to pour out such a blessing that they will not have room enough to receive it.  Operators are standing by to pray for you and by the way, they accept credit cards.

One TV evangelist who was trying to raise funds boldly proclaimed that he heard from God that there are a thousand people out there who need to send in one thousand dollars and only after they do that, God will give them a ten-fold increase.  The only problem is that I could not find this in the Bible.  Jesus became poor for our sake (2 Cor 8:9).  Jesus was approached by a tax collector to pay a tax and He told Peter to go and catch a fish and take a coin from the fish’s mouth so that He could pay taxes with it (Matt 17:27).  This seems to indicate that Jesus never had a lot of money with Him. He had no money with which to pay the tax that was due and so had to miraculously have the tax paid by Peter finding a coin in the fishes mouth.  Why didn’t He just ask the Father to “open up the windows of heaven to pour out a blessing?”

Christian TV Evangelists and Radio Ministries

Not every TV evangelist or ministry is untrustworthy.  There are many that are but certainly not all of them.  One thing to use as a way to check the veracity of a ministry and whether they are using your donations to help preach the gospel is to visit the website MinistryWatch.com.  At this valuable website, there are several evangelists and ministries on their “Donor Alert” page.  This Donor Alert page warns about many ministries that have not reported their earnings to the IRS or who do not submit their budgets for oversight by the highly reputable Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ecfa.org).  They also have a long list of ministries that do voluntarily submit their financial reports.  The ECFA looks at ministries expenditures and their income and finds out exactly where the money that donors send in is going to and for what purpose it is being spent.   Before you donate to any ministry, it is wise to check with this website (http://www.ecfa.org/) to see if they voluntarily send in their financial reports to them.  If they do not submit reports to these monitoring organizations, you might ask the ministry that you support or are thinking of supporting to send you a financial report for their organization.  If they refuse to do so, then you have reason to be concerned about their fiscal responsibilities.

You will soon discover that many recognizable ministries that have questionable practices and have no financial oversight of the donations that are received have no one to be accountable to.  This should act as a red flag warning to you.   Another trusted website is Ministry Watch (http://www.ministrywatch.com/) which exposes fiscally irresponsible ministries.   Some of the names on their Red Alert pages might surprise you.  Some of the top administrators (CEO, CFO, COO‘s, etc.) have salaries in the millions and while some names might shock you, others will confirm your suspicions.

The monitoring websites not only contain reports for questionable ministries but for those ministries that are listed to be among the best by all accounts. The websites listed in this article and at the bottom of this article are excellent resources for determining whether you should give to a particular charity or ministry.  If a charity or ministry does not submit financial records to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), Ministry Watch, or Charity Navigators, then this should give you good reason to further investigate their fiscal practices.  The ECFA and Ministry Watch are non-profit organizations that monitor and document ministries financial records for fiscal responsibility.   Ministries and charities are monitored by Charity Navigator for the same purpose as does the ECFA and Ministry Watch.

How to Choose a Christian Ministry to Support

Ministries that tend to voluntarily submit their financial records for accountability purposes are typically the most sound theologically.   If you have a favorite ministry and its teachings square with what you read in the Bible, and they report their financial records to the websites mentioned, then you can be relatively certain that they are being good stewards with the donations that they receive.  The Salvation Army, while not exactly a teaching Christian ministry, is one of the most reputable charities on record.  The vast majority of their donations (well over 90%) go directly to those who need it most.  It is a great needs-based charity and since they voluntarily submit their financial reports, they are completely trustworthy.  Likewise, you should look for similar openness with the Christian ministry that you support.   It is no accident that the best ministries have the best financial procedures and reporting histories.  Their stewardship and teachings hold up well against the majority of biblical scholars, conservative seminaries, and theologians.

One great ministry to support is Compassion International. They have a great reputation and help both they physical and spiritual needs of children in poverty.  Please consider supporting a child.

$eed$ of Faith

If any TV or radio ministry promises you health, wealth, or prosperity in return for your offerings, you should be cautious.  Anyone that asks for “seeds of faith” donations should be closely scrutinized and their ministry should be checked against the ministry monitoring websites that are given below and in this article.  You can type their name into the Search Box and you can find out more about their authenticity and veracity or the lack thereof.  Promises given to you for a certain blessing in return for your donation do not fit the biblical doctrine of giving.  God is not a quid pro quo God.  God never promises to give you something specific in response to your giving an offering or donation of money and so no man or woman should make such a claim.  If a TV evangelist, ministry, or charity makes such a claim – even if they say they heard God speak to them – don’t believe it.  They are not only disagreeing with the biblical model of giving, they are going against what Jesus Himself taught.  Christians are to give with a cheerful heart, not of necessity and not for reasons of receiving something in return (2 Cor 9:7).  Too many ministries are playing upon people’s financial hardships.  They are stealing the widow’s mite.  They are taking from those who don’t have much to begin with and promising them something greater in return.

Peddling the Gospel

The Bible condemns solicitation of money in the name of God.  Paul states,Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God (2 Cor 2:17).  Notice that Paul said, “Unlike so many. “  This could only mean that it was already happening and there were many peddling the gospel – for a price. Many were peddling (selling) the Word of God for profit.   Titus 1:11 says, They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain.” Paul warns Titus about them, You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned (Titus 3:11).  God warns us to stay away from wolves in sheep’s clothing, If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions  and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain (I Tim 6:3-5).  Peter knew about the prosperity gospel long ago saying, In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. [sound familiar?] Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping (2 Peter 2:3).

Jesus never preached giving to get.  He taught your treasures would be in heaven waiting for you and He never solicited money.  He never took donations for His ministry.  The fact is that, you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich (2 Cor 8:9).  He became poor for our sake that we might be rich in Him.  Eternal life is worth more than all the money in the universe.  For money perishes, thieves destroy, but rewards in heaven are safe from both corruption and thieves.  The currency of heaven is worth more than all the gold in the world.  As Jesus said, Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matt 6:19-21).  A Proverb states, Buy the truth and do not sell it (Prov 23:23a). Even if it is an angel of light, beware, for there are many wolves in sheep’s clothing.  Jesus warned us to “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves (Matt 7:15).  If they offer you something, even in the name of God, for your “seeds of faith”, have nothing to do with them because Jesus’ truth sets us free and it is not for sell.

For more information on ministries or charities, visit these websites:

http://www.ecfa.org/

http://www.ministrywatch.com/

http://www.charitynavigator.org/

Related Articles:

Resources: New International Version Bible (NIV) THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide Image: porbital / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Tim June 5, 2013 at 9:35 pm

Thanks for sharing this valuable info! I was glad to come across it. I am a missionary, and the scriptures shared were a helpful reminder of how to live as one who is funded for doing gospel work. Thanks!

Blessings, Tim

Reply

paster ashish dayal July 29, 2013 at 10:00 am

i am paster but i have no financial support so please support me

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Jack Wellman July 29, 2013 at 10:30 am

Hello Pastor Dayal. I wish we could help you but we are struggling too and are in no position to help. God however holds all the resources in the universe and He will always fund what is His will.

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pastor.K.S.MANOHAR August 7, 2013 at 11:53 pm

PRAISE THE LORD
DEAR LOVING “JACK Wellman ” sir, greetings to you in the wonderful name of our lord and saviour JESUSCHRIST.
BELOVED SIR, I HAVE NO ANY SUPPORT FOR LORD’S WORK, SO I WILL REQUEST YOU TO WITH THE LOVE OF CHRIST PLEASE FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR MY MINISTRY.
WE HAVE ALSO ” FCRA”
THANKING YOU

Reply

Jack Wellman August 8, 2013 at 10:51 am

Thank you Pastor but we have no such money to send to help you. This website is not in the money making business. This article is about how you can choose a ministry that is safe and reliable. Pray to God to send you provisions for God always finds a way to fund what His will is.

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Dale Seigfreid December 19, 2013 at 4:29 pm

What was the name of that TV preacher that wanted everyone to send in 1000 dollars, I believe he said he was blessed by the FedEx truck

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Jack Wellman December 19, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Thank you Mr. Seigfreid. I am not sure but this is only one among thousands of fal$e profit$ and by the way, the prosperity gospel doesn’t work very well in North Korea, China, Iran, and places where they can “name it and claim it’ but instead live day by day with the threat of death.

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sarah May 13, 2015 at 9:09 am

Great info, just something you should be aware of though, Compassion supports the provision of abortion for women in 3rd world countries. Not really a great charity to support.

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Jack Wellman May 13, 2015 at 10:21 am

Thank you Sarah for your comment. I was not able to find documentation to show that Compassion International supports abortion for women in 3rd world countries. Could you send or post that information so we could verify this? If so, then I agree with you that this should not be done as abortion is clearly murder. What I do know is that Compassion International is the only major child sponsorship ministry that works exclusively through churches to implement its program, the only one to ensure that every child will hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and the only one that seeks long term discipleship for each and every child. Through Compassion’s ministry, the entire family benefits — through nutritional classes for the parents, health care needs met and ministry from the church and project. You mentioned “Compassion” but did you mean “Compassion International?” Thank you so much for your help in clearing this up.

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Raghuram Reddy August 22, 2016 at 9:58 am

Praise The Lord Brother Jack Wellman Greetings to you in THE name of JESUS CHRIST.. Dear Brother This is Raghuram Reddy i was Converted from Hindu in my childhood .. come to the point
i want to do gospel .. so i was started a Tv Channel in India (Andhra Pradesh) (Local tv) the Channel name is MANNA TV.. ( actually this channel is commercial it was .. But not now..

i have a great idea’s to do for great ministries .. BUT some pastors not givings supports to me.. because they are poor pastors .. actually i am also middle class Person.
so actually i don’t know how to ask help.. really.. but i want .. please pray for me and Manna tv ministrie .. thankyou.. I don’t have Website..

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Jack Wellman August 22, 2016 at 10:00 am

I love your passion for getting out the Word of God so that some might be saved. How precious my friend in Christ. I am a working pastor and don’t have the means to support you. I have several videos you can use for free (of course). Let’s pray for God to provide for this great work. Glory to God that He brought you into the light!

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